Monday, December 23, 2013

More Cross!

Whew! I just completed three weekends of Saturday/Sunday racing before taking this past weekend off. Now it's time to rest, recover, and regroup for the final race of the year, District Championships near Monterey on 12/29.

The first weekend was back in downtown L.A. starting with a twilight race on Saturday. Mary got some nice shots of me.

Didn't have a lot of opportunity to enjoy the sunset!

And an afternoon race on Sunday.

I felt more focused and peppy Sunday, managing a solid 8th out of 13 in the 45+ A group (top tier category over 45 years of age).

We hung out and watched the pros race & shred. Here Adam Craig leads Tim Johnson and the rest of the field.

One of my favorite riders, Jamie Driscoll,  put in a huge solo attack about half way through the race. A small group lead by Tim Johnson and Danny Summerhill eventually clawed their way back and Driscoll's teammate, Ben Berden, quietly sat on their wheels.

Here's the group of five descending the fly over with Driscoll hammerin' on the front.

With two laps to go, Driscoll seemed to fall off the pace, but somehow then summoned the power for one last attack, forcing Johnson and Summerhill to respond. Coming into the finishing stretch Driscoll lead it out while Berden came around to just nip him on the line - a well deserved & smart 1-2 finish for them.

I was so stoked I had to geek it up and congratulate them afterwards.

The following weekend I headed to Bakersfield. I love this race and wish more folks would come out to race there. The courses are fun and tough, the organization is terrific, and the whole vibe is great.

I decided to race the open B category (second tier category, all ages) since in the past the 45+ A group was only three or four riders. On Saturday the plan worked out great as I raced against ten guys, felt really good, nailed the slightly muddy course, and nabbed an excellent second place.

I lifted these pics from the SoCal Cross website. Here I am battling for the lead near the beginning of the race.

For Sunday the course was reversed and the promoter & overall good guy, Sam Ames, added two nasty run ups, which destroyed me!

The combination of the previous day's effort and the steep hills turned Sunday into a test of will to compete for me. I was happy I could dig deep and "give it" despite feeling so poorly ending up an acceptable fourth place.

The next weekend saw me back down in L.A. at Griffith Park. Sorry, no pics. Like Bakersfield, the course was hilly, although without the big run ups. Saturday I felt good. I got an excellent start battled well, gaining on the twisty climbs and losing on the twisty descents, placing a pleasing 6th out of 10 in the 45+A category just a few seconds off the five deep podium.

I hung out afterward with some new pals and watched the elite men's race. Good fun there as Ned Overend (58 years old, six time Mountain Bike National Champion) joined the fray with Brent Prenzlow (no spring chicken at 45 years) and Gareth Feldstein battling to the last lap with Feldstein taking it in a sprint over Prenzlow after Overend slid out in one of the last corners. Was cheering for the old dudes for sure!

Sunday was another tough one though. With temps pushing 80 degrees and the fatigue of Saturday's effort in my body, I again had to rally just to keep it rolling. A failed shifter mid race didn't help the morale either. I gotta admit I had a hard time keeping my head and heart into it, but I still managed 10th out of 13.

Good times all in all.
Can't wait for District Championships. Hoping for a little mud and some strong legs!
Stay tuned.

Thanks for checking in and Merry Christmas.