Ahhhh, cyclocross in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mud, freezing temperatures, clogged up bikes. Not! We’re currently experiencing one of the best Novembers (weather-wise) in memory. After a few gloomy, foggy days, the skies opened up for the Bay Area Super Prestige Series race #4 in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008. Sunny, with temps in the mid 60’s and a tacky, moist, course made for awesome racing conditions. After threatening to race ‘cross for about the last 6 years, I finally took the plunge. This was to be my rookie attempt at ‘cross racing. My friend Zack was doing it, and racing in my category, so I had a buddy to roll with. I met Zack at his home in the Presidio (with amazing views of the Golden Gate bridge) and we rode to the venue, making for a nice warm-up through San Francisco streets on a beautiful Sunday morning. Race time for us was to be 10:00 A.M.
We lined up the start. My plan was to have an easy start, be safe, stay out of trouble, then move up if I could. It turned out to be the opposite. My racing instinct took over when I lined up. After the call up of the top 20 riders in the race series, I nudged my way up to the second row. Zack was behind me, egging me on, “Move up, get on the front!” When the gun went off, I was ready! I punched it for the first 200 meters, 100 meters gradual uphill on pavement, then leveling off for another 100 meters before turning onto the dirt. I’ve got no sprint whatsoever, but somehow my hole-shot got me into 5th place as we entered the dirt. I was flabbergasted at being in such a forward position so quickly. Wow, maybe I’m a good ‘cross racer after all! Uhhh, maybe not. After that, I started going backward immediately. Zack passed me half way through the first lap and drifted forward, then others began passing. I found I could hold my own on the uphill sections, but lost tons of time in the transitions. My run-ups, mounts, and dismounts were dismal.
I settled into a good pace and held my own for the rest of the race, learning a lot, and having a ball. I finished 24th, about mid pack, a satisfactory effort for my first time. It’s a great crowd out there and I look forward to doing more CX racing. The course in Golden Gate Park was awesome, and the organization of the race was dialed, thanks to Tom Simpson and his crew. My Scott bike was superb, and handled the course with ease.
Teammates Rich and Glenn, avid CX racers were there, and both had great days. Here’s Rich’s report: