2009 LARPD Cyclocross Race Series
For those of you unaware or on the fence about the local Cyclocross scene read on. Our very own Shane Huntoon and the Livermore Area Recreation & Parks District is hosting, for the third season in a row, a Cyclocross series at Robertson Park in Livermore. This event is a must see-to-believe experience. The scene is loaded with families, including an equal balance of competition and good clean fun. There's something for everyone, racers, aged 6 and under through 45 . Categories include C (novice cat 5s), B (intermediate Cat 2-5), and A (advanced Cat Pro - 3). The categories are self regulated, so pick a class and race for the fun of it. The atmosphere is laid back and ideal for those among the race uninitiated.
The first in a series of eight races was this past Saturday. There were many IC3 members and their families present, including John Houston, Stefano Schiaffino, Mark Klien, Shane Huntoon, Julian Farnam, Steve Chew, Tania Smith, and Paul Haller.
I decided to race the 35 Bs since this was my first ever Cyclocross event (racing age 35 since cross runs into the following year), I did not know what to expect. I asked several of my friends about the category match up and they advised the same, "race the Bs and get your body familiar with the dismount and remount, your legs familiar with the run and your lungs familiar with the AC burn."
From the gun, Cyclocross is ON, there is no hesitation, in the words of Greg Phipps, "find your pedals fast."
Casey lines the Elite Bs up 10 yards in front of our group, the 35 & 45 men, gives his shpeal and sends them off. No more than 30 seconds the Elite Bs hit the course, Casey yells GOOOOOOOOOO! and now we're off. The pace was frantic as riders jockeyed for the front position (now remember the Elite Bs are up the course about 30 seconds).
I settle in before the first hairpin about eight wheels back. Hanging the first left-hander we are all over each other, shouldering for the inside line, LOVEIN' EVERY MINUTE OF IT, guys throwin' elbows, hips and handlebars. This was racing!
Now holding sixth wheel back from the front of the 35s, we hit the wood chips, a loose mix of dirt, rubble, and yes wood chips. It feels like a path of marbles (something that becomes all to common throughout the length of 1.7 mile course.) Guys are "S" turning all over the place as they lose and regain their balance.
Next we hit the grass section, a length of the course that drags on like a five minute up-hill grind. PERFECT! so I accelerate out of the corners and soon find myself second wheel from the back, directly behind the Voler Rep, (name escapes me) who rains in at 60 years old (THIS GUY's GOT TALENT AND FITNESS). Anyway, I pass him just before exiting the grass.
Now, back onto the dirt, a mix of more wood chips, lots of loose dirt and powder, I find myself jockeying for position at the back of the Elite Bs. How do I know this? They have the 200 series numbers while I have the 300 series. A crash on this section of the course will render one looking like the powdered doughnut we all secretly admire but avoid in hopes of faster legs. One by one, I overcome the 200s. Within two laps of the course I am sitting second overall with a 30 second chase to the leader of the Elite Bs (who had a 30 sec. head start to begin with).
Three laps into the course I can't see ANYONE behind me nor can I find this MYSTERY ride from the Elite Bs in front of me. I know he's up there because Warin Woodbury was calling out my times, 30 sec. back!, then 40 sec. back!, then 50 sec back!, to finally and eventually, good job, keep going, you're looking fast! Obviously I was loosing time to this guy, cross hands out a healthy dose of lung-burning fatigue and body aches, but this was FANTASTIC!
Nearing the end, I hit the final lap as hard as I could, with hopes the leader of the Elite Bs bobbling the final dismount section; to no avail, by the end he finished ahead of me by just shy of one minute. I crossed the finish line first in my category by nearly the same.
Overall, I had a great time, loved the atmosphere, the crowds, the cheers, the kids, and the BIG "W."
Next Thursday Shane could really use some help setting up the course or taking down after the races on Saturday. Contact Shane for more information.
by John T