Congrats to John Collins at the BASP CX at Candlestick Park this past weekend!
Congratulations to Ron Shevock as he takes 1st place at Sac CX #6. His race report below:
Three laps out of 10 done, and approximately 19 minutes into my 60 minute race, I was already nearly a full minute down on the leader. Just two laps and 12 minutes prior, I had been within a few seconds of his wheel….but man, things can change quickly in a cyclocross race. Especially when you take way too much speed into a tricky slippery off-camber muddy sidehill, can’t quite control the inevitable drift out of the primary rut line, and promptly end up on the ground after an over-the-bars-shoulder-and-face-drive into the silly puddy mud knocking your bars and stem out of alignments and causing my single speed chain to be torn off both the front and rear cogs and left dangling off of my pedal. Within 10 seconds, the 3rd place rider (now 2nd place) passes me by. And within the time it took me (nearly a full minute) to get the chain back on and the bars and stem straightened, I had dropped all the way back to 6th Place. Ouch. Just like that. At least as I was about to remount and get going again, I had the presence of mind to reach down, grab a chunk of mud, and hurl it at Jamaica Lambie as he passed me, effectively dropping me back into 7th. Bullseye. I guess I better start chasing…HARD.
I hadn’t raced the Lange Twins Winery Cyclocross course since 2010. That year I raced it on two separate occasions, and both times, the course had been flooded with torrential downpours the day prior and all DURING the race as well which resulted in mud and pools and ponds and fjords of water on the course of biblical proportions. This year, with the sound of rain pounding down all through Saturday night, everyone was worried about a repeat of the great flooding of the course from 2010 and at least from a single speeders perspective, there was a lot of talk about “gearing down” for the mud, and getting “spinnier” in order to be able to motor through the slop more effectively without a derailleur. However, I was thinking the opposite. If there was one thing I remembered from 2010 (aside from flying over my handlebars once or twice in that race too), it was that the watery conditions make it easy to power through it with a bigger gear. So hoping thinking that maybe possibly a repeat might be in the cards, I didn’t bother changing my gear from what I normally run (a 42×18) and didn’t even bother taking any extra cogs or my tools needed to swap gears out the race if I was wrong. I figured I’d either sink or swim (possibly literally) and didn’t want to give myself the option of second guessing my gear choice while at the venue. It was a bit of gamble, but it was one less thing I’d have to worry about when I got there as I would just have to run with what I brung.
Race day came and to everyone’s surprise, it was bluebird, sunny, and fairly warm for this time of year. The earlier categories of the day had to deal with a very soft course, power sucking & draining course. My race didn’t start until 12:45, but I got there early, about 2 hours prior to my start, and as I pre-rode, it felt as though my tires were being vacuumed into the ground. It wasn’t wet and even after finishing a lap, there wasn’t much mud gathered up on my bike, but the ground was just incredibly sooooooft and slow. For a flat course, it felt as though you were consistently pushing against a 5% grade. Luckily for me though, as the two hours passed before my race, the sun and wind dried the course out a bit more and while still soft, it became more and more manageable for me and my 42×18 gear. A lot of the other SS’ers had geared down into the 39×18 to 39×19 range due to the softness, but I hoped that I’d be able to power through, stay on top of gear for 60 minutes, and stay with the front group. Which for the first 2.5 laps, worked great….until that stupid crashed happened that I described above…..
Back to the chase….7th place. A minute down on the leader. GO. Within two laps, I was back in 4th place. Then another lap, got me on the wheel of Bruno Pitton who was in 2nd at the time. Bruno is the current points leader for the overall series lead and at this point, all I really wanted out of the race was to beat him. At this point, I figured the first place guy (Patrick Kitto from Sterling Sports, Bay Area) was un-catchable, and since I was sitting right behind Bruno in the overall standings, and need to beat him in each of the final 3 upcoming races, I would be content to just race him at that moment and focus on the overall series title rather than this individual race. But then after riding with Bruno wheel-to-wheel for a lap, he bobbled and I quickly put a gap of 5 seconds on him. Right about that same time, someone yelled over to me that I was quickly gaining on the race leader, Patrick Kitto, so seizing that moment, I attacked Bruno and after about 30 seconds of giving it full gas and drifting like crazy around the muddy corners, I looked back and saw that he wasn’t giving chase. Hmmm…3 laps to go…maybe I can catch Patrick Kitto afterall?
With 2 laps to go, and my legs and lungs on fire, I caught Patrick. When I saw how slowly he was moving (slowly compared to how fast he was charging when I was struggling to stay on his wheel at the beginning of the race), it became clear to me that he had went out too fast, too hard, too soon. He was crawling along now and having trouble staying on top of his gear. I didn’t think he knew I was there, so I didn’t screw around, and just passed him at full speed hopefully negating any thoughts he might have about countering or trying to grab my wheel for the last lap of the race. I made the pass, didn’t look back for a 30 second all out interval, and then as the course turned and doubled back on itself, and we were riding directly at each other, I could tell that he wasn’t bothering to give chase. In the end, Patrick was able to finish strong and hold onto 2nd place, and I was able to ride the last lap solo for 1st. Bruno Pitton 3rd and Jim McDonald 4th. Podium Pic and an action shot from the race attached.
There are two races to go due to missing two races of the series, and a dissappointing 4th Place at the Clarksburgh course in October, in order to win the Overall Series Championship in the Single Speed category, I need to not just finish well in these last two upcoming races, but I need to win them both. If I win them both, and Bruno finishes 2nd in both, then we’ll be tied for 1st Overall in the series, but I would win the tie-breaker due to having more first place wins in the series (at the moment, we both have 3 wins each).
So that’s my goal. Win the December 9th race at Howard Park in Ione. Then win the December 15th season finale race at Laguno del Sol. Anything less that that, and I lose the Overall…which is not what I’m here for 😉
Before those races however, I’m travelling down to Los Angeles in 2 weeks for the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship race (http://www.sscxwc2012.com). Should be fun….