Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Santa Cruz County Mud Fest: 2014

Photo By: Brain Vernor
Elite Men, Tobin Ortenblad followed by Andy Jacques- Mayens

          This weekend's race was Surf City #3, the series finals, at one of northern California's best cyclocross venues, the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. This race was the first true mud race of the year for us in northern California, it rained hard the day before and during some othe races on Sunday, including my own Mens B race. The course was also the best yet of the year, steep muddy run ups, off camber muddy descents. More mud as the course snaked through horse staples and around arenas, it even had a few fast sprints and some bumpy grass sections.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
          Coming into the series finals I sat in second place over all, just a few points behind Ben Gomez-Villafane and a hand full in front of Garret Kautz, the three of us along with Rob Martone Lee Slone, and a few other received call ups for this final race to see who would come out on top after fighting through the mud and rain.

Photo By: Samantha Smallwood
Garrett Kautz taking the whole shot
          Unlike my recent races I had a satisfactory start, although not getting the whole shot, I was right with Ben and both of us were on Garrett's wheel. I would take the inside of the left hander heading onto the gravel road and put in a few hard pedal stokes coming out of the corner in the lead. Ben would follow me and the two of us would turn into the first off camber descent together. Ben and I would ride together the rest of the first lap, matching each other on much of the course, until the 2nd steep run up I would build a small gap, of 2 seconds at the start of the second lap and a 15 second gap until Lee Slone in third.

Photo By: Samantha Smallwood
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Photo By: Alvaro Gomez-Villafane

        For the first part of the second lap Ben and myself would still be racing until he worn down his break pads, had some small crashes and faded back in the field (he would finish 28th on the day). After realizing Ben had fallen back, and I was still building a gap on the B's field I would focus on being smooth and staying on two wheels.

Photo By Brain Vernor
Dropping into the first off camber alone.
          I would go on to build the gap a few seconds each lap, staying on two wheels the whole race. There was only a few times in the race, when I would start to lose my front wheel and think I was about to crash, but my I believe my background in mountain biking really helped staying upright in this mud fest. I would finish the race in first, 50 seconds in front of second.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Surf City #3 Mens B podium
4th Jed Wilson, 3rd Yohta Namba, 1st Chris Seymour, 2nd Graham Lirley, 5th Garrett Kautz
           Coming into the race I was sitting second to Ben in the overall standings knowing I would need to finish 3 or 4 places ahead of him to take the overall, unfortunately for him he had a few crashes and would finish 28th, but still 5th overall. Lee Slone would finish a respectable 9th on the day in the best conditions of the year, and his consistency would land him 4th overall. Rob Martone would fight through the deep mud and finish just behind Garrett Kautz for 6th and 5th on the day, as well as 3rd and 2nd overall respectively.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Surf City 2014 Overall Mens B podium
Photos By: Mark Seymour

Rough race, after being Sick

Photo By: Joe Suzuki
Year long battle with Lee Slone continued in San Francisco  
     This week's race was BASP #5, a race weekend where all the category had their own races, ex. Elite men on Saturday, and the Mens B raced Sunday. Saturday was wet and muddy while Sunday was about as perfect of riding conditions as possible

         The course was the almost same as BASP #1, Clark Natwick GP, just ran the other way. The two big changes were the lack of the bridge, and the setup of the barriers. In September the barriers were setup with a set before and after a u-turn, while this week all four were in a line. Also instead of being dry, dusty, and loose as is was in September, the course was moist, super tacky, and a bit
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Start of the Mens B race
         Although I received the number one call up for the race, base on winning BASP#3, the Sierra Point night race and had choice of starting spot I struggled with start. During the week between Surf City #2 and BASP#5 I had been sick, coughing a lot with a sore throat, and hadn't yet recovered enough so I took some medicine before race, the wrong medicine. Going for the whole shot I was having a hard time breathing, the medicine had dried out my throat. I came off the "dirt road" into the trail first, but would take it very easy trying to catch my breath. About half way (maybe three quarters) through the first lap while leading we went down the hill before turning left back up it, I had my chain come to the inside. I tried a few times to shift and get it back on, but could not get it and alas had to dismount and fix it by hand before struggling up the short steep hill, after getting passed by around 20 racers.
Photo By: Joe Suzuki
Working through the field
          For the middle part of the race laps 2-4 I was working back up through the field, catching people and waiting for good spots to pass, and trying to get as much water as possible to try and keep my throat moist so I could breath. I slowly caught and past people I recognized and have battled against at past races.
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Catching 4th and 3rd

         Going into the 5th lap I would catch 6th and 5th and pass them on the road before the right hand turn onto the single track. Coming out of the first section of single track onto the gravel road i caught 4th place, with 3rd insight ahead of us we worked together to bridge the gap. For the rest of the lap I would ride in the pack of 3rd, 4th and 5th judging speeds and trying to save energy for the bell lap, the next time around. After finishing the lap in the group I knew being sick and not able to sprint well that if I was in the back of the pack as we went through the barriers I would not be able to stay with them as the groups speed would increase until the end.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
           During the bell lap, I was starting to tire quick and lost the wheel of 4th a few time in the first part of the lap. As we got closer to the barriers I tried make a few moves passing 4th in a few corners, and both of them in one, but alas I could not make a short sprint coming out of any of the corners and found my self a bikes length back entering the barriers. At this point my focus was to maintain my podium spot by staying smooth and on two wheels as could see Lee Slone and Dave Mongan coming up fast. I would end up in 5th, 22 seconds back of 4th, and just 1 second ahead of Lee

Photo By: Mark Seymour

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Close to home, Surf City CX #2

         This weekend's race was Surf City CX #2, about 16 miles up Empire Grade from Santa Cruz at a Cal fire training area. The course last year was clockwise and really dusty, going through a few inches of loose dirt for much of the lap. Yet this year the course was race counterclockwise, and with a little recent rain made for a great fun course.

          Off the start/finish gravel straight was a tight left almost looping back onto straight before a quick right leading across a field. After crossing the field a right turn preceding 4 barriers were waiting, before the course crossed the field a second time. Coming off the field for the second time was a hard left onto a high speed fire road following the outside of the field passing by the barriers into a spiral of death, winding and getting tighter towards the middle before unraveling. After coming out of the spiral of death the course dropped into the woods where; loose dirt, rocks, and a quick descent and moderate climb out towards a run up with a tree branch in it. After the run up coming out of the trees  was a quick pedal into a short off camber section that quickly descended  while wrapping left around tress dropping onto a gravel road. After about 100 yards the gravel road turned left and the course turned left up an embankment, wrapping back towards the gravel road descending slightly. The next few sections the course would go up the embankment, quickly back down make a 180 right turn, stay straight for around 75 yards, make a second 180 right turn, a left and lead back up the embankment. After making it up the course looped towards the right around a bumpy field on the embankment, before turning left around training building and back onto the gravel road. The last section of the course would follow the gravel road towards a second training building, up on a concert pad, loop around the building, back on to gravel and a left turn back to the start/finish straight.
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Start of Surf City #2 Mens B race
       After placing 6th at Surf City CX #1, I received a front row call up along with; Ibis Buy Cell's little Ben Gomez-villafane, Family Cycle's Rob Martone, and Fresh Air Hunter's Garrett Kautz. On the whistle Ben and a second junior, Aidan Malmberg, would sprint off leaving Lee Slone, Rob, Garrett and myself to chase them down. Aidan would get the hole shoot, followed closely by Ben, then Garrett, myself and Lee

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Coming out of the first turn, Lee on my wheel, and myself on Ben's
          Ben would quickly pass Aidan right before passing the barriers going towards the spiral of death. Four of us; Ben, Adian, Lee and myself would stay together until just after the run up when Ben took the right side over the tree and had a cleaner run which allowed him to remount faster to start and build a gap. I would pass Aidan for second just after we remounted, I believe Lee would do the same or closely there after. As we crossed the line for the first lap Ben would be in first (put down the fast lap of the race from a standing start no less of 6:48) already 14 seconds ahead of me in second, Lee just 2 seconds back from me in third, Aidan 7 seconds from Lee, Garrett rounding off the top 5 just 2 seconds from Aidan, but with a few others close behind.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Lee taking over second place on the second la, Joshua close behind me for forth
         Midway through the second lap, just after the run up Lee would take over second place. I would stay on his wheel, with Joshusa Pizzica and Jarret St. Anbin close behind, until the short turning descent after the off camber section. Coming out of the turn I would stuff my front wheel into some loose dirt, have my bike come to a top and dismount over the bars, while holding the bike still. Josh would be held up behind me while Jarret was just far enough back to be able to take the inside and avoid us. I sprint down the gravel road to stay with Jarret taking too much speed on the inside of the gravel left at the other end of the straight, nearly low siding into Jarret as I two wheel drifted the corner dapping my left foot 4 or 5 times as I almost was dragging my bars on the ground before catching and getting back up right. Jarret would lead me out until the start/finish when I would retake third place. Josh would follow me past Jarret, as the three of us chased Lee down passing him I believe between the barriers and the woods.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
          I would lead the chase group for rest of the third lap, and most of the forth before Josh passed me after the gravel road between going down and back up the embankment. But i would only follow him until concert pad where he would bobble and have to go wide leaving the faster inside line open. For the bell lap Ben was too far out to try and catch so I focused on making sure i could keep second. After losing to Josh at Toro park in a CCCX race I knew he was faster than me, I used being ahead, and the tightness of the course to my advantage. When we approached a spot I knew he could not pass in, I would shift down and brake causing him to almost stop in too hard of a gear while I could sprint ahead, then sprinting the small hill and the flats as hard as possible. 

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Barely out sprinting Josh Pizzica for 2nd
         As we approached the concert pad he was right on my wheel, but I would take the remaining corners as close to the tape as possible to make them as straight as possible and the last corner focused on taking the line with the least gravel so I could get one the pedals first and give it one last had attack, finish just 1.5 seconds in front of Josh. Jarret would follow 30 secounds back, Lee 10 behind him for 5th and Garret Kautz another 7 back from Lee for 6th. 

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Surf City #2, Mens B podium

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Ben Gomez-Villafane taking the win, 20 seconds up.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Double SIerra Point Weekend, Double Podium

         This weekend was a double weekend at the Brisbane Marina on Sierra Point, races #2, and #3 for BASP. Saturday was a late start for racing with my race, Mens Bs racing at 4:00 pm and the Elite race not starting until 8:00 pm, on a  counterclockwise course, while Sunday was a normal schedule with the Elites  racing at 1:00 pm and Mens Bs finishing off the day at 2:10 pm on a clockwise course.
Photo By: Mark Seymour
First mud pit of the year
         The two day's course were very similar; with four pavement sprints, two sets of barriers with one set before short steepish climb, a set a steps heading up what they call the "table top area," tight bumpy turns, and a mud pit at the start of the lap on Saturday and the end of the lap on Sunday. Even though Sunday was basically Saturday's course in reverse there were some differences; on Saturday after coming off the "table top" there was a bridge before a few turns leading to the second set of barriers(first set on Sunday) near the Marin Bikes pit before a sand trap, the bridge was omitted on Sunday, the other major change was the location of the first set of barriers on Saturday (second set on Sunday), they would be put on the other side of the flat u-turn, so both days you would come out of the turn before heading to the barriers.
Photo By: Mark Seymour

         The race Saturday was a large fields, 73 racers, and for me started with a pleasant surprise, of after finishing 42nd at BASP #1, enough people ahead of me weren't here allowing me to snag the last call up on the right side of row three, about 20th in the large field.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Staging for BASP #2 Mens B
          At the whistle the guy right ahead of had a good start so I would did not get bogged down, see the above video link, Brian started just to my right. I would hit the first turn right around 15th and take the far right line through the mud before making the turns to the pavement where I made a a few quick burst to get up to 5th behind Chris Neher going into the first little off camber uphill. Chris let me pass and chase down the leader as we made it to a flat fast long dirt turn. From there I would pick off most the remaining racers ahead of me to get into 2nd place entering the pavement at the end of the first lap.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
          Going on to the pavement after the mud I would pass the last guy for the lead, and start to build a gap, riding relatively by myself for the next few laps when I would start to make small mistakes; taking a different line through the mud, grabbing a dollar hand out going into to the bridge and not being able to remount on the top, these and a few other small mistakes allowed Richard Reffner to catch up and take the lead with two to go.
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Battling with Richard Reffner
         I would battle with Richard for the last two laps, and watch little Ben Gomez Villafane, who started on the 6th row, make a hard attack where the course past close to previous spots. Richard and I stayed close with him having a slight lead going barriers before the "table top" area. As we made it to the two steps I dismounted and pinched him into the tape as he tried to ride the steps. From there I would use all I had left, through the bridge, and last two barriers to the finish to take the win by 4 seconds, slowing just enough not to lap Scott Lappe.
Photo By: Mark Seymour

Photo By: Mark Seymour
BASP #2 Mens B podium
         After winning the day before, I would have the number one call up, little Ben the third, and Eric Stocker the forth. I would take the far left spot, which if I had a good start would of set me up nicely for the first right hand turn over the curb.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Start of BASP #3
         I would go over the curb around 12th, but would go wide and pass 5 people up to around 7th on outside before falling in line going into the sand box. Ben Gomez-Villafane would already be out of the sand and hopping the barriers before I i got through the sand. For first lap I would ride in traffic; going up the relocated two steps someone would try and fail to ride them causing a bottle neck, later in the lap on one of the short but loose climbs two guys on mountain bikes would come together and both crash causing a second pile up.
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Riding behind Chris Neher on lap two

         These pile ups would cause me to enter the second lap around 5th. On this lap I was still in traffic, but no one crashed or had issues with any of the climbs and I slowly made my way up to second by mid lap. The rest of the race was spent riding at the front of a three person chase group, trying to remain smooth, and erase a 25 second gap Ben had formed. With three to go I would miss the frame as I tried to grab my bike while running a set of barriers. Causing me to hit the barrier with my back wheel shooting the bike into the air and making me come to a stop to get my bike under control.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Leading the chase group of Myself, Miles Stepto, and Eric Stocker
         The three of us in the chase group would battle and switch spots over the last three lap. I would lead going into two to go, but Miles saw a few openings and would take the lead going into bell lap, with me on his wheel and Eric on my own. After we passed the first set of barriers I attacked hard going into the "table top" and would take over second place and hold it until the end of the three pavement straights. I would take too much speed exiting the pavement and go wide into the turn allowing Eric to pass on the inside. After he passed, I again took too much speed into a turn this time the right hander with woodchips and would have to unclip to stay on two wheel before the mud pit. I couldn't get my cleat to clip back in until just after the mud pit, allow as Eric build a just enough of a gap as turned over the curb on to the last pavement sprint to hold onto second place, leaving me in third, not what I wanted but a second podium for the weekend.
Photo By: Mark Seymour
BASP #3 Podium

          Next week I stay local and head up to the Cal Fire training ground on Empire Grade for Surf City CX  #2.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wildcat beating, Dropped Chain

         This past weekend's race was SuperPro Racing's NCCX #3, Stafford Lake Wildcat, in Navato, the location of a new bike park currently under construction.

Photo From: http://staffordlakebikepark.com/
Stafford Lake Bike Park trails started
         The weather was just about perfect for the Men's B race with the series late start time of 3:00 pm, and the course was fast, bumpy, and dry after a storm two days before. From the start was gravel fire road leading to a left over a bridge and a hard right followed by a short straight to get speed for a steep hill/stairs. The course winded down the hill from the top of the stairs via a few off camber straight sections, small quick punches up and with sharp descents, and a hard off camber fading left leading into a quick fading right around a disc golf tie slab. After the descent the course would pick up speed down a "smooth" fire road into a hard headwind, before heading towards the lake and long, fast, but extremely bumpy back stretch, including a barrier to slow the field. Shortly after the first barrier was a tight right left chicane leading to the final fast section starting with a short stint on pavement, before heading onto dirt, over a few roots, over two barriers and a "Belgium farm wall" before the lap marker, and another bumpy section and the start line.

Photo By: Samantha Smallwood
Chris Seymour hopping over the "Belgium farm wall"
         I was on my way to staging when they were just finishing call ups, missed my call up, but the field allowed me to head up to the front row to take my spot. A good starting spot was needed with the hard climb so close to the start, and not wanting to be in the back of the pack for it.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Eric Stocker leading out the Mens Open B race.

         I slotted in 4th at the start charging down the fire road, would take the left side and push hard for the whole shot, but Eric Stocker would narrowly take the whole shot, and lead the field up the hill with myself in second. I had practiced the hill in warm ups trying to find the speed and gear combination to make it up, but on the first lap I would not make it and have to run up the last 10 feet, not loosing much time on Eric, and slightly holding up the field behind me.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Bryan Cheung and Chris Seymour practicing the hill
         After making it to the top of the hill I quickly caught Eric and held his wheel until we made it to the fire road. With a quick burst I would pass him and start putting an effort into the headwind, Eric Stocker would hold my wheel for the rest of the first lap, where we were had made a 20 second gap on the strong single speed racer (on a geared bike this week), Bryan Cheung.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Eric Stocker bonking in the back ground
         After staying with me for the first lap and both of us making the hill on the second, Eric Stocker started to bonk after the descent allowing me to build my lead substantially going into the third lap, around 30 second at the top of the hill on the third lap. Shortly after making it up the hill I had a mechanical issue, my chain dropping on the outside of the cranks like at Ft. Ord earlier in the season. I would have to get off and yank/pull it free which erased my lead, bring it down to around 5 seconds. For the next few lap Dave Mongan, and Lee Slone would be close on me, I would have just enough left in the tank to hold off attacked between the high speed barrier pavement for two laps, before the bell lap. 
Photo By: Mark Seymour
         Going into the bell lap Lee (on a mtb bike) had passed Dave, and was charging hard, so after cross the farm wall I attacked as hard as I could to build a gap knowing if i could making it down the descent first I had a good chance at holding him off on the pedaling sections all the way to the finish. Charging hard on the hill making it for the 4th of 6 times in the race allowed me to focus on keeping my chain on and two wheels underneath me for the descent. I made it down first. But, Lee was clos e on to my wheel and would attack on the long stretch toward the barrier, I believe getting with in a second or two. Countering his attack, I would take to much speed into the chicane taking out a little tape before turning onto the pavement and giving it all I had after just under 45 minutes. As I came off the pavement and crossed the roots, my chain would bounce off to the inside. I tried, but could not get it back on causing me to have to run about 20 yards before hopping over farm wall, and running towards the finish, and remounting with a dropped chain to roll across the finish, taking the win. 
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Mens Open B Podium
Lee Slone, Chris Seymour, Dave Morgan
         This would be my 4th win of the season, and first of the NCCX series, putting me in the lead of the NCCX point after 3/5 races , with 111 point only 4 points ahead of Superpro Racing's own Aaron Spinddell

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tough run up, hills, and Donuts

        This week's race was the opener for the local Surf City Cyclocross series on a Ben Jacques-Maynes designed course at Aptos high. The course was a mixture of  technical descents and quick short climbs with an pedal section thrown in here and there.
          The start was on the northwest side of the gym going north, passing the pits and looping around to the southeast side before turning up a long steep loose run up, but not before a barrier.

Photo From: Surf City Cx facebook
         Following the run up was a short pavement sprint before dropping down the first short but steep as the course  descended into the school, across a quad and up a few concert stairs. Two pedal strokes after the stairs was a short climb starting with a few roots and stumps, before smoothing out and the second short descent.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
         This descent was loose sandy dirt fading away right turn leading to a pedaling section around the outside school's softball fields ending with a gravel pit and a short hairpin across a black top basketball court. Coming off the basketball court the course quickly ascended on to a gravel road, before just as quickly doing an about face and heading back down onto concrete looping next to the pits for a second time in the lap. Immediately coming off the concrete near the pits there was a choice of taking the high line with a steep run, or the low line a off camber sandy climb, both leading to a quick sandy descent quickly into a loose right turn lead to the second loose run up, which had section on the far right that became easily ride able later in day. At the top of the second run up was a quick pedal on a path used for disc golf before a quick but tight left-right chicane to slow racers down before a steep and bumpy descent onto the road. Just as quick as the course dropped onto the road it hopped over the curb on the other ride leading into a quick shallow descending off camber right turn before a long fast pedal down the left field wall and foul line of the baseball field with a really fun chicane halfway around the outfield wall. After making the way around the ball field was a tight hairpin and a muddy climb dumping onto the right side of more pavement and a little more climbing before dropping off the left side of the pavement and a quick hard pack dirt walkway  leading back to the start/finish.

         As they called the Men's B racers to the start was just finishing preriding the course and lined up forth row, about 35th  Although before bring the racers to the line they did call ups, and based on results from last year, I received the number 7 call up and a front row start.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
         On the start I was about fifth, but dove inside of the first turn and broke late sliding into third on the way around the gym towards the run up. At the top of the run up, I found myself ahead of little Ben and a second racer while the front two racers, Alec Howard and Isaiah Rapko were off and build and a gap. Ben the other racer and myself would lead the pack for the first lap, but as we climbed the run up on the second lap they both seemed to have an easier time and got to the top before I could. From there they made formed a gap on me, and would maintain it the rest of the race. For the nest two laps I rode by myself trying to maintain pace, but my laps would just keep getting slower, and I started making mistakes.
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Almost going off course and having to unclip
         With two laps to go, after coming down the steep descent on to road while attempting to go over the next curb, I caught the my front wheel and went over the bars landing on both wrists and my shoulder. I was quick to get up and on the bike but my front shifter was pointing 45 degrees towards the other shifter. I slowly made it down past the baseball field wacking my shifter straight and regaining composure, but would loose a lot of time and energy going into the bell lap.

Photo By :Samantha Smallwood
Going into the bell lap, Rob's shadow close behind
Shortly after crossing the line with the bell banging, I found my self at the run up for the last time of the race, but this time Rob Martone would say "Hi" and talk briftly about how strong I've been riding this year compared to year, before passing me and riding away. At the time I did not know we were racing each other and let him build a gap, taking away what would of been a podium spot. But i continued around the last lap stong by myself and would grab a donut hand out before crossing the line, 6/51.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
NCCX #3 next week, the Stafford Lake Wildcat in Novato.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unexpected Double Weekend......Double Win

Photo By: Mark Seymour
          Saturday I found myself back at CSUMB for CCCX #6. The course was a mix of speed, turns, and loads of sand. Starting quickly into a left and hard right onto  gravel straight, followed by a second gravel straight flanked on either side by left handed turns. A slight right bend leading to a long hard packed fast pedally section leading right into the middle of the course and all the loose sand/dirt turns and a single telephone pole barrier. Shortly after the barrier was two sand pits, the first being about 20ft and pretty wide, and a short but deep pit before the only hard climb on the course, which  required ducking under a tree half way up. 

Photo By: Steven Woo
The man behind all the Rock Lobster Bikes,
Paul Sadoff, in the sand pit before the climb
Descending from the climb was two lines leading to a hard right, the main line on dirt, making the right a really sharp turn, or a fast inside through the ice plant line, softening the right. The last section was a long maybe 150 foot sand pit, proved trouble for some racers through out the day, and a second pedal section a long the road, and a sustained climb back to the start/finish.  

Photo By: Mark Seymour
          I received the number one call up for leading the series, among a field of great racers and friends. The group for CCCX #6 included Lee "Slonie" Slone, Chris Neher, Matt "Donde" Gracia, Scott Lappe, and young ripper Ben Gomez-Villafone decided to race the B race right after the junior race this week instead of the Elite race, this field meant it was going to be a hard race.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
          Again I had a bad start third off the whistle, but quickly recovered and dove inside on the first turn taking the lead with young Ben, and Lee on my wheel. Something happened behind us close to start and the three of us had a good gap by the end of the first lap. On the second lap, Ben would take the lead after the long pedal section and would build a large gap on Lee and myself.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
       During the middle of the race Lee and I would trade second and third until Ben started to slow near the end of the 5th lap and the gap lessened.  We had made it to within about 20 seconds of Ben at the start of two to go when Lee got a water handout, took a slip, and handed it off to me. I think this little bit of water and great generosity from Slonie gave me the needed hydration and inspiration, I dropped the bottle and started the attack to try and catch Ben.

Photo By: Mark Seymour 
      I put my head down and charged ahead, slowly gaining time on Ben in first and making a gap on Lee in third. A few turns after leaving the long pedal i had caught Ben, but he still had some left in him and held off my attack. When we made it to the small climb I noticed he did not have enough power left to hammer up it, but was better at the insuring sand pit. We crossed the line neck and neck going into the bell lap and the lead would switch a few time for the first half of the lap. Knowing from the previous lap if i could get to the climb first I would have a chance at winning. I took a lot of speed through the first sand trap far on the right as Ben went left, I downshifted and spun through the second on moving from the right to left just inching in front of the fast 14 year old. From there I push hard up the hill and even hard on the last 1/3 of the lap with out looking back, putting a 24 scound gap on Ben by the finish.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
      After winning at CSUMB I decided to spend the next day racing, and arranged to head up to Santa Rosa.

          Sunday morning, local fast guy Santa Cruz Bicycle's employee Rock Lobster elite racer, Scotty Chapin, and I headed up to Santa Rosa to for Santa Rosa Cup #2 at A Place to Play park the course there what about speed and cornering, check out the video of the start of the Masters Men's A race start from Hans Kellner  to see the course.
          In the Men's B race I  didn't have a call up, and lined up on the right side of row three. On the start the I went into the line about 15th before passing about 9 races on the first dirt section finding myself right around 7th at the back of the second group, with two guys already making a gap. I stayed with this "chase" group until the back stretch around a baseball field where I made a move to the front of the group hoping someone would grab my wheel as I took off to catch the lead group of two, no one did. Going into the second lap I was close to the lead group, caught and passed them on again on the first dirt section, again I was hoping at least one of the two guys  would stay on my wheel so we could work together to put a gap on the field, but alas neither did.

Photo By: Joe Fabis
From there I put a small gap on the field and maintained the gap as the two former leads got caught by the chase group. With about three to go Rob Pitchford, already the winner of the Masters Men's B 45+ race, emerged from the chase group and attempted to bridge the gap to no success. I was saving energy for the last two laps and going into the bell lap I dropped the hammer and put 20 more seconds into the gap before the end of the race.

          Next weekend is the opener for the long running local Surf City Cyclocross Series, at Aptos High, it should bring out some fast racers for what should be a hard hilly technical course

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