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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