Written by Michael Benson Tuesday, 17 October 2017 16:15
This is one of my favorite cyclocross courses. It has so many different features from run-ups, steep ride-ups, unrideable ‘but you think you can ride them’ cambers, long power sections, and enough skills sections that have you guessing your speed on corners and lines on every lap. The course is set within a nice suburban park. Every year I say I won’t get a parking spot in the main lot and I always do. If you don’t park in the main lot there is plenty of parking along the streets. For warm-ups and warm-downs, I always find that the streets locally are fun to ride on. They are usually quiet and safe. The course itself is pretty easy to get around for spectating although it took me until this year to figure out the best way to bring my bike to the pit (i.e. take the bridge behind the staging area across the pond).
I was staged on the second row for the category 3/4 race. When the whistle blew, the first 16 riders shot off like a cannon trying to gain valuable position before the first obstacle which was a tight chicane of turns on a little side hill. From there, the race headed towards some high speed turns that you could rail with the right amount of speed. I saw many racers wash out on these corners by taking them too fast and other wasting valuable energy by slowing down and braking through the corner. From here, your fitness was really tested with two run-ups. One could be ridden early on in the race but I didn’t have the energy to continue to ride it later on. The other was just a steep 20 yard hill that sapped energy but, if you drilled it right at the top, you could gap people behind you on the next set of obstacles. As we headed to other side of the course, there was a set of rocks that some bunny hopped onto the road. I chose to dismount and carry but hopping was quicker. We now headed uphill on a closed road before entering the park and another set of tight turn cambers on some loose sand/dirt. I was able to figure this out during my pre-ride so that I didn’t lose any time here. Riders were forced back onto the pavement for a fast turn that went around a park building before entering the dirt again. Once on the dirt the course zigged and zagged up and down hills before entering a feature on the course that everyone thought they could ride but the snow fence was so close to the worn out trail that if your pedal grabbed it, you’d be doomed. I also noted some broken glass on the ground here during my pre-ride. When at the top of this run-up, riders had about 3 feet to mount their bikes and get clipped in before hitting a hair raising drop that took its share of casualties on the day. My son Matt, who was racing on the day walked it on his first pre-ride lap as he was too nervous to ride it. His second pre-race lap, he gained confidence and safely rode it for the remainder of the day. From here, it was power down around the outfield of the baseball course before hitting the finish line.
On the day, it was hot as it was an early afternoon race but I wore a superlight Verge Kit and was not overdone. I found some good lines, saved energy on the power sections by drafting others when I could. I finished 17/48. My son Matt, who was also racing for Bikeman started on the last row but finished a respectable 8/17 after picking his way through traffic. I would also like to thank Big Al and Bikeman for helping me repair a wheel hub during the week. I was very appreciative of the support and service.
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