Northern California Bicycle Racing Community
This is a first of firsts...my first Call Up blog post, first time riding at the Cool, CA Olmstead Loop, and first race with Summit Bicycles out of San Rafael. It was a blast. I moved to Norcal from Indianapolis a little over a year ago, and have steadily increased my fitness, bike handling and overall ability on the bikes...and have had a blast doing it and exploring California at the same time. What a difference having such beauty to keep you motivated and year round outdoor training makes! In the past year I have ridden from Mill Valley to Santa Barbara, all over Marin, Sonoma and Napa, and around Tahoe during the Death Ride. We live in paradise.
Last year I raced the Napa Dirt Classic, Rockhopper, Skyline, two Lake Sonoma Series (BikeMonkey) XC races, and Sonomas. I went from mid-pack Cat 3 to a second in Cat 2 at Sonomas by the end of the year. My goal for this year is to race between 10-15 norcal races and be at the front of the Cat 2 class....and MAYBE move to expert later in the year, depending on how the arrival of our second child affects my bike time (due in late April).
Upon moving to Norcal I quickly met my now good friend Eric Olson, a local Novato rider and Summit MTB Team member. Eric has been my sherpa around local trails, and helped me get faster. I was really excited to be able to join the team this year and am looking forward to a great season.
My first race of the year was the lightly attended TBF Granite Bay MTB Madness event March 4, where I won the Cat 2 30-39 category, and had the overall fastest Cat 2 time...while it was a smaller turnout, I was really happy to have such a great result against my goals for the year right off the bat.
This past weekend I experienced my first Cool MTB Race, and it was pure fun! From the video quadcopter recording the start/finish area, to the water crossings, to the mud bogs, to the raffle, this was a great event. While I was still pretty banged up from two goofy training spills on Burdell and Big Tree in Novato, and didnt taper too well, I was well rested, fueled right and excited for my first race with the Summit team. As I understand Cool is not cool without muddy conditions, the mtb gods did not disappoint, giving a nice watering the morning of. It was in the low to mid-40's at race time and still sprinkling....the temptation to overdress was strong, but I fended off the shivers with just shorts, jersey and arm warmers....that turned out to be a good decision.
My 30-39 Cat 2 class was grouped with all of the Cat 2 class, all singlespeeds and all Clydes at the start, with only the 39+ Cat 2 starting behind me....which made getting to the front quickly important. Thankfully I was able to get through a big bunch at the start, but the clustermess of people still in front caused a dismount at the first wet climb across the first creek crossing. I put a lot in to sprint up the hill, passing riders still pedalling, to get clear of as many as I could. Halfway through the first lap I was comfortable pacing the lead 1-2 in my class, and I believe overall in Cat2. That was short lived, as I had a freak sidewal tear of my rear Maxxis Beaver while climbing 2/3 thru the first lap....I was further penalized by forgetting my tube and air. 8 minutes later and after the generosity of fellow compeitors, I was rolling again cautiously on what felt like 20psi. I rode with anger for ten minutes, then just relaxed and had a blast for the rest of the race. I caught all but one and grabbed second, about a minute behind the Cat 2 winner. If you read Carl's blog, you will see he had an almost similar result in Expert 40-49. That's racing, and all in all a great time.
Thanks to Jim and the rest of the Summit Team!