Having ridden little over the past couple of months but wanting to get out and race the last local CX race for me this year, I hopped into the 45+ A field of the last Sacramento CX race of the year. Only 10 minutes from my house at Granite Beach on the edge of Folsom Lake. The organizers had to do some rerouting the night before because of the recent rain and snow causing water levels in the lake to rise and not wanting to make us swim with our bikes (running with the bikes is enough apparently). All sand all the time for this course but recent rain made the surface pretty tacky so the organizers did a good job churning up some descents and climbs to make them super sandy and make folks opt to try to ride or run, as well as some tricky rock sections.
First race in a month. I needed a break so I hadn’t ridden much in the past few weeks. Speaking of breaks, I broke my CX race bike frame recently so I had to pull out the backup bike (10 years old, steel frame, cantilever brakes). With all that, my goal was to be top 5 and get back into the racing mindset going into the last 3 rounds of this series over a week mid-December.
Race 4 of 5 in Folsom. I arrived with a little mud from recent rains but overall firmer conditions with less dust and better traction. From the start, I took the lead of the 45+ A race and built up a solid lead of about 30 seconds by mid-race; then disaster struck: a couple of A riders I passed decided to try to stay on my wheel and I could hear them over their limit behind me.
The sea otter road race starts with a descent into a park with closed roads where you complete laps and then finish with a climb back out. The race started pretty fast and broke apart at the end of the first lap into two groups. I made the selection on the main climb on the loop and continued to stay tucked in the group for the next two laps.
I was a bit tired to start after already doing 3 races in the week (1 IRL, 2 Zwift). Lined up with ~30 dudes for the 45+ A race. Course was on a church property, it began with a gravel sprint, to short pavement flat then steep uphill, snaked down a grassy off-camber to a run up, then off to the dirt field for bumpety bump bumps, more gravel, then onto a grassy field with barriers, then repeat for an hour. Power course with benefit to those comfortably slipping and sliding on the dirt.
Lined up for the Open 45+ field at 7:15 pm. First time doing this race, and doing CX racing at night. Race starts in the Folsom rodeo arena (bright overhead lights), goes around in circles on the dirt, heads up a short steep climb and then flat pavement above arena in the dark, dipping back onto the dirt with some welcome strung lights and heckle hollow, a quick descent followed by a quick down and up where they have a DJ, handups and all out party and plenty of good natured heckling. From there you go past the arena to a grass field with dim lights strung up to provide some visibility, looping back to arena for more dirt circles, barriers and start of next lap. Basically a power course with a little mountain biking thrown in. Field went out fast and I rode near the front. Made a wrong
My last outdoor race was in February of 2020, some 19 months ago. After everything settled down just a bit, I signed up for the Mare Island Pedalfest, billed as an urban-cross race. All videos and pictures of previous versions seemed to indicate a lot of warehouses, former lawns, stairs, and broken asphalt. That seems accurate.