Thursday, September 6, 2007

DFL Cyclocross Race at Golden gate Park

Last night I raced the DFL Cyclocross Series in Golden
Gate Park with jeans and a t-shirt. I learned my lesson on the way to the race as I climbed up Fell Street in the blistering heat. The park was loaded with riders from all over the Bay Area and spectators lined up along the side of the trails with cameras and cow bells. It was nice to see all the people from last season with new team kits and clean bikes. The eucalyptus (coolibah) trees provided nice shade for the venue, but I knew the ground would be loose and full of tree litter. Last season I broke a spoke on my Ksyrium while warming up before the Super Prestige at Coyote Point. The eucalyptus branches and the gum nuts can wreak havoc on a course.

The course was an excellent mixture of technical single track and fire roads with natural obstacles. The beginning of the race bottled necked down a trail with dust and gears clicking. I could not see much during the first 10 minutes of the race as the riders frantically sprinted for position on the course. The first main obstacle was a 3 foot log at the end of a narrow single track. The dismount area began to deteriorate on the first lap from riders grabbing the brakes and crashing before the barrier. It was quite challengin
g to navigate the loose soil with roots and hidden tree stumps. A paved section provided some time to focus and change gears before the next section of single track.

A quick right turn from the paved section went directly into an off camber single track with exposed roots and a second tree obstacle. The spectators were lined up in this section and cheered as riders ran up a short climb into the trees.

The next section hit several dismounts over logs with a couple of power climbs in loose gravel. It was nice to see all the
spectators cheering as the riders carved through the single track and dusty roads. There was one place on the course where I would run the entire section up the stairs and along a ridge. Most riders were grinding through the thick grass and sand as I ran past them with my bike on the shoulder. I managed to carry the bike through this section on all laps and it helped my position in the overall standing. I rolled my ankle a few times during the dismounts and will probably use the new Shimano mountain shoe or the Sidi Dominator for its running qualities. The Sidi Dominator is an excellent choice for a cyclocross racer but the base of the shoe tends to run narrow and could be tricky in sand and loose terrain. I plan on racing or training in both shoes and sharing the report for those with skinny ankles.

I will end this blog with a question asked by a someone - "why do you read VeloNews every morning?"

I thought about this one and realize some people will never experience the true power of passion for something or someone in their lifetime. To push the limits of the body and mind while grinding up a steep hill, surrounded by hundreds of riders and screaming spectators, while your lungs burn and muscles ache. Or coming home to someone you've been thinking about all day or something you want to build or design. You can taste it, dream it, breathe it. This is what I call passion and it's something I hope we can all experience before we die.

Look for the "Italia vs Japan" shoe update


Andrea said...

Yeah, passion . . . I know it well.

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