The fit race 'cross and 'cross gets 'em filthy!

How Does One Negotiate the CrossReno Hay-Pit?

21 September 2015

The CrossReno course was long and tough with several obstacles to make the race that much harder for riders. The big run up had a soft turn into its base and then plank barriers just after the crest. Some categories also contended with off-camber and loose dirt on the downhill side. Another set of plank barriers greeted racers just before the finish straight-away. A good approach speed was necessary for the fly-over bridge and the two 180° turns in the sand-pit made riding a difficult proposition.

A coup de grâce of sorts was the hay pit – a raised wide, wooden box filled with hay. On either edge were plank barriers wide enough to precariously ride along and yet narrow enough to change the complexion of a rider’s race. In instances for some riders their choice of line would gain a position or two. Yet at least one rider kissed away the top step of the podium with a less than graceful exit from the hay pit. No doubt, the planks were inviting as they could exact less energy from a racer.

“Walk this Way”
Throughout the day, racers took one of a myriad of lines through the hay pit with the bike carry as the most straight forward. The following photographs are examples of the more successful attempts to overcome the obstacle.

Brian Wallace (Velo Reno) Executes a Suitcase Carry through the Hay Pit

Brian Wallace (Velo Reno) Executes a Suitcase Carry through the Hay Pit

Focus is the Key for Christine Sodaro (Marin Bikers)

Focus is the Key for Christine Sodaro (Marin Bikers)

Cody Kaiser Rode the Plank with Utmost Precision

Cody Kaiser Rode the Plank with Utmost Precision

Kateřina Nash Slipped off the Wood on her First Lap but found the Surrounding Hay Firm

Kateřina Nash Slipped off the Wood on her First Lap but found the Surrounding Hay Firm

Paige Galeoto (Reno Wheelwomen) Carries through the Hay Pit

Paige Galeoto (Reno Wheelwomen) Carries through the Hay Pit

Brandon Reif (crossiscoming.com) Demonstrates the Fine Line along a Plank

Brandon Reif (crossiscoming.com) Demonstrates the Fine Line along a Plank

Nick Schaffner puts some Serious Hip-Action into Riding the Plank

Nick Schaffner puts some Serious Hip-Action into Riding the Plank

Stephen Sprinkel (Sacrifice Racing) Opts for the Left-Side Plank

Stephen Sprinkel (Sacrifice Racing) Opts for the Left-Side Plank

But Riding the Bottom Hay was another Way Out

But Riding the Bottom Hay was another Way Out

Walking the Plank was always an Option for Mike Warren (Velo Fratello/Bay Equity)

Walking the Plank was always an Option for Mike Warren (Velo Fratello/Bay Equity)

Ben Gomez-Villafañe Bunny Hops his Way In

Ben Gomez-Villafañe Bunny Hops his Way In

And Ben Gomez-Villafañe Bunny Hops his Way Out

And Ben Gomez-Villafañe Bunny Hops his Way Out

Max Judelson is another that Stayed on his Bike for the Hay Pit

Max Judelson is another that Stayed on his Bike for the Hay Pit

Beverly Chaney (Team Roaring Mouse) Goes Casual and Stylish

Beverly Chaney (Team Roaring Mouse) Goes Casual and Stylish

Justin Abbott also Bunny Hopped the Hay Pit

Justin Abbott also Bunny Hopped the Hay Pit

Holy Sausage and Mash, Batman!
As with any obstacle, there are better ways and there are less fruitful ways to overcome the hay pit. Some racers chose a less than successful line in hopes of putting high risk and high reward on either side of the equals sign. This equation sometimes failed to match the laws of physics, the behaviour of a cyclocross bike, or both.

Take the Thumb and Forefinger and Pinch Those X-Shaped Parts

Take the Thumb and Forefinger and Pinch Those X-Shaped Parts

Yes, the Plank is Narrow - Mason Bond (Real Wheels)

Yes, the Plank is Narrow – Mason Bond (Real Wheels)

Getting onto One's Knees in Veneration to the Hay Pit is just Not 'Cross - Steve Ouzounian (Dolore Grotta/Big Swingin' Bicycles)

Getting onto One’s Knees in Veneration to the Hay Pit is just Not ‘Cross – Steve Ouzounian (Dolore Grotta/Big Swingin’ Bicycles)

Bryan Cheung (Pen Velo) Admits it's Good to Keep One's Eye on the Obstacle

Bryan Cheung (Pen Velo) Admits it’s Good to Keep One’s Eye on the Obstacle

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