14 November 2015
The 2015 Santa Rosa Cup CX got off to a great start yesterday with its Friday Night Race. The Sonoma County Fairgrounds venue is a mostly grass course crammed into a small area of less than 10 acres. The start-finish straight-away is paved. The terrain was mostly flat with plenty of turns separated by long straights. A couple of off-camber embankments and a pair of plank barriers offered up their difficulties. It was a good course to establish a rhythm.
By far the barrier of import was a right-angled flyover the height of a freight container. With ramps on both angles, it spilled out into an array of kegs forcing riders to control their speed on the down ramp and choose between going to the right or left. The whole section was corralled by two large, inflatable tubes, each in an arc, arranged to allow only one outlet. It was a small maze of sorts with smoke to foil the vision and lasers to add to the spectator’s entertainment.
Although the kegs were set up as a wall near the bottom of the ramp, riders soon understood dismounting and jumping over the barrels could earn them seconds and a position or two. With a short, fast course, and the finish line so close after the flyover, getting through this barrier first, on the last lap, was tantamount to a win.