6 December 2015
Miller Park sits just below the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers on a narrow spit of land between the Sacramento River and the Sacramento Marina. The elongated 1.5-mile course resembles some drawn Japanese calligraphy and meanders with two directions side-by-side along a few stretches. Only short elevation changes appear along the mostly grass terrain. For one challenging run-up, course designer Clint Claassen sent racers down to a muddy beach and back up the embankment. Later in the day, combined with the wake from the odd water craft or two, the water rose high enough that some racers put wheels or feet into the cold Sacramento.
2 November 2015
The first of the NorCal Nevada season with rain during the races played out this past Sunday in Folsom. The Sacramento Cyclocross Series moved along Riley Street to the other side of Blue Ravine for the second event of the weekend. The Lakeside Church venue was hot and dusty but Lembi Park proved to be another climate altogether. In proof again that the forecaster is unable to predict yesterday’s weather next week, the threatening skies became rainfall some four to 6 hours before the prognostications.
As always at Lembi Park, the course went through the volleyball sand pit with its ever changing race lines. Once the rain did come down, the already difficult traction along other portions of the course became even more challenging. Off-cambers on green and dry grass and packed dirt featured heavily along the 1.7-mile circuit. The downhill off-camber sections threw down the gauntlet in front of racers as did one steep run-up and a second run-up populated with four plank barriers, though somewhat less steep. With sharp turns into and out of the off-cambers, technical skills and good bike handling were the order of the day.
2 November 2015
The Gheto CX crew have now become a staple at Sacramento Cyclocross events, adding to the vibe of the series with music, heckling, and hand-ups. They also bring their brand of support to WSCXGP, Rodeocross, Gheto Pick-Ups, and may soon feature at Sagebrush events. This is not some staid, stiff-upper lip chap handing out golf claps as racers slice through the corners. They are noisy and lively and take to the limit some of the enjoyable absurdity that is ‘cross.
At yesterday’s SacCX Lembi Park event, the day was bolstered by rain turning sections of the course to severe traction challenges. Through all the weather, the crew stood firm, continuing to pour on the insults and hand out dixie cups of refreshing juice. Here are select photos of the action with some of the hand-ups and hand backs from the last race of the day: Master Men B.
1 November 2015
It’s a rarity for one to go to a regional ‘cross meet without a positive outcome but some events can raise the bar higher. NorCal Nevada’s SacCX, at Lakeside Church yesterday, produced an excellent day of ‘cross racing as Jen and Clint Claassen continue to grow a marvelous series in the central valley. A Beer Garden serving terrific stout, food truck serving good food, and Gheto music from Woy and Hargrove, beginning, no less, with reggae Dark Side of the Moon, were simply outstanding. Yet these were still a precursor to the great racing throughout the day.
A small but exciting field lined up for Women A with Julie Young (Roseville Cyclery) deviating from her previous race strategies to storm away from the field. Behind Young, Holly McGovern (Real Wheels) and Colleen Wanty (Dolore Grotta/Big Swingin’ Bicycles) took the decision for second place to the final lap.
The race for Men A was one of those much sought-after fields with competitors from across the region. Spectators could drool over the line-up of Real Wheels team mates Curtis Smith, Scott Hooper, and Gareth Feldstein alongside Rock Lobster riders Kailin Waterman and Max Judelson. Add Mike Larson (Velo Reno) and AJ Snovel (HiFi CX) and one has themselves a race and a half.
23 October 2015
The upcoming weekend is busy with four events from across the region’s east to west span. Sagebrush CX rolls in on Saturday (24 October) with their at-altitude Truckee Bike Park venue. USAC points are available. To get the festivities off well, there is a free ‘cross clinic in the morning led by Dave Eastwood. Registration opens and the clinic begins at 9am with the first race underway at 10am. The course will include more grass should the frost stay away!
Also this Saturday, SuperPro CX returns to Dan Foley Park with the Vallejo Day Race. The course runs closer to Lake Chabot than last week’s night race but will clamber up long uphill sections. There is plenty of green along the course and, going by last Saturday’s event, some of that grass is spongy. Last year saw the course run through massive swaths of water but this year the forecast is dry and mostly sunny.
12 October 2015
For the Sacramento Cyclocross Series, Julie Young (Roseville Cyclery) and Gareth Feldstein (Real Wheels) picked up where they left off at Orangevale 2 weeks ago. Both came out winners for the Elite races in the heat and dust of Maidu Regional Park. As before, Young battled with Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels) before pulling away late in the race. Feldstein’s task was more taxing for this race after a strong ride from Liam Dunn (Clif Bar) kept the race’s outcome in doubt until the final lap.
Jen and Clint Classen, and their entire SacCX crew, made it another well executed event complete with a now standard beer garden and food truck plus music from the Gheto crew. It was another good turn-out for the series with 379 race-entries including 71 in Women’s categories.
SacCX also laid out a terrific course, taking advantage of everything available at a city park. The terrain included grass, hard-packed dirt, gravel, and paved pathways. In amongst some of the technical sections under tree cover, plenty of plant debris and off-camber made for challenging riding. There were plenty of transitions between surfaces that required acute attention. And, for an area that is mostly flat, the course had plenty of elevation changes from a soft, sand-pit shallow mound to two difficult run-ups. The second of the latter followed a left-hand turn at the bottom of a decline that rose up, into, and over three plank barriers. This was the reward racers saw after a short climb leading into this section.
The big, steep run-up, some 7m high, had a loose top layer to the racer’s right that invited riding the bike to the top. To the left was a shallow, dry gully perfect for foot holds except for a couple of tree roots exposed by erosion from long-ago rains. Riding this big run up was certainly a huge expenditure of energy and certainly faster than most could run. However, the penalty for failing to ride all the way to the top was a difficult slide back down and plenty of lost time. To make the run-up that much harder, it too was situated after a turn at the bottom of a downhill to spill the momentum of racers.
28 September 2015
Orangevale Park, Sacramento Cyclocross Series
The two-miler course at Orangevale Park sports plenty of grass and is fast moving. Men A put in the fastest lap times at seven and one-half minutes. With temperatures in the low to mid-nineties, on this cloud-covered muggy day, the racing proved relentless. In a long sand-pit, a plank stretched across the course had a deceptively short height. Wheels could sink into the soft sand and raise the effective height of the barrier. Along with two other plank barriers and a stair run-up, the racing was very staccato: peddle hard on the firm terrain, stop for a barrier, repeat.
The turn-out for the first SacCX event of 2015-16 had very good numbers, particularly for Junior and Women fields. Top-notch skills were on display by youngsters and experienced riders alike. The well-organized event kept the racing and awards running close to clockwork efficiency. And, TimeYourRace.com had results on-line and posted at the venue with lightning speed after each race. All the other features for ‘cross were in place: food truck, beer garden, the Gheto crew’s music, and heckling.
Two new winner’s names to the region’s cyclocross appeared in the results for both the Women’s A and Men’s A races. After holding off challenges from teammates, Bakersfield-SoCal transplant Gareth Feldstein (Real Wheels) broke away from Nick Schaffner (Herbalife p/b Marc Pro-Strava) to take the Men’s podium. Winner of the 1992 Tour de l’Aude, Julie Young (Roseville Cyclery) found enough cyclocross skills to take a 67-second margin of victory in the Women’s race.