Since little Aida has come along my riding has consisted exclusively of a 6 mile rt jaunt on the Big Dummy to work and back. I was getting a bit jumpy about not riding that much and had an opportunity to run some errands in Santa Fe that neatly coincided with the NM cross series #7 race in Fort Marcy Park, which is a few blocks from the downtown plaza in Santa Fe. I knew I was not in great shape, but I was hoping that my veteran cross wiles would get me through the A race happy and no worse for the wear.
pre race. Luckily the little girl in the back was not in my race or she might have lapped me too
I got down to the race site around 11:30 with a half hour or so to spare. I quickly changed and registered, but due to an unfortunate snafu I spend 15 minutes looking for a restroom that did not exist. Apparently the portojohns were never delivered and the local gyms restroom was not open as planned. Bummer. I climbed down into the arroyo that cut through the park and somewhat stealthily watered some trees. Problem solved but course pre-ride was not completed before race time.
training the night before the race, like 95% of my cross specific training this year
The course was a nice example of public park twisty chicane celebration. Making good use of natural berms, sidewalks and bridges. The first half of the course was something like start, hard left, hard right onto bridge, hard left off bridge down dirt path across another bridge up a loose climb, tricky right onto gradual dirt climb along the road at the edge of the park, short right turn onto a downhill into a series of chicanes through sand and then up a set of stairs. Back down the gradual climb with a loose detour around a truck parked on the course. Hard left back down the park with a loose turn leading to another bridge.
This lead to the second part of the course which started with a hard right off the bridge along some pavement to a 270 wide paved turn to some dirt leading to a hard right up a loose bumpy climb. A 180 at the top of the climb right back down to a loose left and then a dirt gradual climb to a tight left that led to a three long straightaways with a couple of very loose tight 180 turns linking them. After this a sweeping loose right hand descent on to pavement followed by a tight left and short straightaway leading to a final bridge. Hard left off the bridge onto a paved path that surrounded a soccer field with sharp corners with the start/finish at the end.
It was a long fun course with lots of loose stuff and tricky bits. The stairs were the only place where you needed to get off the bike. The course was really narrow, but there were probably only 20 starters or so in the race so it was not a big deal.
looking fast, although reality was quite different
Anyhow, here is the report, I started in the back, yo-yo'd off the back of the pack a bit as I screwed up every technical section in the first half of the course. I passed a three or four people who I think had raced earlier, jumped in the A race for a few laps and dropped out. Then I popped, dropped off the back completely. And then I finished the first lap. I then rode on my own for a number of laps and then started getting lapped. I started riding a bit faster as the lappers came through, taking better lines and enjoying myself, attempting to hold onto wheels.
I did do great on the stairs though, I was able to take them two at a time almost every lap, and look smashing while doing it. The course could have used a second set of barriers or other forced dismount feature, but overall it was really great.
Crossing the start/finish line
I was probably running my tires at too high a pressure and was unable to hold some of the loose lines on the course. It is a delecate balance for me as I ride pretty light, but I do weigh 200 lbs, so no sub 25psi pressures for me. I think I was probably up around 40 on my michelin sprints which was a bit hard and jarring, again, getting there earlier and preriding would have shaken this out a bit. I did end up flatting, but it was a slow leak over the last lap that pretty much held until the last corner where I almost bit it. Goatheads. It did not cost me any places though as it happened over the second half of the last lap and no one lapped me and I was already last. I had some specialized airlock tubes in there, but they are probably the same tubes I have been running since 2003, so they might be a bit light on the sealant now.
After the race I headed over to 2nd st brewing company with my Ski Club buddy John D. and his Nob Hill Bike club teamates for some delicious beer and sammiches. Good time was had by most.
Results over on nmcross.com I took DFL in the A race. Yea me. If you want to get some idea of the course and racers, there are some good photo galleries here and a big one here where I borrowed a couple photos fro
My buddy Glen is the race promoter and I heartily thank him for putting on a race in Santa Fe. In my dotage I am reluctant to drive two hours to albuquerque for a cross race anymore. Glen has lined up the Santa Fe PD to help sponsor the race next year and allegedly they will bring their big barbeque truck, so it should be a can't miss race. Thanks to Glen and the other volunteers for putting on a good race.
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