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Cyclocross October 12
Weber County Fairgrounds

Finding this race was a bit of an adventure. Google Maps gave an address about two miles away. Nothing but high fences and locked gates. Watch for a car with CX bikes. Follow them. Through a parking lot. Around buildings. Through the stables and around the race track. Hey, green canopies!

The temperature is a relatively balmy 45 degrees. Nice day for a bike ride.

For those who've pre-registered, check-in is painless. Just initial by your name on the roster of your racing category. No lines. No confusion.

Make sure your race number is attached firmly. Pump up the tires to 38 pounds. Last week's sealant should still be good. Now we're off to check out the course.

The first pre-ride lap is sticky and squishy. Scrape as much mud as possible off the tire. Take another lap and discover that after just 20 minutes, the course is getting dry.

Check-in table at 11 a.m. Comfortable racing temperature, but cool in the shade.

Ready to race.

The staging area was right along the parking lot near the wheel pit. The race ran clockwise, starting out with a sprint to the west.

Jason Sparks is on the front line of the Masters 45-plus group in the second race of the day. 

The shakeout sprint was a long straight shot past the canopy and announcing booth, then 90 degrees right to another straight section heading north.

Racers sprint from the start line heading west. They'll be coming back here to the yellow barricades, going the other direction.

This course was another spectator-friendly venue. You could see all the barriers and several hairpin turns from the canopy area at the finish line.

Looking north toward the CX course through canopies lining the race path.

After the initial shakeout sprint, the course went through a couple of tight turns, then hit the first log. The right side of the log was smaller, and the most skilled racers were able to hop the log on the right side without dismounting. That is, if you had a clear shot at it.

The third wave in the 10:30 race hits the first barrier.

After another set of turns, the course came back to the start-finish area. Here a series of barriers awaited.

I bounced my chain onto the bottom bracket here. Lap one, overexcited, clumsy dismount. Instantly I go from mid-pack to 100 yards behind the last rider. 

By the second race, the rain-soaked ground was getting fairly solid. As I look at those shoes and tires, I think, "Where's the mud?"

After clearing the double barrier, it was about 60 feet to a log barrier. Racers had to decide whether to hop on the bike, coast on a pedal, or continue running.

Here's Jason Sparks, dropping the bike to the ground after clearing the second barrier.

This log was large. Definitely not a ride-over. And it was too close to the double barrier to build up speed for a big bunny hop. It was also angled across the course in the middle of a 90 degree turn. I didn't see anybody try to stay on the bike when crossing the log.

Shane Horton jumps over the log.

After another set of hairpin turns, the course wound north. It then turned east to cross the sandy horse race loop. And after flirting with the edge of a sports field, the loop turned back south.

Looking north from the wheel pit area as racers navigate a couple of hairpin turns.

Strategic positioning let family members be close to several meanders of the course. 

Jason's family gets a good view of the race.

A ninety-degree turn preceded the steepest spot on the race course. But it wasn't quite steep enough to be a run-up. Stand and crank, and the bike flew right up.

Quite a few riders overshot the 90 degree turn and broke through the tape as they transitioned to the climb. You can see a couple of splices where it's been tied back together.

The descent from the hill led to an up-and-around by the railroad tracks.

Strategic shifting and power management gives the experienced cyclocrossers an advantage here.

From that hill, the course crossed the basin again to another turn on the hill on the opposite side of the basin.

Dropping back down  from the second up-and-around.

This was followed by a couple of zigzags in the trees. Decision: inside line with a face-hit from the branches, or take a longer outside line?

Shane Horton carves a 150 degree turn after skirting the edge of the branches.

Meantime, back at the staging area, hot waffles are for sale.
After hitting the southernmost spot on the loop, the course came back north on a long straightaway. Then it turned west to cross the racetrack again.

Racers duck the branches on the inside line as they turn toward the horse race track.

This course felt like a lot of work. It seemed I was constantly sprinting away from a tight turn where a racer with better skills had sneaked past me on an inside elbow-bumping line.  

Jason has crossed the racetrack and is heading north. Not too far to go now. 

After a couple of sharp high-speed wiggles, the course headed back to the staging area for another lap.

One S-turn to go, and we're back at the finish line.

This was a fun course. I'd heard tales of drops and picnic tables in the race course at Weber. This was pretty straight-up cyclocross in ideal weather. Next Saturday's race will again be at Weber, but the course will be changed.

UMB riders from the first race check their results.

View more photos (approx 90) from the race. team results!
Men C
 Dallin Hatch 3rd
 Daniel Truong 18th
Men 35-plus C
 Corey Spencer 32nd
 Joe Benson 33rd
Masters 55-plus
 Jeff Kingsford 4th
 Rick Morris 9th
 Bruce Argyle 12th
 John Twitchell 1st
Men 35-plus B
 Shane Horton DNF
Masters 45-plus
 Jason Sparks 5th
 Dave Benson 21st
Women A
 Meghan Sheridan DNF
Singlespeed Women
 Colleen Tvorik 3rd
Junior Women 11-14
 Rebecca Sparks 2nd
Junior Men 11-14
 Parker Horton 13th
Masters 35-plus A
 Jason Sparks 10th

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