||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,
The temperature is a relatively balmy 45 degrees. Nice day for a bike
||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
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
||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
The third wave in the 10:30 race hits the first
||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
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
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
Dropping back down from the second
||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
Shane Horton carves a 150 degree turn after skirting
the edge of the branches.
||Meantime, back at the staging area, hot waffles are for
||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.