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Cyclocross Race 7, November 2
Rocky Mountain Raceway

With both rough terrain that screamed for a mountain bike and smooth high-speed pavement best done on a road bike, the cyclocross race at Rocky Mountain Raceway was a schizophrenic affair. The course started  at the west edge of the motorcycle dirt-jumping area, east of the main parking lot.

Mike Engberson and Shane Horton drop down the hill from the starting area toward the first straightaway.

Overview of the race loop. Who would have thought you could construct a gnarly CX course here?
What a mix -- high-speed pavement, dirt, and a few challenges. The loop is 2.2 miles in length.
The Masters 55-plus category did five laps. Eleven miles in 40-plus minutes.

The staging area for the race was in a broad alleyway west of the dirt jumps. The usual waffle emporium was there, plus items for auction to support Cross out Cancer.

Looking north. The auction items are under the green canopies on the left.

The race started southbound along the fence by the staging area. The dirt here was loose but held under the tires.

Bruce and Rick sprint away from the start line as the sun peeks over the mountains (and right into our eyes) as the 9:30 race begins with the Masters 55-plus.

Reaching the end of the dirt-jump area, the course bumped over a small dirt hill and turned west along the drag strip.

An ominous photo. Of four riders in my category I spoke with, three (plus me) had crashed during the race.

After a short paved run, the loop deviated onto dirt with ball-bearing gravel to hit two 180-degree turns. I had to lock up both tires to avoid flattening a rider who, although already ahead of me, was more timid coming into these tight turns. From these turns, it was back to pavement for a sprint down to the west end of the drag strip.

After turning 180 degrees across the drag strip, the loop followed a paved walkway below the spectator stand on the south side of the straightaway.

Jason Sparks leads a line of Masters 45-plus riders around the second turn.

Suddenly at mile 0.5, there was a 90-degree turn into a steep run-up on slippery grass.  I stepped off my bike, caught a pebble with my cleat and went skating. I came down hard onto my thigh, taking some skin. My brake pad jammed into the spokes. Only 1/4 of the first lap done, and now I'm 1/3 lap behind the rest of my race wave. And my right foot won't lock onto the pedal.

Some riders with superior gearing and monster thighs were actually able to ride up the hill. Wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.

Racers hoof it up the grass at the east end of the stands.

Remounting was a bit of a challenge because of the steep slippery side-slope. It took a couple of laps to figure out that you needed to run higher so you could remount while aiming slightly downhill.

Jason descends from the upper slope.

After a 180 on the grass, the course went into a parking/service zone, where a staircase waited to take riders up to the level of the racing oval.

After cleaning the stairs, the course went to the right, then left into the racetrack.

The racing oval was like a giant velodrome, having a tilted track. It was a fast 0.3 miles going 3/4 of a lap around the oval. For many riders, this was the fastest section. I hit 25 mph, and younger riders were passing me.

Mike exits the velodrome heading east. Ooooh, look at that nice Ridley cyclocross bike! Get yours at the store in Lehi.

More high-speed pavement was interrupted by a shortcut across slag gravel. Then the loop dumped onto loose dirt before turning to the log pile. This was a five foot high pile of 18-inch logs.

Jason hits the top of the logs.

Listening to riders mash their rims on the backside of the log pile, it wasn't a surprise to see a lot of riders struggling along on flat tires just downstream from the log pile.

Dave Benson descends the logs.

More than one rider had to switch tires, wheels, or bikes.

Colleen Tvorik, riding in Women's Singlespeed, gets help from the impromptu team Pit Crew, and is quickly back into the race.

After turning across the drag strip, riders headed back west on high-speed pavement. But not for long. The course turned and headed straight at the hill for a wall hit.

In Masters 35-plus B, Mike leads Shane up and around the wall hit.

After dodging ruts in a dry but formerly swampy area, the course popped up sharply and headed back for the dirt-jump zone.

Dallin Hatch hits the bottom of the pop-up.

On entering the arena, there were two broken bales of straw to dodge, and a bit of loose dirt to fishtail through. Then came hard-packed jumping ramps.

Jason hits the top of a jump. Another beautiful Ridley cyclocross bike!

A few riders launched their bikes just to show off their air skills. Most of us just rolled over to save energy.

Corey Spencer has a bit of air showing under his front wheel as he hits the lip of a jump in the Men 35-plus C group.

The bottom of the jumping zone lead to a barrier and a steep run-up. Remount and try to find get your cleats into the pedals as you drop down. Turn and head to the next little hill then turn again. Now a high-speed bermed turn reversed into a tricky off-camber turn in loose dirt. Fun stuff!

Dallin jumps the barrier, racing in Men B.

A sprint along the north end of the dirt-jump zone turned south along the fence. The finish line was... where? At the front end of a vehicle where the race official wrote down racer's numbers.

Cursed with his second flat tire, Dallin sprints toward the finish line.

It was a challenging but satisfying race in an interesting venue. Glad I did it. The wounds will heal, in time.

A piece of Dallin's cheering section. John Twitchell (Clydesdale) and Rick Morris (Masters 55-plus) stick around after their race to root for their team mates. John bought a beautiful Ridley, and is crushing the Clydesdale category this year.

Tallying the damages: hip bruise-raspberry, ankle scrape, brake bent into spokes, and pedal fallen apart. But this happy rider got all five laps. 20 percent of the Masters 55-plus didn't finish. And our own Joe Benson had a nasty bell-ringer crash that broke his helmet and took him out of the Men 35-plus C race.

Ah, but it was a great day of sunny racing.

Thanks to Sally Reynders for the photos of the first and third waves on this page. See the link below for more great pics.

More photos (approx 70) from the second race        Sally's photos, 223 photos from 3 waves team results!

Men C
  Daniel Truong 15th
Men 35-plus C
  Michael Manning 12th
  Spencer Corey 23rd
  Adam Reynders 25th
  Joe Benson DNF
Masters 55-plus
  Jeff Kingsford 3rd
  Rick Morris 9th
  Bruce Argyle 10th
  John Twitchell 3rd
Masters 35-plus B
  Michael Engberson 11th
  Shane Horton 14th
  Jack Gage 22nd

Masters 45-plus
  Jason Sparks 6th
  Dave Benson 10th
Men B
  Dallin Hatch 14th
Women C
  Blaire Butler 10th
Singlespeed Women
  Colleen Tvorik 3rd
Junior Women 11-14
  Rebecca Sparks 7th
  Rachel Sparks 8th

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