The weekend sure went by quickly

October 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

Although I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Monterey, it still seemed like the weekend was too short. There was lots of race action, and many of the SoCal locals were in the thick of things.

SoCal ‘Cross Prestige Series

Tiffany Meyers got 2nd in the B’s, not taking “No” for an answer, and moving ever closer to the top podium spot; also took top honors in the Cat 1/2/3 Urban Cyclocross race held on Sunday.

Dara Richman got 2nd in the C’s, despite not getting any beer or wine for her podium spot. An official complaint has been lodged with…someone…anyone…the dude with orange hair and the yellow lab, maybe? Also snagged 3rd in the Cat 3/4 Urban Cyclocross race on Sunday.

Emily Georgeson got 4th in the elite race, putting even more pressure (if such a thing is possible) on boyfriend Chris to deliver a smackdown in HIS ‘cross race.

Gareth Feldstein, Bako dude and all ’round hammer, got 6th in the men’s elite race.

Garnet Vertican, SPY-Giant rider, got 2nd in the 35+ A race, climbing up the leaderboard another notch.

David McNeal, another SPY-Giant stalwart, pulled down 4th, also in the 35+ A race, likely keeping himself at the top of the overall series.

John Hatchitt, SPY-Giant, represented with 6th in the 45+ A’s.

Jim Pappe, SPY-Giant, won top honors in the Urban Cyclocross race held in Palos Verdes Estates today.

Michael Norris also showed up and raced ‘cross, judging from the results. Whaaaaaat????? Good for you, Mike!

CBR Upgrade Crit

Chris Lotts put on another winter upgrade race for the wankers who couldn’t get the job done during the rest of the year, and local racer Marco Cubillos pulled out a hard-earned 3rd place in the 2/3 upgrade race, attacking with five laps to go and staying away for the rest of the race.

Wankmeister was all show, no go, getting 8th and not a single upgrade point, although rumor has it that Steven Lavery gave WM an illegal water handup midway through the race. I deny everything, and the absence of bottle cages on my bike is a mere coincidence.

The 40+ starters were immediately whittled down to less than twenty riders due to repeated attacks and the absence of a big, fat, safe, warm, nurturing peloton in which to suck wheel and wait for the sprunt. Numerous breaks went and were brought back, but the final one stuck. Great job, Marco.

On the ride home I ran into two British dudes stuck at the bottom of PV Drive going up from the reservoir. They’d changed a flat and flailed with three tubes, and were now trying to call a taxi. Anytime Wankmeister is your last hope for getting a good tire change, you know you are in trouble, but it was late in the afternoon and no one else was stopping, and they had “wanker” stamped all over them, so what the hell.

I got the dude’s tire changed, and it was an education for us both. For him on how to change a tire. For me, that there are people out there with 10k worth of bike and 3k worth of wheels who have no idea what to do when the tire goes flat. His buddy was equally worthless in the tire change department, as they’d pinched all three tubes.

The grateful dude offered to pay me, but I gave him The Lesson: “Don’t pay me, wanker. Pay it forward the next time you run across someone in difficulty.”

On your Marckx!

October 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Michael Marckx is one of the top 45+ cyclocross racers in the state. He also takes this shit way too seriously, which apparently is just the right amount. He gently encouraged me to give the sport a try, and I’ve almost forgiven him. Although we both started the same race this past weekend in Costa Mesa, he remained at the front, I at the back. What was it like up there? What really happened?

Rather than a narrative, I’ve bulleted it, as it was sort-of-but-not-really retold to me by him.

  • The season opener was held on dirt and grass in 90-degree weather. ‘Cross should be in some mud, grass, and should feature sand and a bridge, and it should be dreary, cold, rainy—typical fall weather in Belgium. So while waiting for Belgian weather to start up in SoCal, the race got underway.
  • Last year the 35+ and 45+ A races went off together. This let the leaders rail it, rather than making the old fucks start behind the young fucks and then spend the rest of the race trying get around them.
  • Last year, sending the categories off together ensured that the job of weeding through all the lapped flailers happened later in the race when it was all strung out and the leaders could navigate through the detritus of the field’s rear end one wanker at time.
  • When sent off at two-minute intervals, though, the faster old dudes had to filter through multiple clumps of flailers; dangerous on a narrow course like this one, and it artificially depressed the speed, letting slower riders who would otherwise be shelled rally back up towards the front.
  • The Costa Mesa half-grass/half-BMX track served as the season opener, replete with jumps, whoops, a dangerous downhill sand section, a clogged run-up, and single track that made passing impossible. This was hardly a real ‘cross course, and one that catered to racers with experience racing dirt bikes. It was a course for them to lose.
  • At the start, someone had already pushed the dysfunctional chaos button. “Chaos precedes great changes,” so the saying goes, but also precedes great clusterfucks. Behind schedule. Revised schedule. Not enough timing chips. There was a deep field of riders, both 35+ and 45+. In the 45’s there were multiple state champions including Lance Voyles, Jim Pappe, Mike McMahon, and Johnny Dalton, just to name a few.
  • Jeff Sanford, a guy with a strong moto background, lined up fit and ready to rumble. Victor Sheldon was also racing in 45+ A’s this year instead of sandbagging in the B’s. Victor had spent all summer racing his MTB and was in the best form of his bike racing career. With his moto background, he joined Sanford as the other favorite.
  • The series promoter changed things up on the starting line, opting to let the 35’s go in front of the 45’s. This became a huge factor, as the old dudes, on the whole, are faster than the 35’s, meaning the 45 leaders would eventually have to thread the needle through the anus of the 35’s on a course as wide at times as a string bean.
  • The 45’s finally took off, sprinted the first turn, settled into a line for the next two right turns and entered the dirt with Voyles, Sanford, MMX, and McMahon in the lead while Anderson, Hatchitt, Pappe, Sheldon, Stephenson and the rest chased.
  • The BMX section was a breeze for Sanford, so the power section of the grass was the only place MMX could do any damage. Unfortunately, his whole game plan was about to change.
  • On the second lap they hit the crazy downhill sand section and its chicanes at the bottom, which then led to the dismount and run-up. Sanford neatly scooted around an entire gaggle of flailing 35’s, with the leading 45’s now gapped by Sanford and at a standstill as the 35’s fumbled their way through the chicanes and run-up, blocking the course like a clogged artery.
  • Behind the wall of wankers, Sanford made good his escape. MMX then got taken out by a knucklehead (this happens a lot in ‘cross, apparently), and broke his right pedal. Now Voyles had passed him along with an entire group of 35/45 riders. MMX settled into the awkward motion of pedaling with his heel for the rest of the race, at a disadvantage throughout the numerous sections where the riders were airborne or close to it.
  • Anderson and Sheldon rejoined to make a SPY-GIANT threesome, along with Voyles. Sanford was gone with the wind, while the chasers ripped through the body parts and dangling participles of the wretched shellees.
  • Anderson put in a monstrous two-lap tow, with Voyles in the easy chair while SPY did his work for him. Who said there’s no hiding in ‘cross? Oh…MMX did.
  • Anderson sat up, and Sheldon attacked, leaving Voyles with the devil’s dilemma of towing the other two riders up to their teammate or watching second place ride up the road. On the dirt section, Sheldon was in his element, and he tightened the screws.
  • The chasers slowly pedaled away from the hapless finishers littering the course like bodies after an “Over the top!” trench charge in WW I. MMX capped off his race on the last 180-degree turn by sliding out and crashing, giving the hecklers plenty to laugh and heckle about in between swizzles and swozzles on their beer nozzles.
  • McMahon finished 30 seconds behind MMX, followed by SPY rider Hatchitt, and the rest of the field trickled in looking even sorrier than they’d placed. SPY rider Wankmeister held the distinction of being the only rider to actually be lapped by everyone at least once, including the nice old lady in the lawn chair drinking tequila shots.
  • Pappe had a mechanical and DNF’ed; otherwise he would certainly have had a strong race. SPY had three of the top five spots and four of the top seven. In the 35’s, SPY missed a 1-2 finish when Ryan Dahl rolled a tire.

That’s pretty much it. I know because I was there, even though I wasn’t really, you know, “there.” Tune in next week for Round 2.

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