Monday, December 6, 2010

Bay Area Super Prestige #5 Coyote Point

Photo by Terri Watters

Race: Bay Area Super Prestige #5 Coyote Point
Category: 35 As
Place: 28/35ish starters

Teammate: Steve Pelaez
Series Standings 17/78

By the time the last race of the season rolls around my motivation is shot.  While I had a good year I started racing in September, and did a total of nice races which is a lot for me, and I realized that after the night race at Sierra Point, I could feel my will to be in the mix was ebbing even though my fitness seemed to be improving.  I had planned on going to Nationals in Bend, but unable to find a co-driver that fit my schedule, i opted to skip the snow and mud and finish off at BASP #5.  Going into the race I definitely felt like it was a bit of a chore, as i wanted to solidify my top 20 in the series.  Racing is a privilege so it was time to wrap it up.

BB picked me up and was on his game today. He had money, helmet, shoes, and everything else he needed to race. When i got in the car he presented me with coffee and the day looked promising.  The ground was wet, and it had rained the day before but it was looking like it would be clear for our race.  I got in a warm up and took some video of BB and other races in action which I will post below. 

The "Long Course" or "Beach Course" at Coyote Point is known for the sand section that runs about 25 yards in deep sand. You can ride it if you have a clear shot but in traffic requires dismounting.  Otherwise the course is split into two sections... The Upper, which is a hill that goes up into a Eucalyptus forrest then down the hill with a little single track.  The Lower section starts with the sand and then is flat but long.  There are several 180's and barriers with a few odd turns that can throw you off your bike.  Its a long lap but fun, since it has a little bit of everything.

My race was pretty lame. The start was funny because Steve Paleaz pulled up next to me outside of the grid where i had a second row start.  He got yelled at, and then heckled, for trying to cheat the system when really he was only trying to chat.  I had a poor start but settled in somewhere in the top 15 and was moving up which was a good sign.  I could still see the leaders and other guys in top 10 at turn arounds, and I felt like i was making ground on them.  My first lap was poor with lots of mistakes.  I fell in the sand, I botch some corners but I was able to hang onto the lead group.  

I was about to overtake my friend James Badia when I realized my rear was going flat.  I started to feel it on the road after the sand and realized I was probably not going to be able to keep at speed with it.  The tire was almost completely shot by the end of the road and i had to ride the remainder of the lap on a flat.  It was really sketchy in the corners and i was getting passed by the odd guy.  I wasn't totally out of the picture since I could still see james about 10 seconds ahead of me when i pulled into the pit near the start finish.  

When i pulled into the neutral pit the mechanic was not prepared so the switch took over a minute as he fumbled for a wheel, and then with the quick release. I would not have made it to my spare bike any faster since i think i would have had to run a big chunk of the last section and I had almost wiped out on several non-technical corners.  Once i got my wheel, which felt like forever, I started off but most of the field had gone by.  I hammered, and was able to catch one guy but that was it.  

I finished off the race, and felt like i was riding pretty solid, but I was too far behind to either catch anyone or move up significantly.  I made a bunch of technical mistakes the last lap, specifically taking corners too fast on my highly inflated neutral wheel, that both cost me some time and blood.  The only good thing to come out of the race was two photos by Terri Watters that are some of the best I've seen not just of me but of a cross race in general.  My favorite, with the San Francisco Bay, is in the background.

Despite my poor luck for the day the series awarded double points which was enough to keep me in the top 20 for the series, surpassing my goal of being in the top 50% for the series.  I was extremely happy, about how the season unfolded and have to thanks my wife - Caitlin Pepperell, my friend - Matt Beebe, and my coach Dan Smith at SportVelo, for helping me put it together.  I think i will write a longer post on that this week.  I took a buch of video of friends I ride with and hang out with during the year and put it together in this video.  Enjoy!

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