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SCCCC Race Team

Team Santa Cruz is the racing branch of the Santa Cruz County Cycling Cub. The primary objective of Team Santa Cruz is to help SCCCC members achieve their racing goals.

Santa Cruz County Cycling Club

SCCCC members participate in a wide variety of bicycle pursuits. SCCCC promotes the Santa Cruz Classic Criterium, Peak Season Cyclocross race, Swanton Road Time Trial series and the Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge.

Jun 23, 2013

Race Report: Big Double - SoNoMas and Central Coast - David Crum

David Crum - Race Report:
Events: SoNoMas and CCCX XC #5
Date:  June 1-2, 2013

My plan for the first weekend in June was to compete in two singlespeed mountain bike races, one in Sonoma on Saturday and another in Monterey on Sunday. I left work in Watsonville at 6:00 Friday night, jumped into typical bay area weekend traffic with a tent, some food, and my single speed mountain bike in the car. Made the drive up to Lake Sonoma more quickly than I expected to and it was just dark when I rolled up to the park where the SoNoMas race would commence the following morning. Even at 9 pm, it was still 24C (think metric!) there which is much warmer than a fog dweller like me is accustomed to. Got my tent set up, ate a bit of food and took a quick walk around to see who else had shown up for the race. There were the Bike Monkey people who had been there since Thursday to set up the start finish area and mark the course and maybe 20 other racers. Not the huge turnout I was expecting. I tried to get some sleep but the wind picked up during the night and threatened to take the tent away. Luckily I’d remembered to anchor the tent down when setting it up. The wind persisted the entire night so I didn’t sleep as much as I’d hoped to.

In the morning, there were a few more racers camped near me who must have arrived in the wee hours. Since I don’t recall hearing them pull in and set up, I must have actually slept. As I got up and made some coffee and muesli, a steady stream of cars and trucks with bike racks started pulling into the lot. Maybe they’d have a big turnout after all.

The race was scheduled to start at 8:00 sharp and it was already starting to warm up by 7:00. I had just shorts and a jersey and didn’t feel too cold. Drinking some extra water and smearing a thick layer of sunscreen on seemed like the best pre-race prep. When we all queued up at the starting line, the race director announced that there were over 300 racers who had checked in – way more than I expected the night before – but only 21 signed up to race singlespeed. We were mocked.

The start was a “neutral” roll out following a pace car onto the highway for about 2 or 3 km (metric people!), then he pulled off and we hit the dirt. The long course – which was the only one available for anyone foolish enough to race a singlespeed here – started climbing immediately. And since the racers were all still in a big bunch, most everyone walked for bit until the trail widened to fire road.

SoNoMas races counterclockwise around Lake Sonoma on the rocky single track which follows each finger of the reservoir. Even though there are no single climbs which last more than 15 minutes, you are either climbing or descending, often on very steep, loose tracks which took nearly as much effort to descend safely as to climb. After nearly an hour of this, I arrived at the first water station. Usually I drink maybe one bottle per hour, but the heat was high enough that I needed to refill both bottles already. There were four more water stops and I repeated the process at each station. For the fast racers, they probably didn’t need nearly as much water, but my goal for the day was to finish with enough energy to drive home that afternoon and race again on Sunday.

Somewhere during hour three, I came upon a racer with his bike upside-down. Jerry was struggling to get a broken spoke out of the cassette on his bike. He’d been forced to either walk or pedal as if he was riding a fixie for the last 30 minutes and was ready to give up. I always carry too many tools, so I handed him some folding pliers and he had the offending spoke out in a minute. I appreciated the excuse to stop walking/pushing up the hills for a few minutes, so we were all happy. We rode together for the next hour and made it to the last water stop together. This one, and the one previous, were far enough from all roads that the volunteers had brought the water, ice (!) and beer out by boat on Friday. Jerry and I celebrated being nearly done with a lukewarm Dixie cup of Coors and a handful of ice dumped into our helmets by one of the volunteers. As we pulled away, one of the station workers told us the remaining trails “trended downhill”. This sounds appealing, but the trend did not seem downhill at all as the temperature was now hovering around 38C.

I finally crossed the finish line with a near DFL time of 4:49:27 – the winning singlespeed finished at 3:26:36 – one more SS finished at 5:40 and one DNF’d, so it could have been much worse. I proved to myself I’m not very fast in the heat, but was able to complete the race with my sense of humour still intact even though it was now 40C.

The drive back to Santa Cruz wasn’t too bad as I elected to drive down Hwy 1 in hopes the coast was a bit cooler than inland. By the time I got to Pacifica, I was back into the fog and more humane temperatures.
Sunday was race #5 in the CCCX XC series. I’ve been leading the points in Cat 2 SS and felt obligated to defend my lead. The race had been scheduled for 22 June, but they rescheduled with only a weeks’ notice to 2 June. Luckily, I happened to notice the announcement on their website, but even luckier for my points quest, only 2 other SS racers showed up at Ft Ord on the 2nd. My relief was short lived as they announced the course would be slightly longer than a typical CCCX race at 39 kms.

As usual, the Cat 2 SS group started with the juniors and 19-34 guys. I was able to draft some geared riders during the road start and turned onto the dirt ahead of the two other SS racers. I was able to hold position for about two laps until the effort of Saturday caught up with me and I watched the juniors and eventual SS winner ride away from me. At this point, I just rode tempo and finished the race – still in second place – with a time of 1:54:44. Enough to earn 47 more points for the series.

Photo: Keith Defiebre

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