Monday, December 12, 2011

DAS Beer Cross. Should all races be like this?

The plan was obvious several weeks ago.  How could anyone refuse?  A race within 25 minutes of the house, low entry fees, no UCI license requirement and the prize for winning:  Beer.  How cool is that?

It was so very casual I casually grabbed the SS mail order bike from the ceiling hook in the garage and stuffed it in the car on top of the Chili-Con-Crosso. Seeing how CX races are too damn short I figured I'd do the mountain bike version at 9 then the "A" CX race at 11.

No maintenance or cleaning of any kind (aside from checking the tire pressure) took place.   The bike was caked with mud from a ride a few weeks back, the chain - a little on the dry side & the brakes rubbing / squealing a little.  Fuss free who-gives-a-damn racing.  Does it get any better?

I had considered changing the gearing, having done a couple of CX training races here within the past few months.  It's a little lumpy - but nowhere near hilly enough to be running  a 32X20.   On arrival a quick spin around the course confirms it:  "this'll be extra spinny". 

We all group behind the "C" CX group (1 minute gap ahead of us).  Right next to me  Ms. Liz.  I start having the dreadful sensation I'm about to get chicked.   She tries telling me I have unfair advantage as I'm riding a CX bike with mountain bike tires (I swear - it's a bona-fide MTB).. I explain that I'll blow the doors off the group until we hit about 10mph.  

The CX group leaves and we ease up to the line.  As hoped I get the hole-shot off the start.  Within a few seconds the cadence is ridiculously high.  I figure that's gonna be all the lead I get.  "Just keep spinning, just keep spinning... "

As we round the first LH turn I can see the group just behind figuring someone's gonna catch me for sure.   

We head up a slight grade to a volley-ball court sand-pit.  The sand is so firmed up from the freezing temps that's it's effortless.   From there a little more uphill - then a downhill around a big semi frozen mud puddle.  Pedaling is useless. There's just not enough gears. 

Finally a quick RH turn around a tree - then up the biggest rideable hill on location.  The gearing is low enough there is no need to stand until the very last part.  At least on this lap.

At the top a flattish downhill. I keep thinking one of the geared bikes is going to catch me. Then we're off into some single track.  I can make good time through here.  The el-cheapo mail order bike is at the bottom of  heap in terms of components and weight - but she handles remarkably well.   Additionally no thinking is required.  Just point and rail it.

Along the way I catch some of the CX guys from the back of the group.  Dang.  Maybe this isn't such a bad ratio.  On the flats I can tuck in behind and spin the bejeezm out of her while keeping up.  We soon approach the run up hill.  Having silly low gearing helps here - I'm able to slingshot past a couple CX riders and ride more than half-way up.  The dismount is ugly - but fast.  I know better than to wait too long to hop off - and it goes good.  So good a guy near the top moves out of the way before the most technical section.  It's a little off camber trail  that has a short split section.  Go right and find a root happy to trip you up, go to the left and you'll find a kinder gentler (but slower) line.  I'm on a mountain bike (promise) so the root side it is. 

From there into a little more singletrack then the dread wide open trail around the track.  Top speed might be 15.... Just keep spinning, just keep spinning.  If there is any section where you might be caught ill-geared, this is it.  I look back and see the nearest rider is closing in.  Around the bend up to the sandpit and I DRILL IT.  Then DRILL IT even more up the next climb =  instant widened gap.   Maybe I'm getting some beer after all!! 

Repeated laps get slicker as temps rise - making for one spectacular blown out corner right after passing a CX rider. 

After 3 more laps it's over.  I get me some beer.  Again, how cool is that?  I'm kind of glad I didn't bring the "real" race bike.  That'd have been like Charlies race or something. Call me a stunted douche.

After an hour of the "B" class racing it's time to have my ass handed to me in the "A" CX race.  Out comes the Con-Crosso.  Wow this thing is fast. Not fast enough to prevent an ass whoopin' though.. 

At the start some serious dudes take off with serious power.  Within about one lap they are nearly a half-lap ahead.  Geez'm!!  With subsequent laps I'm not exactly gaining, but not exactly losing much either.

During the race there was a spell of good racin' going on.  I was with two riders for quite awhile, then one tripped up on a sharp RH turn going into some wooded singletrack which allowed a pass and a juicy gap formed.  The fellow behind kept me honest though, closing things up in time getting within 10 seconds or so at one point. Thank you kind sir.  I've been getting lazy and fat the past month.

I finish solidly in no-mans land somewhere between the top and bottom of the 11 guys in our race.

This may have been the most fun I've had this year.  Certainly the most rewarding. 

The formula:

Low entry fee + interesting prizes + no UCI stuff = fun. Danielson Adventure Sports has tapped into something wonderful.

A quick thanks to the Powerbar folk - for showing up and donating some eats! In between races I had one of their Harvest energy bars (Chocolate) and a nice caffeine laden gel (perfect for a chilly day). Not so sure about those gummy chewy things though..


  1. i need to take up cross just so I'll have something to write about this time of year.

    nice work.

  2. If all courses were that fun Mrs. CB2 would divorce me.
    James and I were talking in the truck about how hard it is in a cross race to close a gap.

  3. Yup, definetly should have raced cross this year.

  4. Cross has been good for keeping the juices flowing, but for me won't ever have the appeal of a 2 hour+ MTB race. I love racing & I love riding - not so keen on the amount of time to get to an event VS the amount of time spent riding. An event like this one is perfect.