Friday, December 2, 2011

Pikes Peak Supercross and Castle Cross

When the course was put up online for Pikes Peak Velo’s Supercross I had my doubts regarding the “raceability” of the track. Local SRAMmie Jim Mathis actually put together a nearly identical loop that we had used for a few years as a lunchtime practice session course. It was super fun at a more leisurely pace but I was thinking at full race pace that it was going to be downright sketchy and bordering on dangerous. Blind corners into hidden roots and rocks, plenty of flat, fast corners on our famously slipperly ( and sharp )decomposed gravel. The venue was a new one for this race at the historic Rock Ledge Ranch property sitting within the Garden of the Gods park. While Supercross has never been a huge draw for the Front Range Northerners, this year hit especially hard since Sunday was a Colorado Cup Points Race in Castle Rock. Who would ever drive more than an hour each way on each day of the weekend ? that’s just crazy ! ( I’ll introduce you to a number of them from our burg and elsewhere outside of the Republic who do just that every weekend from Sept to Dec. ).
When I arrived, it seemed my concerns were being realized. Matt from Frites N Mayo had crashed and flatted ( still managed 3rd in the 35 opens ) Brian and Rich, again from Frites both went down with Brian breaking off his brake lever and Rich putting a deep enough hole in his knee to require stiches. Our own SRammie, Brian Butler in the 35+ 4’s went down on a loose corner also breaking a shifter on the hardpack and losing a bunch of skin.
Curiously our 45+ group of 9 set off behind the Elite Men. I felt super good during our race and stuck to the safe lines while still aggressively racing. Tom Haynes, another local seems to be on par with my pace of the day and he and shared a number of shift leads for the 3rd position. I’d pass on the run up and hold him off until we came through the ranch where he’d come by me again. On one very sweet pass, he managed to pinch a tire going over a curb and that was unfortunately the end of his race. I rolled through in 3rd spot. SRAMmies were representing big time on both sides of the tape, all day. Brian Butler finished in the top 3rd in his race, Jim Mathis finished 8th in our group, Hannah placed 3rd in Cat 4 women, Braden finished 2nd in Cat 3, Mike Van Zyl crushed everyone in the Cat 4 group and Nick finished a solid 5th with Colin not too far behind. Very very pleased to see this much stoke for cross in the office. Monday morning water cooler sessions have been pretty entertaining lately.

Sunday was Castle Cross, a nice 40 minute jaunt up I-25 to one of my favorite venues. John Haley mapped out a very cool course with the usual amount of punishing vert. A few new twists and turns and an excellent change up to the start with a loooooong gradual pavement dragstrip and a nice deep mud pit. Points were being awarded today and the field sizes reflected that. I had a third row starting position and had a great start. As we settled in I found myself amongst the usual suspects from the Springs. Both Tom Haynes and Daryl Beachy were in the next 2 spots in from of me. Both Tom and I were making progress towards catching Daryl but as good as I felt, I also felt Saturdays effort, especially on the climbs. Daryl was keenly aware that we were coming and held his position in front. I came around Tom on the last lap barely hanging on when suddenly he sat up and immediately lost a few places. More mechanical issues as his seat came loose. I finished up 23rd for the day and a bit bummed to be barely out of the points again. This was my last Colorado Race before State Champs in late Dec and was really hoping to maintain a call up position but I don’t see that as a possibility by now. Now a break in the schedule, as I’m spending some quality time on the lush tropical paradise of Taiwan and then a few days in China. Only 3 more races are planned as of now, very hard to believe that my season is winding up…..sniff…sniff, I think there’s something in my eye…

Credit to Annette from Mountain Moon Photography for the Castle Cross race ( apologies if you got muddy from this shot ) and Tim Bergsten from for the Ranch Shot

Thanks for reading


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