Racing bikes with friends

Check out that awesome kit and bike! Photo: PB Creative

A few weeks ago I had my first cyclocross race of the season, Udo Cross,  out at Lake Hodges in San Marcos.  It was renamed from Spyclocross to Udo Cross after the passing of a friend, Udo Heinz, who was struck and killed by a bus while out riding at Camp Pendleton recently.  Udo was a great ambassador of the cycling community and the cyclocross race every year at lake hodges was always one of the best thanks to all of his hard work.

It was great to see everyone from the cyclocross scene as well as all the friends and spectators that came out to heckle.  Especially all my friends at the bottom of the fast descent you guys were awesome!

The course was pretty similar to last year, which in my opinion, is on of the better courses on the Socal cross circuit.  The laps are a little longer and it has more straightaways rather than just a bunch of turns on the grass.  After some whining and complaining about water being added into the mud pits the race finally got started, only about 45 minutes late.

I wasn’t sure how it was gonna go as I’ve been logging a lot of miles, while everyone else is 6 or 8 races into the season.  About halfway through the first lap the Gritters brothers, Jason Siegle and myself had a small gap on the rest of the field.  The three of them definitely had more pop, and power than I did, but I was able to stay on wheels through the technical sections and turns.

It was pretty fun sitting in with everyone watching Brandon and Kyle gang up on Siegle, I could tell it was going to be a fun race.  No one really had any concern with me as I don’t have any points for the series so I was thinking I could maybe sneak a move in near the end of the race for at least a top three.  But that thought ended early when I went down on the fast corner/descent on the second lap, right in front of all of my friends.

I didn’t go down hard, just kinda slid out on some loose sand, but my chain fell off to the outside of the chainrings, and my shoe unbuckled.  By the time I got the chain on and my buckle re-clipped I was probably 45-60 seconds off the lead group of three.  At this point I was pretty much thinking about which part of the course I was gonna leave so I could go drink a beer with all my friends.  Then I thought of Udo and how much he had cheered for me the year before while racing and decided I had to stick it out.

Brent Prenzlow, who suffered from a flat in the first minute of the race, was closing in on me fast.  I thought it would be good if he caught me and that we might be able to work together to try and catch the lead group.  But after riding a lap or so together Brent was obviously way stronger and eventually dropped me in the sand.

I managed to hang in for a 5th place finish which all in all isn’t too bad for my first race of the season.  I had a blast riding around in circles on bikes with everyone out there, I forgot how fun CX is.  The Gritters’ ended up taking first and second again, while Siegle ended up third with Brent on his heels.

Apparently someone has a video of me biffing it and I will definitely post that up here if I get the clip in the future.

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