Race report, Spyclocross

I was a little hesitant to do this race, because I really didn’t feel like driving around LA again up to Chino.  But being this is the first race in a new series, Spyclocross, I figured it was worth checking out.  Driving into the park looking at the course, I thought ‘ohh great another flat socal cross course’.  But the course was designed well, and had good speed and flow, with a lot of faster cornering and some straightaways, and most importantly a nice long straight for the start.

You only got a call up if you pre-registered, which I tried doing Friday at 9:05 before online reg. closed, at 10.  But it turns out it closed at 10 MOUNTAIN time, so that wasn’t happening.  The race started on time, which is the second positive thing for a new series (the first being a decent course).  I was on the third row, along with all the other non-prereg racers, out of about 5 rows.  I was stoked at how many guys were there racing, this is one of the biggest fields Ive seen for a southern California cross race!

A pretty good hole opened up right in front of me after the whistle blew and I was able to make it into the top 5 by the first turn (thank you again for having a proper starting straightaway).  That turn was completely blown by the newer elite racer Ryan Dahl who had taken the whole shot, and allowed for some more position changes.  I ended up 2nd or 3rd in the group, along with all the other top local guys who were able to make it through the traffic.

The course was flat and fast, without many features for people to make mistakes on, so a large group of 8-10 rider were together for the first two laps.  I was content sitting in the top 5 while we burned some time, Chris Jackson set a good pace at the front, and I was hoping we would just start shedding ridders as I don’t like being in that large of a group.  There were some lead changes and jostling for position going on but everyone was riding solid.

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Phil takes the best photos

Near the end of the third lap I wanted to test the water a little, and maybe narrow down our group some, so I put in a little acceleration to see what would happen.  No one came with me and immediately I had a small gap.  Just as we were about to make the u-turn back onto the pavement the group had bridged, I got slightly disoriented and tried to make my turn 10 feet too early, into the tape! Ahhahaha, I quickly caught back onto 6th wheel and sat in for another lap, making sure to make a joke about it with Brandon on the next lap, letting him know that he shouldn’t turn yet, and he replied ‘Yeah, third tree’ haha.

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Photo by PB Creative

I had worked my way up to second wheel, behind Jackson on the 5th lap.  Still not liking the group, I passed him in the turn right before the stairs and hit it hard.  I was pretty sure I was faster up the stairs than most, and it was really bumpy at the top for the remount so easy for someone to make a mistake if they are flustered.  Sure enough shortly after, Chris informed me that we had a gap on the group.  Wanting to play a little of their own tactics back to the Gritters I would be happy to work with Chris to establish a good gap, so I just stayed on the gas as long as I could.

By the time we hit the long finish straight Chris had dropped back to the group and I had some time on the rest of the field.  Not wanting to see how it would play out if we were all a group I decided to go at it alone and kept the throttle down for the next lap.  I was hoping they wouldn’t get too organized for a chase, and not be too worried about me being off the front barely halfway through the race.

I still had a gap after the 6th lap but Brandon had gone and was trying to bridge.   I was recovering, as much as I could, from my effort and he got within 8 seconds or so.  I kinda thought that if he caught me we might go back to the group, since we would both be pretty exhausted from our efforts, and probably not want to work together.  I liked riding by myself and choosing my own lines so I accelerated again on the next lap, hoping to at least keep the small lead, or put more time into Brandon.

It worked and I was able to get back up to a 20 second lead, (thanks to Eric Johnson for the accurate time reads 😉 and was able to ride the last lap at tempo instead of all out.  I was super stoked as this was my first every CX win, and against a solid field (note: missing Gareth).  The awards were accurate and completed within a timely manner, another win for the new series.  Im really stoked that someone else is stepping it up as a race organizer for cross in socal, this was one of the best races yet, with a good vibe and great prizes, I will definitely be back and I hope this series grows over the years.

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Thanks to Victor Sheldon for snapping this pic!

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Race report, Long Blaahhch

After a long time on the east coast, I was pretty anxious to get home and race bikes with friends.  I flew back to California super early on Friday and on my way to work my truck broke down and I barely made it back home without having to call a tow truck.  I was tired and stressed about being behind in work and now having car problems, and was just stoked to be able to use the wife’s car to make it up to Long beach and race saturday.

I got to the venue a couple hours before the race and after driving around lost in the park for a while finally found the venue.  I posted up under a shady tent with my new teammate Danger and tried to stay out of the sun.  Since we don’t have our team kits yet Danger rocked one of mine just so we could look a little more official, the best thing about it is that it says “E. Reinecke” on the sides, haha.

We pre-rode the course a few times and complained about how bumpy it was and talked about how much we miss our third teammate, Gareth.  After putting my bike in the pit I setup an ice sock and got to warming up.  Since it was in the 90’s it didn’t really take much to get the blood flowing.

I was surprised at how many people were in our race, I didn’t have a call up and was on the third row out of 3.5 or so.  There was some sort of weird, whistle, false start thing, but being near the back I wasn’t going to wait around and see what that was all about.  The start straight was super short, and I burned a good bit of energy moving up and it took about half a lap to make my way into the top 5, which is where all the action was going to be.  There was some dude, that none of us knew, who was bunny hoping all the obstacles fast, and beautifully, and riding at the front of the race with Kyle Gritters.

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We caught the bunny hopper and Kyle on the second or so lap, and were a big group.  Having raced against the Gritters before I thought that Brandon might attack at this point, but he just sat in, it was really hot, and dry.  After another lap I got to the front and put in a good pull.  I didn’t know the bunny hopper, but I didnt like riding in a big group on such a fast course like this and wanted to break it up.  Both Gritters and Chris came with me and we had our own little group.  I bunnyhopped the log and got a little gap on the group but we call came back together pretty quickly, it was really hot, and dry.  I tried a few other smaller attacks just to see if I could cause someone to make a mistake, but everyone was on their game and strong.

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After another lap or so Chris went into the pit to get a feed, leaving Brandon on the front.  I knew what was coming.  As soon as we hit the longer straightaway before the stairs Brandon laid down some wattage and got a small gap on myself and his brother Kyle. (which is their plan) Chris caught back on to us shortly and I kept the gap fairly small, probably about 3-5 seconds.  We hit one of the straightaways on pavement and I asked Chris for some help, but he said he was toasted, it was really hot, and dry.  Very well then, Ill catch him myself, then I slipped out on some slick pavement turning back onto the grass.  Chris ran into me and dropped his chain, and Kyle, who was just slightly gapped off from us came around clean.

I didn’t loose too much time, and was right back with Kyle, but Chris had dropped his chain and was unable to chase back onto us.  I knew Kyle wasn’t going to do any work to catch his brother, who at this point had more like a 30-45 second gap.  So we took some turns leading each other around the course, and I was hoping for a sprint finish for a little redemption from our Lake Hodges race a couple years ago.

Kyle had other plans, and put in a small but successful attack with two to go, and that was all he needed.  The race stayed the same for the remaining laps, Brandon, Kyle, myself, then Chris, with Siegel rounding out the top 5.  I was glad to make it to the podium after the stress of traveling and car issues, and it was a good time racing with everyone.  Pretty stoked that we have some talent around here to make the races competitive.

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