Beverly Park CX: Sunday Bloody Sunday
The forecast called for monsoon rain all weekend, which translated to our first real muddy cyclocross race, or the first real cyclocross race as I came to learn.
Last Minute Wrenching
The muddy forecast meant that my new tires were going to get their first workout. Since I was going to swap tires I thought now would also be a good time for a little other bike maintenance.
My canti brakes hardly stopped on dry pavement plus the front chatter was frightening, so I installed some tektro rx5 mini-v brakes front and rear. They went on pretty easy, but my front wheel is out of true and I couldn’t get it dialed, so it took a while to get the brake adjusted. I never could get it wide enough, so I had a little spot that rubbed. Only complaint is that they don’t really engage until near the very end of the pull just like the discs on the Big Dummy. Otherwise, they stop great!
I’ve been meaning to rerout my cables to the top tube from the bottom of the downtube to keep mud out of the cables and to make it easier to carry. While I had the brake cables off I thought it would be a good time to tackle it. The K2 has two standard cable mounts and one hydraulic line mount. I used a full length of housing to fit in the hydraulic mount. The routing went well until I realized the front derailieur wouldnt work being pulled from the top. I raced over to Recycled Cycles where Spoony found me and old XT derailieur and a chain keeper. I came home and futzed with it for a while, but could never get it perfect. It’s just the wrong part for the job. I really need to stop last minute repair/upgrades.
I woke to the monsoon rain on Sunday and loaded up my junk and headed to Beverly Park. I was early enough to score great parking, but late enough to hit a giant line in the rain at the pre-registered table. After getting signed up I did a practice lap–the course was painfully slow; wet, soggy grass and mud. You couldn’t stop pedaling, otherwise you’d come to a stop. I was getting a little worried about having enough energy to make it four laps.
The course got worse as time went on. By time our race started at 9:15 there was no little virgin ground left and when our 130+ rider field finished the course was a disaster.
The race started on the Beverly Park field. We did a loop around the field on the grass and then it was on. One barrier got us onto the track, once across the track we had a giant, thorny and muddy hill climb. My shoes generally suck because my heel is always pulling out, but they sucked even more today in the mud. I was slipping and ended up halfway falling down, but my bike got wedged between the ground and my lip so I was able to keep moving, but didn’t know what happened to my lip. I could taste blood, my tooth was in one piece and it didn’t hurt so I figured it couldn’t be that bad and kept rolling. From there we had a couple of switchbacks then into the back field where it was super wet, soggy grass–the super slow part of the pre-ride. There was a set of barriers that you could come in as fast as you wanted and it didn’t matter because as soon as you unclipped you would nearly stop. After the barriers we slogged our way through a bunch of switchbacks and finally hit pavement for a brief moment–it was so nice to wind it up and then coast for a second. From there it was back on the course via a little slick, cambered, uphill turn that you could hit fast, but the risk of running into a tree was high–I avoided that fate. The grass was under some trees at that point, so it wasn’t too slow, but then we came into a set of switchbacks on a muddy hill which if you missed you ended up in a tent–typically the tent next to ours. Then headed to a mud bog 180 turn to a hill climb that led to another 180 that started the descent back to the track. A little fast track time, then it was back onto the grass along the outside of the track to the end of the track where all the standing water lived for a few more switchbacks. I was really impressed with my new tires being able to pedal through all the water and mud in this part of the course. Many people were just running it, but I was able to pedal as fast or faster than them. After burning all my energy in the mud we were dropped back on the track for a few seconds of recovery before going back on the soggy field for some switchbacks to the finish line. Then we only had to do it three more times…
Here’s a self portrait of me after the race. My lip doesn’t even look that bad.
And here are some awesome shots from DBC.
Post Race Show
After my ride I hung out at the Recycled Cycles tent and took a bunch of pictures, 1,100+ to be almost exact.
I also did an analysis of the average lap times for this race.