Sunday, November 1, 2009

Storm the Beach!

Another Sunday, another great ride. This time, however, the ride was a race. I tried racing cyclocross a few years ago while living in Wisconsin and absolutely enjoyed the pain and suffering endured during 45 min of my heart thumping away in the anaerobic zone.
Traditional cyclocross generally adds cold/wet/muddy/snowy conditions - something that's obviously not possible here at 33 degrees latitude. Instead, we get a beautiful day at the beach. Yep, temps in the upper 70s and a perfectly-clear blue sky.
But not just any beach, the race was held at Camp Pendleton's Red Beach, a USMC training ground that's usually not open to the public. The course ended up being a very fast and relatively flat 2.5 mile loop on mostly doubletrack dirt roads that encompassed many sections where drafting and other road racing tactics helped considerably.
certainly doesn't look like most CX courses

For some reason the organizers placed only one barrier on the entire course, seen just right of center in the photo above. However, the multiple sections of loose sand more than compensated for the man-made obstacles. Held during a very low tide, one stretch had us racing on the semi-hard packed sand.
And with us being so close to an unregulated beach (well, for the day at least), we brought Juno along to see if she'd enjoy the ocean.
Answer - a definitive yes. She pulled at the leash and dragged Allie down to the surf. Her belly covered in salt water and sand, we had one happy pup. Back to the race...
I entered the men's open category 3 & 4 which meant that I'd be racing for just over 45 minutes against a some collegiate racers - UCSD, USC, UCSB and University of Oregon were seen - along with other guys up to about 45 or so in age. And while I started towards the back of the pack to watch things sort out during the fast first lap, I still managed to pass enough riders throughout the race to end with a respectable top ten (I think - results not yet posted) finish, thanks in part to the grrrls cheering me on.

time: 47:20
distance: 12.11 miles (that's all??)
elevation gain: only 533'
avg speed: 15.4 MPH
top speed: 25.2 MPH
avg heart rate: 166 BPM (ouch)
max heart rate: 180 BPM (ouch)

Not only did I get a great, fun, fast race in, but I also came back with a sweet souvenir, a fantastic dirt tan... well as a nice pile of sand in each shoe:
who you callin' a sandbagger?

Another good day in the saddle AND with the grrrls. Especially after the post-race recovery beverage (an ice-cold Red Stripe beer).

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