Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 Starcossed

The venue for this installment of this year's event was moved Lake Sammamish State Park.  Starcrossed is a big time UCI event and riders from all over the world make the trek to compete.  Field sized are usually double or triple to what we have on typical weekend races and the fans come out in drones. We have a race at the park every year so I kind of knew what was in store.  Rain seems to always make a showing at this event.  Last year it was hot and sunny all day but by the time the pros entered the arena it started pouring.  This year it looked like it might hold off until after all the races were finished.

Jonathan Page, fresh off his race at Cross Vegas put on a little clinic the night before the race.  Since I live so close to the park I decided to ride down and check it out.  Not only did he give out some good pointers but I also got to take about five laps on the course which was super helpful.   It was quite a change from last years course at this venue.  It was a lot less technical and we had a fly-over setup just past the barriers.  The two frickin' beach sections were still in play....I hate running on sand.  The grass sections were hard pan and super fast.  It was going to be another "roadie" type course.

I decided to head down at 8:30 so I could get a good place to park the RV and setup our tent.  The first race wasn't until 11:45 but the lot was already buzzing.  Many teams and vendors were already setup.  This was going to be big.  I had plenty of time to setup and catch up with friends before warming up.

It was finally my turn to race.  We had 75 in our field and somehow I was lucky enough to get a 2nd row draw.  Last year I was in the 2nd to last row.  I looked around and realized there were tons of guys I didn't know.  I saw the normal crew of Washington riders but there were also a lot of guys from Portland and British Columbia in the mix.  There was even a guy from New Hampshire here.  This was going to be intense.

The single speed field took off and we were sent off only 30 seconds later. 
I did not take advantage of my 2nd row start.  I could not clip in.  I ended up concentrating too much on getting clipped in and by the time we entered the infield I had dropped to about 30th place. DOHHHH!!  I was a little mad at myself but didn't panic. 

I think they sent us off a little too soon because I was already moving through slower riders just after entering the infield.  Unbeknownst to me a few riders made it by some of the SS guys before we even got off the pavement and were able to get a gap while the rest of us had to work our way around them through tight turns.  We got to my favorite part of the course....NOT!!  I took up cycling because I HATE running.  Most of the cx courses do require a little running but long runs on the beach are not fun to me.  Anyway.....I came out of the woods and could only see Rocky C.(W.A.R) just riding through the first sand section.  I figured he was in first and I had made all the way up to third already.  OK...Race on.  I was able to ride the first sand section and tried to ride the second but got caught behind a SS guy that couldn't make it.  Time to dismount and run the beach for the first of many times.   Rocky flew through the sand and I lost a little ground.  I made up some time and by the time we reached the barriers for the first time I was right on his wheel. 

This section was crazy, not because of the barriers and that led right to a giant "Fy-Over" but because the beer garden was strategically center right between these two obstacles and this is where all the hooligans were hanging out.  I had a successful run through both of them, hearing only minimal heckling from the crow.  I was still right on Rocky's wheel but didn't feel the need to go around him.  We had a small gap on the field and I was going to rest and hope he made a mistake.  This went on for the next few laps.  I just made sure that I matched him every time he moved through slower riders.   At this point I thought I was in 2nd place based on what the crowd was yelling.  Things were looking good.  
Right after the paved section I heard my wife yelling to get going because Brian W.(HB) was 20 seconds up.  What??? I had no idea.  I started to pick up the pace in the wooded section.  I was going to stay on Rocky's wheel and then try make a move right after the 2nd section of sand. 

 I rode the first section again and was right on his wheel as we made it back to the infield.  I took deep breaths to help me recover.  I was going to run as fast as I could on the next section and needed all the help I could get.  Crap!! Brad (HSP) blew by me between the sand sections.  He had started near the back of pack so he was flying.  Now (I thought) I had dropped to third.  I didn't want to lose my podium spot so I stayed on Brad's wheel.  Just as we arrived we caught another SS rider.  Rocky and Brad made it down the ramp in front of him but I was going to catch him right at the ramp.  I tried to get around him but he went a little wide a the turn and we touched wheels.   This slowed me down so I decided I needed to dismount before reaching hte sand.  I was off the bike and running down the ramp.  My first step in the sand was awkward and I lost my footing.  
My front wheel augured into the sand and I lost control of my bike.  I never released my grip on it and as my momentum carried me forward ended up pulling an oblique muscle from reaching back so far.  It hurt but not enough to stop me.  I gathered myself and got my bike up in the position to start running. 

The whole thing only took a few seconds but it was enough time for Cal (Motofish), Mark(Team-Type1), Mike(Jack's), and Robert T. managed to get by me as I gathered myself and started to run.  No problem.  They were all lined up and I was able to get right on Cal's wheel.  I didn't want to make another mistake so I planned to just sit there until we hit the paved section and then I give it full gas and try to regain my place before we hit the woods again.  We rode by the pits and I heard my teammate Vern yelling at me that this was it and to get around these guys now.  WHAT??  I did not see the lap board and based on my Garmin I thought we had one more lap.  Now all of them were gunning it.  I came across the line thought I was still near the top five...NOT.  No one knew how they did and it turned out there were three other guys in front of Brian.  I ended up 11th.  I made a stupid bike handling mistake and a big mental mistake but that is how CX goes.  We had 75 guys in our field and I was totally happy with 11th.

Watching the Pros race was nothing less than incredible!!


  1. Great job again! And those are some great pictures you got of yourself.

  2. Makes it easy when my wife is the one taking the photos!