December 4, 2006
By Erin “Biscuit” Kassoy
Sunday’s final race in the Pilarcitos series was perfect racing conditions. Cool weather, sunny skies, light wind, and a whole lot of screaming spectators. I had only been to one other Pilarcitos race this year since the other three conflicted with USGP weekends, so at the callup, I had no standing. I was the unnamed “rest of the women’s field.” I felt a little lonely, being the sole person in the second row. Fortunately, once the whistle was blown, we were are the same – fighting for the front. The field included Rachel Lloyd, this year’s new face Shelly Olds, fast Stella Carey, crit standout Kristin Drumm, Lauren Costantini in her last Norcal event, Josie Beggs beautiful as ever even with plates in her cheekbone, our own Andi Mackie, Katrina Baumsteiger, and other local familiar faces. Missing were Sarah, who was there to cheer, and Anne Fitzy.
I had no idea what to expect from my body since yesterday’s race was the last day of a two week training block that included two-a-day workouts and a million hard efforts. My warmup sucked – I felt like I was riding through a creek upstream. But there is something about the race atmosphere that cut through the muck. I had a crappy start (seems to be a theme this year) and had to play catchup right away. I got stuck on a slow wheel though the twists and turns of the eucalyptus forest but eventually got around before the long beach run. After some more chasing, I hopped on a train of Lauren, Kristin, and Josie. Things were good until Lauren tried to pass me in a tight space and caught her front wheel in my rear skewer. Tangled up, we had to stop and regroup. By the time I got going again, I was behind and had to chase the three down again. Fortunately, my engine got going at that point and I rode past all three through the forest and got a gap that I held for the rest of the race. I was closing in on Stella during the last lap when a mechanical just past the pit kept me from shifting into the big ring. With a lot of pavement left, I did my best in my little ring but couldn’t make up any more time. I finished in fourth, which I was very happy with. Now I just have to rest up and let all the training soak in before nationals. And I have to visualize riding fast through ice and snow – any chance we could truck in some snow for the Surf City finals on Saturday?
By the way, my rock lobster frameset from last year is still for sale if anyone is looking for a holiday gift for yourself or someone you love.
December 4, 2006
By Stephanie “Scout” White
What an interesting weekend! Anna Milkowski and I raced the Cheshire Cyclocross race on Saturday and I did the MRC Cyclocross race on Sunday. Neither day was UCI, so this was a training weekend for me.
I did two races each day (the B men on Saturday and the C men on Sunday, along with the
women’s races both days). This was difficult, but great for training. Saturday’s course was essentially a mountain bike race with a long flat field stretch to the finish. Half of the course was in the woods (with tight descents and a killer run-up) while the other half was classic field riding
with some sand, a few barriers, and sharp corners.
Anna said she wasn’t feeling well at the start, but she must have felt better very quickly because she had a great race! She had the holeshot into the woods and rode to an awesome 2nd place finish. I had a good race, but that run-up nearly killed me. It was soooo long! I rode with Pauline Frascone and Chris Rothfuss for most of the race. Chris got away on the second to last lap and Pauline and I worked together, trying to bring her back. In the end we didn’t catch her and Pauline out sprinted me, but I still got a decent 6th.
Sunday’s race was the more exciting one for me. I did the C mens race in the morning, which was fun but freezing cold. I got 8th and got to preride the course a bunch before the A womens race. The course started out on flat field, but quickly transitioned into these awesome switchback banked corners. Then there were some barriers, followed by a wooded (but wide and smooth, if a bit muddy) section. The second half of the course was on a sloped field, with steep climbs, fast corners, and a rock ledge thing. There was another set of barriers (uphill) and some fast flat sections. The end of the lap was a giant log/fence that stretched across the field, including the pit.
My little sister, Libby, also did the elite race, which worked out well for me. Libby got the holeshot off the start (she can sprint insanely well!) and led me out until the first corner. She accidentally took the corner too wide. I passed her on the inside, but it worked out because she
inadvertently blocked for me to the outside. For the first half of the race I rode crazy hard, trying to get $100.
The (slightly drunk) race promoter offered a $100 prime to the first one across the line the first lap. I had a gap on the rest of the field and was opening it, all the while thinking about getting both the first lap prime and the win, when I got a flat over that stupid rock/ledge! Luckily I didn’t roll the tubular and my Easton Circuit wheels held up great so I could still ride it to the pit. Still, I was passed by half the field (I was in 8th) and thought my race was over.
Now, usually in this situation I would be so disappointed I wouldn’t race as hard as I should have. Today, though, I was feeling so good and was so pissed off that I rode really hard, picking people off as I went. After a lap my dad had my Kona bike all ready (after sprinting to the car to change out my wheel) for me and I’m thankful he did because I much prefer the crisp shifting of my SRAM components. I made up ground steadily, until I was competing for second with Arielle Filiberte and Melody Chase. I sat in this group for a while, but Perry (the leader) was about 15 seconds up the road and I thought I could go faster than my group was going.
With 1 1/2 laps so go I attacked on a climb to open a gap on the group I was with and just hammered. I was closing on Perry, but I wasn’t sure if it was enough. On the last third of a lap I caught Perry and passed her, taking the win after getting a flat. Going through the pit the last time was so fun because the pit/beer garden was full of people all cheering their heads off. This was a breakthrough race for me because I learned how to suffer and come back from adversity like I have never done before. And I got $100 for the win anyway.