Bay Area racers woke up to rain on November 26th and that is a special treat for this part of California. The CX Nation Cup was a new race course in Sonoma and it was ripping fun. It had the standard long straight grass sections expected at these events but over half of the route was more technical and as the day went on, became a proper mess. Enclosed are some details from a day of racing the CX Nation Cup.AdvertisingChelsea changed her program mid-season this year, and is starting to see those results. It was a blast to see her dig in.The new Santa Cruz Stigmata team bikes are ripping. The carbon is built up to create a more forgiving ride, with this same ripping geo. File tread is a common tire pattern for our dry race season. Skinny mud tires with tons of clearance worked on this day. Always fun to race with the Vive La Tarte team here in the Bay.Red on the racers rightChelsea took 2nd for the Elite Women.Pit bikes would be nice for these conditions, as mud added weight and resistance quickly to all the racers.OakThe team is racing on our new X-Grid tape. Rubberized, so it is super grippy in all conditions.Dylan finding his own way of staying warm and dry. Time to get out of the van and race bikes.Bike Monkey supported the event and ran the timing for all the races. Thank you.Chas coming out of a wet rooted section that was ran more then ridden.This section was made up of a series of rollers both up and down before heading back into the trees.Crihs was in town for the holiday, so was nice seeing him in nature, where there are bugs and poison oak.Lots of this all day.This was the first time Chas raced CX with disc brakes and he was so hyped at the end of the race with no mechanicals and brakes that worked in the wet and mud. Three years ago it was death before…Sometimes the best line was on the grassy edge. The faster line often put you in the bushes.When one racer would bobble a technical section, it was a chain reaction slowing the next line of racers until the gap.Found object.Down + outOut + backChas is always so positive in races and his energy is contagious. Fully muddy tongue for an hour of racing.The oak leaves on top of the wet earth made for some very slippery sections.Glasses did not help on this day, but once racers eyes filled with mud, it took tears to continuously flush them.Kell smashes but found a flat with only a lap or two to go.As a photographer I love these course tape drawings in nature.Brue is 40 and putting in some of his best racing of his carier.Ryan fully coated.Cantis did not stop at all. You could tell the fixed gear riders by hearing the foot jam brakes coming into a corner on a descent.Not recommended.Thank for making this race happen. The proceeds go to help Junior development teams and their campaign to race at cx nats in Reno. Such an awesome reason to come out and race and support the kids.WinnerLoserMakeshift laundry rack.Dylan is new to racing geared bikes but is learning what all the cogs and levers do. This day may have been better suited for a single speed.That’s a wrap. Thank you CX Nation and Bike Monkey for making it happen and helping support the Junior program.
Jean and Nick organized a series of fixed CX races last season, and came back this year motivated to get friends together to race track bikes in the dirt. Golden Gate Park was the last stop for the season, and it did not disappoint. Sharing part of a DFL course, women and men lines up to race in some dry loose conditions. Enclosed are some details from Friday night.
DFL is a longstanding tradition in San Francisco. This group of friends have organized underground cyclocross races in the Bay for 23 years and have helped shape the community here, no question. As members grow and have families of their own, the turnout is a mix of new racers learning about these traditions, racing side-by-side with the founding members of the hush-hush race series. It is perfect.
The following moments capture the energy and spirit of the series, found by word-of-mouth, on a week night in an empty park, Hunters Point, SF CA.
Resistance Racing gathered up the crew and headed to the Port of Oakland for stop three of their Track-X series. Racers met on a warm Sunday afternoon, ate tacos, enjoyed a coffee or beer, registered, and lined up to race mostly brakeless track bikes in the sandy landfill that is the port. Enclosed are some photo details for the day. Massive cargo ships unload fidget spinners and whatever else as a backdrop for some bike racing.Tacos and coffee reg was so nice. Thank you!53 for the dirtUCI testing some road disc options for the 2018 road seasonQuick negotiation GO!stopGO!Jeff made a good showing having not been on a track bike in the dirt maybe ever.Chas so was hungry to get out front eary and hold it. He won, and is in the lead for the series.Kel is a beast. He chased Chas on this day, but there is always tomorrow. 2nd for the day.Drez was the only kid out there, and did the entire race. You inspire us!Wild lifeHand up recipient 40 minutes of brakeless ripping in the loose sand and dirt3Ferda BoysNick and Jean counted laps, and placed the podiumPodiumWet PodiumRolling cargo keg stands. Why notThanks for organizing, and look for Golden Gate Park next!
This edit was featured in our bonus video shorts included with the book, and 2015 video release. We met up with Rainier Schaefer as he was training for CX season on his single speed.
The Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships returned home to Portland, OR for 2016. Last weekend, racers with a sense of humor met at Sauvie Island farm to see what these diabolical organizers had in store for this year’s event. This is a bike race with variables you cannot predict. A traditional racer could easily get frustrated at many steps along the way, and that is the entire point. Fun is the focus and with the season winding down, this group gets it. We drove some San Franciscans up to get in on the action. Enclosed are some photographic details and notes from the 2016 SSCXWC PDX edition.
Portland is a natural fit for cross to thrive. An active, creative community who live in a wet, coldish climate during the traditional race calender. Oh, and they love food, beer, and good times. This all cooks up to create a super-host for this format of “racing”.
The Cross Crusader is an iconic heckler at the local CX series of the same name.This set up looked strange at first, until you realize just how sticky the mud is up here. Fat clearance, with little tires. Slicks would have even held less mud.
Cantis and fat tires did not play well out here.
Saturday was the qualifier, with up to three formats to make it to the main race. Fastest lap, holeshot shootout, and a proper dual slalom corse. With Saturday’s qualifiers settled, Sunday was the main event. The morning hosted more traditional geared races, and the afternoon ran a last chance, men’s and women’s events.
Portland still has that creative/weird magic. SF is losing it due to the cost of living. Oakland inherited a portion of that family, but Portland is a bird of a different color, and for that we love you.
This is a shot of a section of the course where mud-covered yoga balls get kicked at your face at full speed. Mud-covered wood ramps lead you out to a continuous mud slide, with vendors offering up free drinks and snacks the entire length of the race course.
The handups are done on an elevated level.
Chelsea running one of the grades.
OBRA trying to wrap their heads around how to officiate a shit show.
The farm location was a beautiful property to race bikes at. Corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and no shortage animal feces all mixed up.
Rain flooded a field, and the organizers knew how to make it work to their advantage.
One section routed through the pond where a jump ramp was installed, because. The muddy run-up guaranteed not many would have speed to correctly jump the shark.
Walton is from Portland, so it was nice to get to visit with him. He has been navigating some health concerns this season and is finding a path to healing. We love this guy, and cheer for him always.
Chelsea, Derek, and Rainier felt they had worn costumes all season, so it was only fitting to do the same at a costume race.
Heckling at the day’s race was preformed at the level you would expect from seasoned professionals.
Portland is excellent at mud
The weather has changed in the Bay Area, with years of low rainfall, so a chance to race in these conditions was exciting for the out-of-towners.
Nature would surface from the mud in hopes of escaping and rescuers would then help re-route.
Money handups could later be used to pay to take short cuts on course.
The men’s field being lead into the corn maze to leave bikes for a Le Mans-style start. Bikes were then rearranged and tampered with before the race gun.
A short foot race led to a bike search and start.
Chas, being versed in alleycat starts, found his bike quick and was on course early.
Eddy and a clown.
Sven Nys is a cyclocross legend and cult figure in the sport. He wanted to come and not FOMO another year of SSCXWC. Spectators loved it and he clearly took his share from the hecklers. He looked like a 250 2-stroke, spinning at a comedic cadence, and just RIPPING.
Two racers coming out of the dual slalom section.
Rainier running the beaver dam, consisting of half-round plastic tubes.
This punk martching band brought powerful energy to the race, hammering out a series of driving rhythms.
Sven rode every obstacle, including the pond. He was off the front early but eased up mid-race.
The vibe was a mix of this and bike racing.
No shortage of crashes for the day, making it exciting for spectators, and nearly unbearable for racers.
The yoga ball mosh pit was very raw.
Some people won, all won spiritually. Some lost, and most lost dignity, while making it up in smiles.
We brought a ton of mud home. I’m sure most of us did. Thanks again for the good times Portland. You always know how to share the stoke.
Bay Area racers headed to Vallejo California for the fifth and final installment of the Bay Area Super Prestige series. With rain on the radar, local racers looked forward to ending the season in a different weather pattern then the season started in, a dry hot, dustbowl. Derek and I jumped out of the van, and grabbed a few warm-up laps before the elite Men’s A’s got on corse. The following photo essay was shot on November 19th 2016, and celebrate the details from the day.
Menlo Velo bringing the mud and blood bright and early. Giro sent the team some custom Synthe helmets for the race season. This lean helmet has felt the best, of everything we have raced in over the years. Lean cut, not bulky. Minimal pads to wash, tons of airflow, while still feeling covered when the rain comes down.
This Belgian family knew how to interact with the racers.Eddy in a chicken wingStoker detailsLast race of the series means packing the race numbers and timing chips away till next season. Let’s make this one special.I like making these mask portraits. Some things never change, including changing.Eddy built up this Work frame prototype, and raced it for the first time. It has a makeshift nylon front brake, and the rear is mounted under the seat stays.
Murphy Mack must be ready for a break after promoting eight races this cyclocross season.
Peanut butter mud lined the course, a rare condition in the Bay Area.
In the Bay Area, there is always a stars and stripes jersey somewhere in the lineup.
Derek, Rainier, and Ryan fighting for the holeshot.
Ritchey Megabite tires digging into the dry duff on an off camber turn. Light and dry dirt under trees was sticking to wet mud on other parts of the course, essentially gluing the mud to the bikes.
Brandon at the top of the course, after a tough climb on his Mash SS.
Sean making himself comfortable.
Slippery grass made the tough climbs all the more difficult and decisive.
The uphill and muddy barriers were no match for Derek.
Eddy racing in his first Elite SS race, and learned what that extra 15 minutes felt like.
Derek chased the podium all day, never outside of eyesight.
Cubby making it look easy, while trying to bounce mud off the bike at each barrier.
Rainier not making it look easy.
Spokesman definitely making it look very difficult.
Stigmata frames with Enve/Chris King/Ritchey/Sella Italia can be built up to be under 17 lbs.
A light rain began to fall mid-way through the race, making the course all the more precipitous.
Ritchey Megabite tires digging into what little traction there was on this climb.
Rainier and Derek chasing Andy Jacques-Maynes and Murray Swanson down the finishing straight.
SSCX crusher, the Vallejo course is a good one for Kell McKenzie.
Selle Italia is supporting the team, and loving the new shapes.Brandon has given his all this season, and this smile shows me what the Bay Area CX season is truly made of. Ear to ear.
Photos: Mike Martin
Words: Rainier Schaefer
Set in the foothills of Mt. Tamalpais, The Lion of Fairfax was back at the local middle school campus. With the year’s first real rain, the stage was set for some mildly wet/muddy cyclocross racing. Chelsea, Derek, Dylan, Eddy, and Rainier came out to race with the Bay Area community. This photo series was shot on 10-15-2016, and include some notes/thoughts from the races.Gabe went to school here, so for years, we called this race the Lion of Gabe’s middle school.Frank is a force of radness behind the scenes. Thanks FrankI laughed when I saw this “epic” mud shot in my selected images. Really playing up that one time it rained for us in 2016.The school campus is really beautiful, set among dry grass hills and native trees at the edge of town where some of the most famous singletrack in the world begins. Team Vive La TarteChelsea <<<Quill-stemmed OM Flyer set up like a beach cruiser. Quickly, these races get strung out. Chelsea sat 3rd wheel for laps.Cool Marin Hippie mural doubling as a wind tunnel illustration.The hecklers staked out this ride up waiting to see who would slip up.It was a toe spikes day. Yay!Chelsea held on to 3rd for the day in the Elite Women’s field.The SuperPro vibe is about stoke foremost and a lack of formality is part of the format.Wind can also play a factor in cross.Rainer DerekMtbers heard the call.Brandon, Jimmy, and Dylan launched the hole shot.We are so stoked on how the team bikes and kits came together. Thank you to the sponsors, and Al for doodling it up!Dylan rode up these steps later in the race.This part of the course was under constant repairs as riders blew it here.Cone zoneDerek handling the back set of barriers.Basketball courts, Soccer fields, and a Baseball diamond all made up the race course on this day.Brandon moving up (with a rear flat) finishing 2nd in the SS A’s.Rainier broke a spoke in the first lap. With no pit wheels, he had a couple hours to study for the GRE.Dylan set up some Ritchey Tires tubeless and was able to finish in the SS As, winning the group.Several scratchable dogs on course.The hecklers brought their best psych-outs.The ruling on handups… YES!They don’t do that in Europe. Do they?The wind brought barrier tape into the path of the racers. Some finished sooner then they had hoped.
Photos: Mike Martin
Words: Brandon Reif