Over labor day weekend I made a trip up to the Mendocino coast to visit with Nicole and Brian and to soak in the fog. Nic and I went on a nice little ride together on Saturday in her neck of the woods and before I knew it, I had been talked into doing the Caspar Classic race in Fort Bragg the next day. We headed to Fort Bragg from Brian’s house early in the morning and I was super sad that the coffee shops weren’t open yet in Gualala or Pt Arena, but I made it to the site of the race with time to spare. Everyone who was helping to put on the race was super friendly and registering was a breeze. They even had free coffee and doughnuts at the reg table- yes! As I was changing I saw Amon walk by and excitedly said hello to him. On my short warm up before the race start I got a teaser of what the course was like- twisty, tacky, and super fun! The race in the coastal redwoods and the first section of the course was a fast, big ring gradual climb. I headed back to the start area and gathered with about 50 riders for the start. Nicole and I were racing the long course as well as Gabe’s girlfriend Krista, but we couldn’t find her at the start. In the mix for the long course was Amon and Brian too, though Brian would be pacing Nicole during the race.
The start was hard and fast as everyone was trying to get to the front for the singletrack. I held a decent pace and tried to go hard but not blow myself up. From the start I could Brian encouraging Nic behind me and I made it my goal to try to stay ahead of them if I could. After the big-ring section at the start, the trail opens up to a steep fire-road climb and I could feel my legs burning. I got passed by a couple riders and crept past a couple myself. After that the course weaves through some narrow woods, climbs again, then shoots down a fast, sometimes steep descent complete with berms and a log drop! The trails out here are amazing! I kept it steady through the technical sections and then grinded up the dirt road climb to the start/ finish. At one point on the climb I looked back and saw Nic and B, so I knew I had to keep working. I shot some Gus and my second lap went by much like the first. I ended the race just a little ahead of Nic and finished with an exhausted smile. I was super impressed by the course and it was fun to race against Nicole. She has gotten so strong and fit this year, that girl has talent!
After the race we were treated to an awesome potluck with pasta salads and hot dogs. These Mendo people know how to do it right! They finished off an awesome day with beautiful homemade trophies. They were amazing works of art and mine is proudly occupying a shelf in my living-room. After the awards, we were entertained with a Huffy-toss. We took turns throwing an old pink steel huffy bike as far as we could toss it. My toss was pretty pitiful, but it was super fun to see how far other people launched it. Huge thanks to the race promoters for a great race, I hope to be back next year.