Congratulations to Brian Astell on killing it in Napa!! The Marin Bikes/Lost Coast Brewery rider beat the heat and a brutal race course at Skyline Park in Napa, California to take his second consecutive Northern California State XC Champion title this past Sunday.
On a day with temperatures in the mid nineties, energy conservation played a crucial role for riders looking to prevail over rivals and conditions. The Skyline Park course, home to UCI Mountain Bike World Cup rounds in the late 90’s, didn’t make things easy on riders with a combination of singletrack strewn with rock gardens and root sections while gaining 1300 feet of elevation per lap.
Astell’s Race Report:
So the race started at 10am it was a 200 rider field and a world class course to race. We got to the race with enough time to reg and do a short, 10 min warm up. I didn’t want to get too warm as it was going to be a super hot day.
Photo: Napa Valley Register
The gun went off and I sat back in about 3rd or 4th for a bit to see what people were going to do. We started up the fire road climb and people started making moves. i didn’t want to get to excited and waste energy so I continued to sit in until it looked like there would be a decent. I jumped in the lead and waited to see if anyone would jump across. As I pushed the tempo I kept telling myself to stay smooth. It’s going to be a long race-don’t waist energy!
Like last year I chose to compete on my hardtail. The carbon Marin CXR treated me well; I was able to take on the steep climbs on the hardtail while not loosing time on the rough rocky decents. Lap one felt great and by the third lap I was glad I had loaded up on tons of water the days prior and had managed to time my fuel intake properly. I was able to stay away off the front for the rest of the race and bring it in for the over all win!
A big thanks to all the volunteers and everyone who made it possible to race at Skyline again. This is a killer race and if you’ve never raced or ridden there I fully suggest you check it out!