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If Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah of summer than what better way to spend it than racing in the redwoods on the Northern California coast! Brian and I (Amon) traveled north with first time racers Nicole and Amanda to participate in the Caspar Classic MTB race. The weather was perfect in the high 60’s or low 70’s and the sun was shining. We arrived a little early to get kitted up, registered and give the race day run down to Amanda and Nicole. The race was small as races go but the course was packed with lots of fun. I can see this race really taking off because of the variety of fun terrain and the great promoters! Brian and I signed up in the advanced category and Amanda and Nicole decided to skip the beginner class all together and go straight into the sport category. What guts! All racers lined up together on the starting line for a fast gradually ascending fire road start. With no warning, and a ready – go! start, we were off. After a mile or so of fire road to thin the field we turned onto a double track that was tunneled in by the brush growing around it. After a fun rutted out descent the six of us that were off the front started to spread out a bit as we climbed up a steep anaerobic climb to the top of the course. Brian was off the front and out of site at this point and stayed there the rest of the three lap race, despite a slight dispute with a small tree that reached out and grabbed a hold of the end of his handlebar, abruptly tossing him onto the forest floor. But he had such a gap that this didn’t even bring the rider behind him within site of him, so he motored on and flew through the rest of the race for a decisive win for the second year in a row! Meanwhile back in the field I was up against some strong racers that had come up from the Santa Rosa area. After the steep climb the course goes into some tight twisty singletrack that is challenging to negotiate while trying to go fast but while trying to recover from a seriously anaerobic effort it made it that much more challenging.
I was able to get a gap on the couple of riders that were on my wheel through the twisty singletrack that flowed through the forest. I battled with a very fast teenager on the second lap, then was able to put some time on him on the double track before the steep climb on the final lap.
What I didn’t know was that Gabe from Sebastabol was making up time on me in this section and was rapidly closing the gap. Fortunately he was on a twenty niner bike and was not as quick through the singletrack. I motored on, railing the singletrack, and finished a solid fourth place. What fun!! The girls did great as well with Nicole and Amanda riding very strongly and finishing 1st and 2nd respectively and having a great time too!! Best of all the awards were great with some of the coolest trophies I have ever seen at a race and almost all of us went home with one! I will just have to come back for mine next year!! Until next time, Ride On friends!!!