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Sunday, November 18, 2012

••◊ Spy-clocross at Lake Hodges 2012

Last Sunday I photographed cyclocross racers since our club was promoting the "Spy-clocross" race at Lake Hodges.  The race's primary sponsorship comes from Spy+ sunglasses, so they tweaked the name a bit.  Cyclocross racing bikes are this strange hybrid that Mary Shelley best described; Road frames with mountain bike brakes and tires that fall half way in between.  I thought I was going to post photos that represent the dirty dozen (pun intended), however it ended up being more like the dirty dozen and a third.

The race day started out with the kids conquering the course, sometimes with mom or dad in tow.  The jerseys don't quite fit yet, but neither do the bikes a lot of the time.

Cyclocross races are very different beasts as compared with my experience in road races.  The two "course marshals" at the beach head proved that.  As one was puffing on a cigarette he explained how they recently made one of the other course's obstacles a field of crushed beer cans.  They also took it upon themselves to make the course more difficult by pouring buckets of water into the sand pit shown in the first, second, and sixth pictures below.  One of my friends explained that they often put the beer garden at the finish so the riders can ride right into the beer tent after the race.  I would be searching for the nearest hose to clean off my bike before I packed it away!  As you can see, the course was already hard enough with sand and dirt being kicked up, mud stuck to the bottom of cleats, and relentless hill climbs every lap.  Although there were a couple whiners in the men's 'A' category who didn't want to pre-ride the course for fear of their white skin suits getting dirty.  Can I get a "duh!" here?  

The main instigators of this race were Udo and Kurt.  I lined both of them up at the finish line for their mandatory sponsorship friendly picture.  Udo kept asking me, "did you get lots of pictures with the sponsors' logos?"  Yes Udo, I did. 

What's an outdoors race without wide open vistas?  Yes, there are cyclists in the first picture. You'll need to click on the picture to open it up for a wider view.  With the look of arid desert I figured I should prove that there's actually a lake about a quarter mile away.  The sandy beach where the racers are going through is normally covered in water during the rainy season, as proven by the mine field of dried up clam shells.  This park is normally a boat launch!  Lake Hodges is green about two weeks a year. 

...and finally as the day was drawn down into dusk.  The 'A' category race launch just before dusk, which made the race feel like it was chasing the sun.  These anaerobic events are often lonely races with mostly solo efforts.  The racers are not sure how far behind or how far ahead they are on the course, which makes for a race of nerves as much as strength.  You just have to keep going. 

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