This is NorCalNeva 'Cross

May 31, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Rarely are cyclocross conditions in Northern California/Northern Nevada true to the more traditional European bent of wet and muddy racing. Particularly during those seasons that see California's summer extend well into October, two words frequently describe course milieu...brown and dusty. Yet, regional 'crossers still strive to race the conditions that become loose, sandy, and more suitable to the broader tyres on mountain bikes. The soft terrain adds an extra dimension to the racing and does so equally to images of cyclocross-racing.

 

Katie 'Jay' Melena (Rock Lobster) Kicks Up Dust at Stafford Lake, NorCal CXKatie 'Jay' Melena (Rock Lobster) Kicks Up DustStafford Lake, NorCal CX

A trail of dust behind Katie 'Jay' Melena, above, adds a sense that the Rock Lobster cyclocross racer did indeed move, albeit shortly before capture of the photograph. Even though it is a still image, motion is implied by the dry conditions.

 

Mark Howland (Rock Lobster) in Full Descent through the Dust, CSU Monterey BayMark Howland (Rock Lobster) in Full Descent through the DustCSU Monterey Bay

One of the more sandier courses in the Monterey - Santa Cruz Bay Area is on the campus of CSU Monterey Bay. Light bursting between the trees and through the dust (above) reinforces the dry conditions for Mark Howland (Rock Lobster). An outcome of such conditions is the oft seen sheen of dust masking the faces of racers, as below with Chris Kelly (Evergreen Racing).

Chris Kelley (Evergreen Cycling) Wears the NorCal Dust, CSU Monterey BayChris Kelley (Evergreen Cycling) Wears the NorCal DustCSU Monterey Bay

 

Scott Orton (Breakaway Bikes) has to Tend with Wind-Blown Dust, BASP Candlestick PointScott Orton (Breakaway Bikes) has to Tend with Wind-Blown DustBASP Candlestick Point

More challenges for racers come from simultaneous sandy and windy conditions. Cut and now dry grass lift up in the wind to join the dust and the dirt (above). Eating everyone else's dust is a drawback for racers off the back (below). These dusty courses disappear, for the most part, after the first rains of the season.

Perhaps Racing is Better Off the Front than Off the Back, Place-to-Play Park, Santa Rosa Cup CXPerhaps Racing is Better Off the Front than Off the BackPlace-to-Play Park, Santa Rosa Cup CX

 

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