Saturday morning, I threw my bike-camping gear on my mountain bike and met a crew at MacArthur BART. After arriving on the San Francisco side of the bay, we crossed the Golden Gate bridge and rode north to Fairfax. During this leisurely 20 mile, I could not help but unleash to chase down roadies. I cheerfully forgot that I would be racing cyclocross at 1pm!
At around 11 am, we arrived at the Lion of Fairfax — a fundraising cyclocross race for White Hills Middle School. I signed up for Women’s category C, the lowest category, since I just wanted to see what the scene (and competition) was like. I had raced twice before in Portland, four seasons ago. My second race was at a very muddy Kruger’s Crossing, where I got 29th out of 33 in the Women’s Beginner’s class! In fact, I was second to last out of the women who actually finished. The brakes were so gunked up with mud and straw, I practically carried my bike across the finish line. I wasn’t racing bicycles, I was making cob.
Back in Fairfax, the burger-chips combo was $9 and I only had $5, so I scarfed a Clif Bar and rode a practice lap during a break in the Men’s A race. The course went around the school’s baseball field, then through the campus into a backyard, BMX area. Only in Fairfax do you get a BMX track in the playground.
When I got back from the practice loop, I got news that the race officials wouldn’t let me race in my pink halter top. Luckily, I was able to borrow a Team Mustache jersey from Caitlin, who rode up with us from SF. She’s a speedy racer and mountain biker and works as a food scientist for Clif.
The Team Mustache guys showed up during the women’s race and saw me fly around the course with great confusion. Who the heck is that? I was flying pretty fast, so afterward I got the race officials to switch my category to B. Good thing too — I got third place! Whoa!
Alright Team Mustache — this medal is for you, if you’ll claim me honorary member.
Becker raced in Men’s B while I played race-mom — passing water and picking the bottle back up as he flung it back. Only fair — he played race-dad during my run. The race was brutal. They kept the clock going for 9 laps — 65 minutes! They must have been wrongheadedly making up for the women’s race, which they cut off at 35 min, only 4 laps.
I thought there were twelve or so riders in front of Becker, but they must have been single speeders. I was floored when they called his name to win second place. He wasn’t present so I took his medal to pass on. When Team Mustache and I finally found him, he wouldn’t accept the medal. He ducked away, saying “I’m not going to wear a medal that’s not mine!”
I shrugged. “Fine Becker. Check the scores yourself!”
After the race and totally high off of our podium finishes, Becker and I decided that instead of camping in the dugout, we would ride up to his super-duper stealth camping spot up around Alpine Dam. What’s another 1100 ft of climbing? Our luck didn’t hold. When we got to Alpine Dam, there were two or three dozen troopers, all in headlamps doing search and rescue training. We threw off the trail and lit the alcohol stove to boil pasta, while they tromped by like a herd of buffalo. After two mugs of brown rice pasta, I was out like light.
Overall, I was quite pleased that the ultra-light camping kit transferred over to the mountain bike. I even had enough space to carry a cowbell, mug and spoon. Becker carried the stove and pot though, which made dinner possible. We’ll see if cooking equipment becomes part of the kit…