Well, I had to make it out to the first cyclocross race of the season, didn't I? Los Angeles State Historic Park, a little patch tucked into a corner of downtown Los Angeles was the site of some fast, [cough] dusty action [cough] to kick off the beginning of the SoCal Prestige Series of Cyclocross for 2011.
Los Angeles State Historic Park, on the doorstep of Chinatown and the city center
racers weave around the course's tricky layout, with the North Broadway Bridge,
one of the city's landmark bridges, in the background
The Men 'A' race takes off in a cloud of dust, with eventual
victor Sid Taberlay (Kenda/H2o Overdrive) riding point
Los Angeles State Historic Park occupies the site of an old rail yard. Other than a few low hillocks it is pretty darn flat, but if you throw in the usual CX obstacles you end up with a challenging course - barriers, steps, tight turns, and long straight, fast sections. And dust. Those long straight sections meant that riders were picking up some serious speed, and they frequently carried a little too much of it into the tight turns, swinging too wide and through the tape course fencing. If you were already out of breath from chasing, the dust just made it that much more difficult to breath.
It was a neat little compact site. Hopefully you took a little extra time to check out the historic stuff and interpretive signage. The Zanja Madre for instance, the remnant cornfield at the far north end, or the trenches of the archaeological dig revealing the remains of brick walls or foundation of the early depot/hotel, predating the later (and current) Union Station.
Unfortunately I missed a lot of the early morning action, arriving for the Master's races, but if looks are indicative, it is going to be a fun and challenging season of cyclocross here in Southern California.
Slideshow for the Men Master's and 3/4, and singlespeed waves are here.
Slideshow for the Women's wave is here. (sorry if you tried this one earlier - for some reason it
didn't seem to be working correctly, so I relinked it)
Slideshow of the Elite Men's wave is here.