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By Karen Kefauver – Sentinel correspondent
April 16, 2010
Link to Sentinel article

Santa Cruz CyclistsWhile many of us hunkered down last weekend to wait out the stormy weather, plenty of cyclists braved the rain.

Some were willing to battle the elements alongside fellow competitors at regional races, and others stuck to their usual cycling workouts. These folks were determined to stay in shape for a full slate of April and May bicycling events, including the 20th Annual Sea Otter Classic, which started Thursday and will run through Sunday in Monterey.

A sampling of Santa Cruz County cyclists revealed what locals have been up to during the patchy storms and what they are
training for.

“It was a total disaster out there,” said Jesse Smith, 30, of race conditions at the Napa Valley Dirt Classic, a 22-mile, cross country mountain bike race popular with local racers. He raced his single-speed bike in the sport class

“It never let up from torrential rains even for a moment during the whole race. There were puddles and mud bogs that were above the axles at times. It was truly an experience, and it was possibly the funnest race I’ve been in,” he said.

Smith’s training should come in handy for his next race, the dual slalom at the Sea Otter Classic.

Nils Tikkanen of Santa Cruz followed his second-place finish in the Central Coast Cyclo-cross circuit race Saturday in Monterey by riding four stormy hours through Big Basin on Sunday.

“It’s gorgeous up there on Highway 236,” said Tikkanen, 28, a member of Team Bicycle Trip. “I felt the need for a longish ride as a replacement for the race I was planning to do in Petaluma instead, but both of my ride options bailed because of the weather.”

This week, Tikkanen has two races at the Sea Otter and then he will compete in the Santa Cruz Classic Criterium, an annual road race staged at Beach Hill near the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz on Sunday that’s been happening since 1970.

On the trails, a group from Santa Cruz, including Livia Peras, Winona Hubbard and her husband, Alex Anderson, also ignored the bleak weather reports and drove to Monterey on Saturday to pre-ride the cross country mountain bike course at the Sea Otter. Peras was debating racing the event for her first time but hasn’t registered.

“I got to experience my first scary descents with lots of sand,” she said. “I received helpful information on how to tackle them so the rest of the many sandy, rut-ridden, steep areas on the course were not too bad. I had fun.”

And right here in Santa Cruz, on our fat tires, Dani Beckerman and I missed the 10 a.m. Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz departure Saturday from Wilder Ranch but we made our own ride in the light rain.

Regardless of the weather forecasts, mountain bikers and road bikers alike are now gearing up for big events unfolding.


Day By The Bay
WHEN: Saturday
WHERE: East Field, UC Santa Cruz
WHAT: A UCSC/Amgen road bike ride for all levels of riders starts at 9:30 a.m. and a mountain bike ride for intermediate and
advanced riders begins at 3 p.m.
On the web: Visit the “events” section of www.tourofcalifornia-santacruz.com.

Santa Cruz Classic Criterium
WHEN: Sunday
WHERE: Beach Hill, Santa Cruz
WHAT: Team Santa Cruz, part of the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club and Velo Promo team up to put on this high-speed road race, which started in 1970. The 0.9-mile loop finishes at Third and Main Streets.
ON THE WEB: www.santacruzcycling.org/teamsc/crit

Trek Dirt Series
WHEN: Saturday/Sunday
WHERE: Epicenter Cycling, Aptos
WHAT: If you see big groups of women on fat tires in Aptos, Wilder Ranch and Nisene Marks, they may be those who signed up
for a sold-out, two-day mountain bike camp that focuses on technical skills instruction. There are spaces in other weekend camps – both
women-only and co-ed – through Western Canada and the Western United States.
ON THE WEB: www.dirtseries.com

Karen Kefauver, www.karenkefauver.com, is a freelance sports and travel journalist. She blogs weekly about bicycling for the Sentinel at www.santacruzlive.com/blogs/outside.


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