Last year at Lemurian, both former Sheila Moon team rider John Blackwell and former Sheila Moon employee Barb Howe raved about a little race called the Big Sandy. These are two very different people, so when it came time to put together our Team Sheila Moon schedule, we highlighted this race.
So worth it.
It was kinda pretty,
and the riding was top-notch. There was a 15-mile short course and a 23-mile long course. The latter was advertised as 5300 feet of climbing, which turned out to be wildly overstated, but still brutal.
And we're not talking junk miles here. There was probably 200 meters of paved road, and maybe that much fire road. The rest was pure grade A singletrack.
We started out Saturday afternoon with a preride of the climby (and descendy!) stuff, which started and ended on a bridge over the Joaquin river.
This was the loop that started the long course: 2+ miles of technical ascent, followed by 5ish miles of fast, intermittently-technical descent back down to the river. The downhill was fun. Hard enough that you had to keep your mind on the job at hand, but not so hard that you wanted to stop to take a mental break.
In the race, the first loop was followed by the entire short course, which we did not preride, but which was 15 miles of rolling territory along the river. This second part was pitched as "easy", but was definitely a struggle on top of the first loop.
We had a good crowd of Moonies there.
Emily and me
My race went pretty well. I miscalculated my nutrition slightly, and had problems with drinking from my bottle, which had my electrolytes in it. So I fought off bonking and cramps to finish 6th of about 20 in my category.
Spot the CX racer in the MTB race...
Other people had better races,
Like Mark Wheeler,
Uri (and his sidekick Isaias)
This was a great event. My only regret is that I did not take the time to take pictures!
All photos by May Woo
2 weeks ago