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Ballard Criterium 3/4 35+ Recap

I’ve always been cautious about Ballard after watching several Cat 4 pileups one year as a spectator. Getting to race yesterday (no conflicting plans and the sun came out) was a bonus. I didn’t expect to have a chance at placing, so the race was incredibly fun because my expectations were low. For once, cornering felt completely safe – my bike took everything I through at it. Maybe because this was an older more experienced group? Anyway, it was adrenaline bliss.

Out of the gate, Erik O pulled everyone around at warp speed for the first two laps. Then Greg took a shot for a lap or two and had a pretty good gap. There was a blur of turn left turn left turn left with several close corners where I could’ve puckered up and kissed a pylon. Then one magical moment cruising along at 25mph – not even breathing hard.

Somehow I ended up on the front – I think it was one NON-prime lap between two prime laps – of course.

As I drifted to the back I saw Justin launch an attack as we crossed the start/finish line. From my vantage point it looked like it took a few more laps for a break of 4 to form. From what Justin said, they were all attacking separately and when they finally got together, not working together smoothly.

I let Z-Dog chase and pull me and the pack around for a lap. Small karmic repayment for me pulling him to Seward Park on Thursday. A few more laps of riding full gas just to suck wheel and not pull through – thereby impeding the chase.

As we ramped up for the final two laps, I clipped a pedal in turn 3. No big deal unless you were the guy behind me – sorry for the scare.

Coming down the final backstretch Erik and Greg were gunning for position. I thought about offering a lead out but had enough to worry about just maintaining position into corner 3 and by corner 4 it was over.

Looked like Greg had the best sprint  – 3rd in the pack sprint for 7th overall. Justin got 3rd for his hard work in the breakaway.

Looking forward to VP!

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Seattle Bike Racing

We’ve collected some resources to help you get started bike racing in Seattle (and Washington State).

Here is the WSBA (Washington State Bicycle Association) Calendar with a listing of pretty much all the races. It is generally accurate. It has all the USA Cycling races and most of the local races whether they are USAC and/or WSBA or not. Northwest in Motion also has a comprehensive race calendar including social events.

Cycle U puts on great road training classes. Here is their Seattle Beginner Race Program. You don’t need to complete the beginner race program to race on the road but it is highly encouraged.

There is a Thursday Night Series at the Seward Park Upper Loop in south Seattle that starts in early April and goes through August. This is not USAC so no upgrade points. It is considered a training series by most riders. It is welcoming to new riders. You won’t get pulled from the race if you get dropped and lapped.

BUDU puts on Races on most Tuesday Nights at Pacific Raceways in Auburn/Kent. This year there are several USAC sanctioned races. Cycle U puts on a clinic before the USAC races.

There is a great Mountain Bike Series on Wednesday Nights at N. SeaTac Park. In late summer it turns into a cyclocross series. This is also not USAC.

The Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome @ Marymoor Park in Redmond puts on a track racing series with some races in May but the main season is June-September. This is a USAC series AND it requires attending a “learn to race” class. I highly recommend the learn to race class for anyone who wants to race any kind of bike racing as the skills taught are universal. There are great rental bikes at the velodrome so there is no need to invest in a track bike unless you get hooked!

There are two fall/winter (mostly fall) cyclocross series near Seattle and one smaller series up toward Bellingham. None are USAC though there are some great USAC races too but it is more of an informal series. There are upgrades but no series championship.

Cross Revolution is not USAC. Great series with races all over the Puget Sound region.

MFG Cyclocross is also not USAC. Also a great series with races all over the Puget Sound region though a little more centered on Seattle.

The Cascade Cross Series is based around Bellingham, WA up north. It is a smaller series but just as much fun as the other two series.

Most of the local amateur teams have racers doing various combos of the above races though there are a couple smaller teams that just focus on CX or track.

Meet the team ride info. If you show up at the races as a non-affiliated rider you will meet people on most of the teams. Each team is a little bit different but each team is great in their own way.

Here is the link for the annual meet the team rides. The contact info should still be good for these teams.

Meet the Team Rides for Road Racing. (Not current, but contact info for teams is current)

Meet the Team Rides for Cyclocross and Mountain Bike (Not current, but contact info for teams is current)

If you decide you want to give racing a shot, we encourage you to join a team. There are team training rides, team only discounts from some bike shops, and most importantly great camaraderie and community.

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Meet The Team Ride – Saturday, Sept 17

Want to find out what racing is all about? Ride with the Taco Time NW cycling team this Saturday!

Meet at 9:15 at Leschi Park, 201 Lakeside Ave S, Seattle 98122, for a social, “no drop” ride around the south end of Lake Washington, returning across I-90 to Leschi. Ride should take about 2 hours. We may stop for 5-10 minutes along the way, but otherwise, be prepared for a continuous ride.

The rides happen rain, wind, or sunshine, but we plan on sunshine! Wear your helmet, and bring water, food, weather-appropriate clothing, and an extra tube in case of a flat.

Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/10385203