The West Coast Points Prestige Series - Chasing USAC Cyclocross Points in Sacramento

The Points Prestige is a “quick” weekend of 5 races in 3 days with the goal of “building a base” of USAC points for the road to CX Nats. Having a good average of points provides a better chance of being towards the front of the Nationals race, a solid advantage for anyone targeting that weekend in December.

Gabe, Randall, and Sierra between races 4 and 5 on Sunday in Gibson Ranch Park, Sacramento.

Gabe, Randall, and Sierra between races 4 and 5 on Sunday in Gibson Ranch Park, Sacramento.

3 teammates went down to Sacramento in Mid-August and it was an amazing overlap of business, top-shelf promoter organization, fun racing, and heat. Heat, heat, heat. Similar to stage racing or weekends with 3-4 crits in them, there was a fair bit of planning involved in order to come away with maximum points.

Photo courtesy of  @terrible.angles

Photo courtesy of @terrible.angles

There were some key takeaways from this weekend of racing that might be of help to anyone considering going on the hunt next year or even those that have an extended weekend of racing coming up soon. Here they are!

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PACING

Understanding your limits this early in the season is hard, especially in 108 degree heat.

Is it better to have a consistent finish for a solid average or to pick a race in which you had a better start to dig deep? Only you will know your level of fitness and perhaps more importantly, your endurance to race all weekend. For Sierra and Gabe, both had result variations of maybe 2 places max. For Randall, he started slow and improved every single race; numbers got bigger and results got higher.

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The Ultimate Shakeout

2 weeks before even the earliest race, we’ve got 5 events under our belt.

This many races is a great way get your build dialed or the new wheel set a try, but also to get your mind right. If you’ve been road racing (or just building fitness over the summer), there’s a shift in gears your brain needs to help attack around those corners and get those start grid jitters under control. No matter how many skills & drills you’ve done and how many 30/30’s you’ve completed, there’s really no substitution for good ole racin’. The low pressure of this weekend also means trying new nutrition products, racing with new gloves, or even breaking in new shoes.

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Go Tubeless

Racing in a new state in late summer means unpredictable surface conditions.

We ran the Easton EC90 SL Tubeless Ready wheel set and could not stop singing it’s praises. This is a bomb proof carbon wheel and while we do race tubulars (especially in the mud-rich races of the PNW), it seemed sensible to rely on sealant and avoid a long run to the pit if we found a goat head in our more expensive tires. And let’s be honest, this is not a Belgium style course with perfectly smooth grass and few roots - a higher pressure and stronger casing helped with the confidence that we’d finish all 5 races without a trip to the pits.

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Service Course

Know your bike, bring your tools, have back-ups of everything.

It’s almost 1/3 a season of racing. Shit breaks and not everything is going to perform as expected. Being as self-sufficient as possible will ensure your weekend is not wasted. Just like stage racing away from home, you can’t count on immediate turnaround at the local bike shop or that they’ll have your specific derailleur hanger.

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Mass Starts

Men & Women’s fields start together…which can be good.

Most of the women in the 1/2/3 field mentioned that getting more experience in a huge group at the start was beneficial because of the smaller field sizes at local races.

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Buy Raffle Tickets!

It could be the difference between a 2nd row and a 10th row start.

The Points Prestige format relies on Pros to improve the quality of USAC points. This means the first row is reserved for the pros, the next 2-4 rows are for raffle tickets (4 for $20) and then the call-ups based on crossresults.com rankings. Thankfully, OBRA racers are also ranked on that site and we weren’t at the back of the pack.

Gabe was finishing around 6th each day with 4th and 5th row starts. Randall straight up bought his 2nd and 3rd row starts (but still finished behind Gabe because he’s slow).

Posted on August 22, 2019 .