The 2014 Knobby Time Series Finale

Aye, carumba! go to the flickr album, look closely at the photo preceding this one,
and you will see what led to this topsy-turvy shot

I have never visited South Hills Park in nearby Glendora, let along ridden along those dry grassy hillsides, and shallow oak-shaded draws. I look that way almost every time i pass by on the freeway, thinking each time that it looks so small, how could there be anything worth riding there? With that thought i decided to skip out on the state Master's Criterium Championships today, and instead make my way west to the golden hills of Glendora for the finale of the three race Knobby Time series. Each of the races this year have been held at South Hills Park, on a less than four mile loop, circled either four or five times depending on the category. The course is one that requires strength, a willingness to suffer, and some handling skills.

This race seems to be a little more low key than some of the others that the organizer puts on, including the Fat Tire Classic and the Turn and Burn, both held later in the summer. That is not necessarily a bad thing. The combined field was small enough for everyone to be on the course at the same time (one minute start gaps between categories), but did not seem to present any special problems during the racing. What was a little dicey, at least for the first lap, was a particularly nasty little S-turn near the bottom of the descent to the finish - a tight left, and then a tight right had brakes squealing, and rear tires sliding. Choose your lines well. With swaths of poison oak all about it was not a place you wanted to make a wrong choice, run off trail. Sometimes hands grabbed too much brake lever, other times tires grabbed too little dirt. After his tumble, the Path rider barely missed a beat, sprang back up, asked if i got the shot, and sped away, a little more dust covered, maybe a little more sore in the morning, but mostly unfazed.

The other side of these hills, the backside shall i call them, has its own challenge. For one, being south-facing there is more sun, which equates to higher temperatures. And then there is this, i don't know -what is the best way to describe it - how about agonizing? An agonizing climb will, i think, do. Steep, paved, and fully in the sun. I figured this might be a good place for some close-ups, the long hot climb, the faces of suffering. For the most part i got my wish, the racers cooperated, that is until the kid came along, the kid with the smile that said everything you would expect it to , "this, this is nothing." From that moment, i took notice as the kid passed by on the next two laps. If anyone was having fun out there, and by that i mean really having FUN, it was that kid. Each time he took the opportunity to take whatever little air time was available, no bump in the trail was too small to pop that front wheel, or the whole bike, off the ground. In the end, and after all, that is what it is all about. Out of the more than three hundred photos from the day, i selected seventy-one for the Flickr album, check them there.

the purity of sport: single speed, and no suspension

full speed across the open hillside

don't look too long, it will make you dizzy

a finishing shot to help your eyes refocus.

Comments

  1. Oh man I can't believe I missed every single race. My hope was to get my butt to the finale. Well next time.

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