One of the truly amazing things about living and training in NorCal (aside from the gorgeous weather, the amazing roads and the great coffee) is the sheer amount of racing available to us. That, and the high overall level of talent here makes this one of the most competitive districts in the country.
The season literally starts on Jan. 1st with the San Bruno Hill Climb and goes all the way to the end of September and the Henleyville Road Race. In the recent past, the season has even ventured into October but appears to have backed off from that. This still leaves NorCal riders with 9 months of solid racing opportunities; with some weekends feauturing 4 separate events – Now, that’s a lot of racing!
With such a long race season, it is inevitable that mental and physical fatigue will set in and some point. Even for the most successful rider, there comes a point where the demands of training, racing, training…repeat…will begin to take its toll, dedication (one of the three D’s)becomes challenging, necessitating a break in order to rest, recover and recharge for the next round of racing.
A good coach should always be able to recognize the onset of fatigue, and I try and build recovery into the training plans I create for my athletes. Even more than that, I make sure that they are maintaining recovery by eating, sleeping and resting on a daily basis (following these simple post ride/race recovery tips).
Here it is, already April. The 2015 season is almost 4 months old. We’ve already had some great racing thus far: The Snelling Road Race, Chico Stage Race, Bariani, and the Masters Districts Championships at the Turlock Road Race last season (and that’s not even counting the crits).
And there is still so much great racing to come. In the following, I will highlight a few of particular interest.
April begins with the Copperopolis Road Race (Saturday, April 4.) Copperopolis is true NorCal classic. An afternoon of leg-breaking power climbs along the pot-hole dotted roads of the Sierra Foothills may not be everyone’s idea of a good time; but it is a race that every rider should experience once.
Mid-month sees the always-popular Sea Otter (April 16-19) take center stage in Monterey. It is both industry expo and racing event, with options for both the roadie and dirt – aficionado. Closing out the month, is the always-challenging Wente Road Race in Livermore.
May starts with bang, with the Mike’s Bikes Cat’s Hill Classic on May 2 in Los Alto and the Golden State Race Series in Sacramento. From there, we have the Berkeley Hills Road Race, the Modesto Crit and Road Race and the always-epic, Mount Hamilton Road Race.
For the crit rider, May also features the Memorial Day Crit in Morgan Hill and the ICC Dash For Cash in Livermore.
Although relatively light in regards to the number of races on the calendar, June more than makes up for it in the quality of events: Pescadero (The NCNCA Elite District Road Race), Nevada City Classic, the Burlingame Crit, and what remains of the Tour de Nez (now a single day of criterium racing) all feature.
By July, crit season is in full session. Many of the riders who were riding well early will have most likely taken time off to recover before one last push till the end of the season.
The month begins with the scorching hot, Davis 4th of July Criterium and Leesville Road race and follows up with perennial favorite, The San Rafael Twilight, mid-month.
Also worth noting: The Red Kite Criterium Series (Livermore and elsewhere) and the Central Coast Road Series (Monterey). These two season-long series, offer a great opportunity to race multiple times in one day. More than just training though- these events are the real deal, with many riders targeting a high placing in the series long omnium.
For many, August is all about the California Cup, an end of season race series that concludes with the Giro di San Francisco in Sept. Described as, “a combination of classic events that represent the special racing of the NCNCA,” to win it is the jewel in the crown of many a bike racer. Events such Patterson Pass Road Race, Dunnigan Hills, Winters Road Race, Suisun Harbor Criterium, these are just of a few of the races that make up the ‘Cal Cup’ Series.
Also worth mentioning are the Vacaville Grand Prix and the University Road Race.
The NCNCA road calendar finally winds down in September, but with races such as the Challenge Challenge Road Race, the afore-mentioned Giro di San Francisco, and the Oakland Grand Prix, there is lots on offer.
Perhaps most importantly for the crit rider, September is also Championship month, with the Red Kite Series playing host to the district championships the weekend of the 5th-6.
The NCNCA race season concludes on September 26th, with the Henleyville Road Race.
2015 Bikereg.com Premier Series
For the upper-category rider there is the season long competition known as the Premier Series. Although similar to the Cal Cup in certain regards, this is series for the Elite rider. As the name implies, the Premier Series is the designed to feature the best and brightest in the NCNCA.
Read more about it here.
As I stated at the beginning of this piece, it is a long season filled with ample opportunities to compete in some of the best fields in the country. But the potential is also there to over-race and succumb to burnout. Race hard, but mindful of your recovery. And most importantly, have fun out there.