Eastern Bloc Cycling Club
Cross-some weekend! Silk City and Hartford Riverfront
Cross-some sums it up. Saturday was the Expo Wheelmen Silk City race at Manchester Community College. This race is only four years old but the registration numbers show that Expo knows what they are doing. Primo event organization with course master Jon Tarbox (also the architect of the weekly Rocky Hill races) disappointing no one. Much of the post race FB chatter consisted of big props to Jon for designing a "classic" cross course.
Great to see the Cote boys ripping it up. Keep your eye on Wyatt, he is developing some serious cross skills. Derek raced early and then was behind the tapes threatening to confiscate my new Jake if I didn't win but I'll get to that shortly.
This race is the first of the CT series of Cyclocross ( http://www.ctseriesofcx.com/ ) and was also the CT cyclocross championship race. The CT series is holding 40, 50, and 60+ masters races this year due to the masters demographic. What that means for me as a 50+ racer is that I start 1 minute behind the 40+ field and have to navigate through it as opposed to having a clear line at the front. Saturday I was second wheel in the hole shot and then took the first opportunity to grab the front. About half way into the first lap I caught the back of the 40+ field and I made every effort to put as many 40+ guys between me and the two riders chasing me (Mark Gunsalus and Bob Bisson) with "The Nyberg" and Jon Tarbox not far behind them. The strategy worked (helped by Derek's threat to confiscate my favorite bike if I blew it) and I took the win (and coincidentally the 50-55 CT state title). Paul took fourth overall and the silver medal.
Sunday the 2nd race in the series was at Hartford Riverfront Park. A slightly smaller field but no picnic. Tarbox, Gunsalus and I got an early gap and I made it to front right away. I bobbled a off camber section and Mark passed me. Jon dropped off and Mark and I battled it out for 3+ laps. He was determined to put 40+ riders between us and I was determined not to let that happen. Where Saturday was a technical course, Sunday was a power drive with long straight sections along the river to lay it down hard. I stayed on Mark's wheel until the start of the 4th lap when I saw an opening and took it passing four 40+ riders and taking the lead for the last two laps. From there I gave it everything I had left to gap him but he is one tough dude. I managed to hold him off until the last break from the woods into the hole shot/sprint and was able to make it to the line first.
For the past several weeks, my Facebook feed has been full of photos of guys in orange kit standing on wooden boxes with their arms in the air. I thought maybe it was some new kind of Facebook challenge, replacing that ice bucket thing.
> The CT series is holding 40, 50, and 60+ masters races this year due to the masters demographic.
I'm never going to be able to race masters at this rate! Nearly 50 riders in the 50+ field is awesome though, nice work Pat!
I had a similar experience Saturday (but dis-similar result) starting in the back row of the 3/4 race, and trying to work my way through the field/dust cloud. Despite the paved start, with >60 racers and a tight, technical course there were log jams for the first lap and a half or so. Of course that's half the fun of cross- you're almost always racing "mano a mano" against someone, or maybe a half dozen someones at the start.
Eventually reached equilibrium around lap three or four, at which point my body was protesting to both the effort (first time I've raced this year) and pounding it was taking on the rough course (apparently riding a cross bike on the road doesn't really prepare you for this). Held my position though, other than getting pipped at the line for 25th place by a guy who I had passed a few minutes earlier when he ate it in front of the crowd. Felt good to be racing again- you don't know just how hard you can push yourself until you're attacking/getting attacked out of every corner.
Definitely a well done race with a very impressive turnout, including over 30 junior riders and 40 women, which hopefully bodes well for the rest of the series and CX racing in CT in general.