Tag Archives: Cyclocross

Grand Prix of Gloucester Oct 1, 2011 – Cat 4 Masters 35+ – Race Report

Submitted by Chris Darling

Hey all ‘cross fans,

The Cat 4 Masters 35+ race at the GP of Gloucester yesterday ended up a tad on the “wet” side, rather different than last years course. But this is cross season and is to be expected. The rain did let up for the race , but the corners ,and the really interesting run-ups , were greasy.

I missed last weeks Vermont race so this was my season opener and I made the usual careless preparation mistakes that one encounters at the beginning of any seasonal transition. I was so focused on making sure I made the correct equipment choices: tire pressure, MTB shoes, kit, rain jacket, etc, that I did not fill my water bottle for the trip down. I got there and realized that all I had to drink was my cup of coffee. Not the best way to start a race  being under-hydrated.  The warm up was great though with no rain, stayed dry, but for some reason was chilled (probably due to my hydration level).
I assume , based on my Crossworld results from last year,  I got a front line start. Real nice!

The start was also uneventful as well, barring the usual poor line choices by a few riders unsure of the “friction coefficient” of cross tires and wet pavement. Shortly we entered the start of the tape maze with a nicely constructed run-up stairs section. This was followed by some off-camber switch backs. Making this section required skilled riding or hike-a-bike technique. The only barrier sectioned followed, flat and fast section, just as I was hoping. I had been working on my cross mounts and dismounts this week.

A sand section and more tape followed. The last technical section were the run-ups on the north side of the course. The new run up appeared to be a bridge that had stairs on one side and a ramp on the other side. Really cool.

As I was making my way through these obstacles, I noticed that I was picking off the few riders that were in front of me. A rider from Alpine Clinic was exchanging lines with me for a few laps. We eventually put a 30 second gap on the field. I had led most of the race but a last lap slide-out on a grass corner ate up some of my time. I started feeling some tension in my right hip and the Alpine Clinic rider passed me , no worries, I felt good and I had been riding the last technical sections well. Unfortunately, he was able to get a 10 second gap and I heard the announcer shouting words of encouragement. It ended up being a sprint finish, and I had the disadvantage coming up the hill in second place and just couldn’t close the gap.

Second Place. My best result in cross yet. Really great race and I look forward to JamesTown and CascoBay next week!

Quadcross – Race Report – September 11, 2011

Submitted by Paul Weiss

3 PVC riders raced today Goerge Bennington, John Meerse and Me.   Got in a bit late so I wanted to get a lap in between races and got on the bike with only the street clothes and a helmet (No cleats on).   It was a cool course with a long woods section including a hairy 180 bumpy off camber turn.   I took this turn a bit fast and rolled my tire in it.   Ouch.   Well now I was to do 2 races without a spare bike.   Not good.   The Masters 45+ race was a fast start and I seemed to be up in the top 3rd.  Things were good until I hit that 180 degree turn again and this time it was Tom Stevens, who fell right in front of me and I had to choice to run over him or his bike.   I chose the bike and really missed most of it luckily.   This put me back a few places again.   There was a woods single barrier that I ran the first lap because it was bunched up.   The laps after that I could bunny hop the barrier but found my front chain ring was coming off and going between the double sided front guards (I run a single up front).   This was not good.   After the race Mark Wysoki (the race mechanic) told me I needed a new chainring and chain and to space the guards better.   Who knew.   The bad thing was, I lost the font ring chain about a dozen times, which does not make for fun riding.   Getting off my bike so many times really has a slowing effect on forward progress.   It was fun to have George Bennington in the race.   He was having a great day, and we ended up riding together for about 2 laps.   With 1 lap to go I rolled my back tire on a really difficult off camber section after the double field barriers.   Lost many places getting it back on.  Not the best race I have done….oh well.   I saw John Meerse after the race but did not see him during my race since the 35+ started ahead of me.

It was hard to even start to the Elite race knowing I had 1 good bike, and 1 with a rolled tire on the back that was delicately partially glued on.  So I started off the back of the elites with 5 McCormack brothers ahead of me.   Yes 2 National Champions and now the oldest sons of Frank are racing.   Really cool to see and fun to race with.   I did my best to race with the previously rolled tire and front part of the chain falling off.   It seemed like an eternity but I finished after getting lapped not sure how many times…..

It is good to have race days like this before the season gets into full tilt.   I will hopefully get some help from Cyclemania this week and repair my bike and work on the body all week.   Next weekend VT Verge Series 2 day race.   Looking forward to that one for sure.

Blunt Park Cyclocross Race, Springfield, MA – Race Report – August 21, 2011

Submitted by Paul Weiss.

This is a race report for Blunt Park cyclocross which was held last weekend in Springfield Massachusetts. I usually don’t race this early in the season but I have been training on the cyclocross bike 1 to 2 days a week this entire summer so I was anxious to get out and test the legs out.   Since it was such a long drive to Massachusetts I decided to race in 2 races. I signed up for the Masters 45+ race and also the Pro 1/2/3 race immediately after the Masters race. Call it insanity, but I wanted to get a workout. I figured it would be easier to really do a hard effort in the Masters race and then just use the 1/2/3 race for training.

My race was at 10 o’clock and I got to Blunt Park about 9 so I had to rush a little to get on the course. There was already a race in progress so I would only had 20 min. to pre-ride the course, which is the bare minimum. In general, you want to get 3 to 4 laps in before your race, and I got the bare minimum 3. I took note of some interesting course obstacles such as 4 separate log hurdles and a really long set of (6) barriers. Generally a flat course with a small pavement section and some pretty long single-track in the woods and some extensive tape mazes. It looked to be a pretty hard course.

You never know how you start out early in the season, so this was a test of how I felt.  My focused race was the 45 race. I got on the line and was prepared with an extra bike in the pit and water and food next to my bike for the short 10 min. I would have to recover between races. I got on the front line start position, but my start was not perfect I ended up about 3 riders back from the front, going into a very tight hole-shot. This course was a true “hole-shot.” We came off the pavement and went into 180° turn onto the dirt and there was very little room for the entire pack of about 35 riders to make it through that tight corner. I think I was back about 15 spots, this made the beginning difficult because we then funneled onto, and over a log that had a single narrow gap on it that you could ride.  Everyone was single filing it over that log. Then a long section of single-track in the woods with very few places to pass. It’s always very difficult being behind the rider going really fast on single-track, you get very little reaction time when riding up to and over objects, and there were many objects from roots to rocks to ruts, you name it.  I was very patient and emerged out of the woods having passed one or 2 riders. We came out to the “tape maze” which I was not in my best form on. You can lose a lot of time in a tape maze, they are great places to recover your breathing but if you’re not technically savvy you can lose a lot of spots. I held my own in the 1st lap but did not gain anything in that tape maze.  I then settled in for a long, long hot ride. After lap I seem to pick off one or 2 riders and moved up to the top 10 spots. In cyclocross you look for targets and attack them, chase and chase until you pass, I did this for several laps. I remember chasing down Eric Marrow and then chasing for several laps Mark Suprenant and then Doug Aspinwall. These are folks that I race with every weekend and it is fun to compete with them. Doug and I were together for 2 laps and were very closely matched. It was only the 2nd to last lap that I opened the gap on Doug after a log in the woods. I that gap to the finish but could not seem to reach the group of John Moser and Paul Nyberg. I felt strong in the finish but could not see how far I was from the leaders. As it turned out I was only 15 seconds from the leader and winner of the race Matthew Domnarski, who I raced with a lot, last year.

I felt very good about this finish, since 15 seconds is a very little time from the leaders and feel I’m going into the season in good form. I am looking forward to the early-season races including the upcoming Verge Series Race in Williston Vermont.

Just for giggles and to get some good training in I started the Pro 1/2/3 race. In between I barely had time to suck down a quart of water and a Gu.  This was critically important because you are really sweating. I started off the back of this field and just took my time keeping pace with the last few riders I wasn’t taking any risks or doing any strong efforts. The advantage of riding a 2nd race is that I knew the course down pat. I knew every corner in every log hop and where line your bike up, and this is really important in racing. I could relax in my racing because I could make up a few seconds in each corner because I knew the course so well. The Elite Races are 60 minutes, so I had to hold on and pace myself.   I was also really tired and it was really hot.   Cyclocross is a cool weather event, and you really throw out the heat, so this was killer.   After a few laps I had picked off a couple riders but had to ease off since I really began feeling the effort of the last race.   I reset my goal, to finishing this race, …….not in last place.   With 4 to go, I felt my body really hurting and the last 3 laps were like torture.   Due to my genetic advantage of lack of cranial nerves I made it to the final lap and was happy to finish.   I think I drank a half gallon of water after that race and was so tired I only took a few pictures of one race.   I normally start up my photography business after my race and go through to the end of the day.   This day, I called it early and relaxed for the 3.5 hour drive home.   Happy and excited to be ready for a new cyclocross season!