If you race a bike, if you ever raced a bike, if you ever might want to race a bike, you need to go to Gloucester. The Edringer Grand Prix of Gloucester is one of the largest cx races in the country, and without verifying the claim, I'm pretty sure its the biggest CX race on the east coast for sure.
Here's the thing, size doesn't matter - this is the best race of the year, not because 1300 racers show up to throw down, but the fact that this many racers travel to the eastern end of Massachussts each year indicates how much fun the event really is.
First lets look at the race itself. The venue is Stage Fort Park, an beautiful venue right on the Atlantic Ocean. More than one section of the course places goes within such a close proximity to the water that an error in steering could produce a soggy rider. The course is classic cx, twisting and turning back on itself, making 90% of the race visible from a few vantage points. There' s a snaking up hill barrier section and a wild sand pit that borders on rideable, but is just hard enoungh that only a perfect ride through will be successful- the safe bet is to run, but riding it in front of the crowd is always tempting.
This year a great contintgent of riders from the NYCROSS.com world made the 3 hour car ride East for the big show. Here is a further illustration of how rad this race is - almost all of us had some sort of catatrosphy during our races, yet no one was discouraged and we'll all certinaly return in 2009.
Cheif among the disasters was Dave Beals's first lap crash in the masters 55+ race. Dave went down hard when another rider got tangled up with him as they approaced the barrier section. Unfortunatly Dave broke his collar bone. Medical attention appeared rapidly and Dave was taken to the hospital. Not to be detered, after being released from the hospital he returned to the park, with his arm in a sling, and spent the rest of the weekend cheering and heckling riders from all over the country. Dave - best wishes in your recovey, we'll all miss you at the training rides and races for the next couple months.
Other, far less pertinent disasters included flat tires, snapped derailleur cables, sketchy crashes, scary starts, and Ryan Treborn beating Tim Johnson twice in two days. Now, given the fact that really, nothing went the way of the nycross army this week, and I'm still stocked as hell on the race, you should all recognize how sick Gloucester is.
They'll be some more gloucster themed posting this week, but for now I'll say, mark your calender for 09, you have to be there.