This past weekend concluded the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross series at Goddard Park, RI. We had a good crew from the area including Steve, Jim (and his buddy Dan), Q, the Whites, the Toths, Nathanial, and me that headed east for the weekend. Steve, Jim, Dan, Q, and I arrived Friday evening at the Marriot Suites. The Whites were stationed there as well, across the hall. Friday was primarily trashgoat flag and drumstick prep and getting things set for an early Saturday start.
Saturday was a cold but sunny day. Highs were in the mid 30’s. We had a full slate of racing. Steve was first at 9:30 in the Masters 3/4, Q at 10:30 in Masters 1/2/3, Curtis at 11:30, and Jim and I in the Cat 2/3. We started with some yummy waffles at the hotel and headed over to the park. We got or numbers from registration, a cup of coffee, and took note of the course condition. The air was dry and the ground was frosted, mud would not be a factor.
The course was similar to day 2 last year. Racers started on pavement, a few wide turns to get things set in the parking lot then onto the beach and up a sandy hill. Following the run up, racers were into the woods, up another steep pitch on the bike, onto the road toward a grassy upper section, then back into the woods. There were plenty of roots but all were marked with orange paint and smoothed over by anyone riding tubulars. There was another short sand section on the beach, one set of double barriers near the registration pavilion, and a paved downhill finish. The NBX people definitely construct one of the best courses in the series.
I went wildcard as usual with the monkey during Steve’s and Q’s races. Jim kept telling me to relax but I can’t help myself. Although I did try and make the bucket drum last longer than one day (the newly padded drumstick helped).
The Cat2/3 race was wicked fast and every spot was contended. Who says nobody races for 50th? The lasting impression was that I was on the gas for the entire race, no time to hide. After the race I got talking to a guy from Spooky bikes since I want the supertouch. I told him that we made a flag with a goat head and a trash can on it and he laughed and then gave me a strange look. I took that as a good sign. Have you ever looked closely at the Spooky jersey?
We went ballistic during elite men’s race since we were all jazzed from racing plus half full of dollar Narragansetts. Anyway, we made an impression. Q took the flag and he and I were all over the place shouting at Al, Nathanial, Justin, Matt White, and Mukunda (all NYcross vets). I didn’t break the bucket but I tried. Especially when running up the sand hill alongside Al, he asked me, “is that the best you can do?” Why is Al talking to monkeys?
Saturday evening we had some dinner at a tavern. The Whites watched movies and ordered room service. The weather channel called for snow overnight and more snow/freezing rain and wind all day Sunday. Whoa.
Sunday 7 am. Open the curtains, everything is white and snow is falling. Temps around freezing.
Same schedule as Saturday but Q raced the killer Bs. The course was modified a bit and included more sand, more turns (snowy of course), an uphill double barrier, and a sketchy but fun descent. We set up the tent, CBRC banner, and basically tried to help Curtis in any way we could since he was racing for the series title. Curtis won by taking advantage of a bobble to take the lead and then never giving it back. Way to go Curtis!
Steve raced first. He said it was wicked fun but crashed fours times in the same section. We checked that section out and riders were going down during practice laps. The high line or the low line was good but the middle was slick.
Around noon, about 30 min. before Jim, Q, and I raced, the weather took a turn. The wind kicked up and it started snowing more. I let some more air out of the tires and they were perfect. The race was awesome. The first time up the run up my shifter was hooked in a rear wheel and my rear derailleur was in a front wheel – killer B chaingang. We got unhooked but I had a stone wedged into my cleat and could not get clipped into the pedal. I stomped my foot after the double barrier and it must have come out. Later that lap Gary stabbed my with Joe’s cowbell staff of Rah.
The course demanded full concentration. The snow plus mud made the corners tricky but not impossible. I was totally focused. I aimed for every line I wanted to take, setup for the next turn, accelerated full gas, and never made the same mistake twice. This does not always happen but I locked every turn into memory after the first lap and hit them well every time. My best technical race of the year for sure. It was a blast.
Immediately following the race we went to the pavilion for Curtis’s award ceremony. Steve and Gary bought us a round of Narragansett, and then another round. We got packed up and watched the elite race. Nathanial and Al worked well together in a group just behind Justin. It was a good race with lots of attacking.
Below are some pictures and two videos. One video Steve shot and the other is a cool bike cam of the first lap of the Cat2/3 on Sunday.
You can watch this in higher quality on Youtube.
NBX GP of Cross 2/3 Men Day 2 Lap 1 Handlebar Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.