OK, this is delayed but better late than never, I guess.
I must admit that it was with some minor trepidation that I registered to race the 2010 Velocross cyclocross race at the Northeast Velodrome this season. Despite the fact that our club, NEBC, was one of the primary sponsors and I'd been assured by Kurt and the other organizers that the course was going to be vastly better than years past, I couldn't help but recall the old course. It wasn't awful, just very 'rustic'. We are also at that point in the season where I'm tired and the motivation is really low. Regardless, we needed to be behind this event for the club and for our sponsors.
Pre-registartion was modest though my field had a number of solid guys that were sure to make this a very challenging race. I suspect that the early season drama surrounding the track was still on the minds of some and accounted for the fairly low numbers. There was also some improvement that could have been made regarding condensing some of the actual fields that would probably have helped. All good to know for the next time.
What we found when we arrived at the venue and were able to get onto the course and ride put all fears to rest. The crew had indeed done an incredible job with the course layout, design and prep. Laps were above 5 minutes each, which was considered a minimum requirement and the course was super challenging while being wide and well marked. However, this was a legit course like no other as it included not only a portion of the track but also the BMX course. This was going to be a brutally hard but fun race.
Cathy had a great race and got the chance to go head to head with Sally from JRA all day long, ultimately coming down to a sprint finish for third place. They both held off another of Cathy's nemesis, Danielle from Sunapee. My race started with a mad sprint by Jeff M. and a counter by Ryan L. which I was able to meet along with most of the pack. We hammered the first lap and I squeezed into second on the BMX course and took over on the track. From there I just keep hitting as hard as I could and Jeff and I got a good gap. I stayed out front for a couple laps then on the track flicked the elbow for Jeff to come through, which he did. After the infield section I got nervous that we were not going fast enough to stay away so went to the front and charged hard. A lap or so later I noticed that the chase was closing so I hit really hard on the track and gained a bit of space. Unfortunately as we turned onto the crushed casting material trail that leads to the woods, a lapped rider lost control and swerved into my line and I plowed into him, with Jeff plowing into me. Curses and tangled bikes hurriedly untangled and we were off but the chase was now really close. Ryan was able to bridge back and we rode together for one to go. On the track Jeff attacked and then sat up and Ryan countered, to which I followed and countered. I led through the infield and through most of the woods but Jeff made a wise pass just before we came out of the woods. He attacked hard and all I could do was dangle just behind him. On the track he sprinted easily for the win and Ryan managed to come by me as well at the line, leaving me in 3rd. I was spent and physically had nothing left.
This was a great course and a great race. Many thanks to all of those who worked so hard to make it happen and a thank you to those who attended. It was had to find anyone that wasn't thoroughly beat yet had a smile on their face. For those who missed it, you really did miss one of the best venues I have ever raced. I'm still sore from pumping the BMX course so hard.
As a side note after the Shedd Park race on Sunday, which was possibly my worst excuse for racing in years, while I was cleaning my bike from the weekend's race activity I looked it over closely. Unfortunately I noticed that the crash Saturday resulted in a few battle scars in the carbon fiber of my frame and a bent spoke and slightly out of true Reynolds Dv46 carbon rear wheel which also had dime sized hole punched in it. D'oh!