|It all begins here!|
This year, we will be racing as part of our own team, Bikeway Source Racing, directly for our local shop, the Bikeway Source in Bedford. Additionally, we are riding and racing for the Cat Connection, a Waltham, MA based feline rescue league and shelter. These are the wonderful folks from who we adopted O&E. We want to help spread the word and bring as much attention as possible to them. I designed the kits with a cat theme, partially to boost awareness but also to make us ride hard and go fast, because if you are a middle age (plus) adult riding around with paw prints on your butt, you darn well better be going hard.
Additionally, as most know, Cathy and I have been all about Cannondale Bicycles for a very long time. Over the years we have acquired a literal fleet of their bikes. Recently we became grass roots brand ambassadors. Cannondale has always been very good to us and we hope to represent them in some small way, through everyday usage of the product, to the best of our ability. Nobody pays us to ride the bikes nor are we given bikes. We choose the brand because we believe it to be the best product available, brought to us by the best shop around, the Bikeway Source. We will be aboard our trusty Cannondale SuperX disc bikes with SRAM Red 10spd and Avid BB7 SL cable disc brakes again this year. No reason what so ever to change.
|Cathy railing it at Silk City CX|
What I discovered, the hard way, was that I couldn't recover from the cumulative effect of those efforts coupled with the normal, mid week practice sessions. Over time, it added up and in the end of October at the Orchard Cros race, I crashed and crashed hard, physically. I was exhausted and it took me almost a full month to dig myself out of that hole, all the way to Thanksgiving and the Sterling races. I'm getting older and am trying hard to acknowledge my weaknesses, listen to the feedback my body gives me and avoid the pitfalls, again.
So this year it is one race a day. However, I really like the extra 15 minutes you get in the Elite races over the 45 minute Master's events, so I've been doing only those so far this year. And it hasn't been going half bad at all. Each race I seem to be roughly in the same group, chasing or being chased by Mike Wissell, but that group is well toward the front of the race, usually vying for podium spots. Granted, these are the smaller, local races but still, I'm at least competitive and have solid, strong people to race. Don't get me wrong, there is the same competition in Master's and SSCX, it just feels good to be able to do a respectable race in the local Elite field at my age. As an added benefit, I've been able to win enough money so far this year to cover the entry fees. Bonus!
|Cathy killing the sand at QuadCX|
The start was fast and hard and foreign given I'd spent very little time doing CX practice at that point. I managed to keep contact though and a gap quickly started to form. Despite the heat, which was excessive, I felt pretty good so comfortably went to the front for a bit. A bobble on the uphill switchback sent me just off the back of the group, struggling to re-connect. I dangled a bit but was so gassed from the effort that I never got back in. Lap after lap of chasing got me close at one point but not close enough. Fatigue set in later and all I could do was maintain my 5th position.
|Mike worked really, really hard for that podium spot|
|Cathy ready to race White Park|
Unfortunately, all I had was my SSCX bike in the pit. Not a terrible thing but for the task at hand I'd have really liked gears. Over the next couple laps I chased Tyler back down but the other place I'd lost, Patrick Collins, had gone well up ahead and worse, Mike Wissell, who'd had a mechanical early in the race, was nipping angrily at my heels. Fleeing madly from Mike I managed to play keep away until the top of the back side on the last lap but at that point, he caught and passed me. I stuck with him but couldn't get by without making a sketchy pass. I'd been remounting and riding the hill after the barriers on the geared bike but couldn't do it on the SSCX. It wasn't faster up but it was faster out of the hill, because you were on the bike a clipped in. Regardless, it wasn't an option. Mike handily took the sprint finish for the final podium spot leaving me with 4th.
|Suckerbrook 2-5, Dylan is already back and changed|
|Suckerbrook Elite Men's podium|
That brings us to the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross race this past Wednesday evening. This is a great event at a venue not far from here. The Elite races are held under the lights and our race commenced at 8PM. The start list for this event is always one of the best of the local non-UCI Elite races. Many racers are in town for the nation's premier UCI Cyclocross event this coming weekend in Gloucester, MA and so they attend the Wednesday night race. This included the British and Australian women's Elite National champions as well as the men's Canadian National Champion and a host of legitimate Elite and Elite Master's racers. The men's Elite field had over sixty starters. I didn't feel terribly confident given that I was on the line with some seriously legitimate athletes. I was also nervous about the start, a slight downhill on gravel into a chicane which we would hit at well over 30mph, in the dark.
|Midnight Ride of CX SSCX race start|
|Fawn Lake recover ride|
I was dumb-founded. No, I didn't win and wasn't even on the podium but I finished significantly better than I'd expected. My goal had been top ten, which I met and then some. I'd felt really good all night and was able to keep pushing pretty well, never really fading and racing the vast majority of the race, solo stuck in between groups.
I'm having so much fun racing the guys in the small Elite races, these big master's events are a little less important to me. No goals this season. Well, maybe one secret goal, to upgrade my race category, for no other reason that I want to. I'm currently getting there, one point at a time. Will see if I can make it before the season ends.
By the way, Cathy has also been racing the Elite races all season and doing great. She is a very tough lady and I am so proud of her for all of her efforts. Much love and respect, as always.