It’s mid-summer and the hash tag #crossiscoming has been prominent in all my social media news feeds. Let’s face it, ‘cross IS coming. And pretty quick too. My traditional season opener is the last weekend in August…CompEdge ‘Cross @ Blunt Park in Springfield, MA. This race has a special meaning for me as it’s the race that introduced me to cyclocross. It was my first cyclocross race…ever.
Last season was a very good season of cyclocross racing for me. Sure, I’m still finishing near the bottom of my masters category, but that’s ok. My skills have improved, my training has improved, and yes, my overall results have improved a little bit too. I ventured out to some of the bigger races. I even competed in the Cyclocross National Championships. The highlight of the season for me was finishing 11th overall in the NYCROSS.com Cyclocross Series in the Masters 45+ category. This was a huge improvement over past years overall finishes in the 20’s.
This year I scrapped mountain bike racing to fully focus on cyclocross. I did, however, race the Wilmington/Whiteface 50K the beginning of June. On July1, I 100% transitioned to cyclocross training. I’ve designed pre-season and in-season training plans for myself, that fit in with my work schedules. In just 3 weeks I can already see myself faster. I’m working hard on sustained efforts…let’s face it, cyclocross is a 45 minute sprint. An equally important improvement that I’ve also made is my diet. Smaller portions with more protein and more greens (salad). In other words, I’m eating healthier and not overeating.
Here is my planned cyclocross race schedule for 2017:
- Aug 27 – CompEdge ‘Cross @ Blunt Park – Springfield, MA
- Sep 3 – BCA Cyclocross – Pittsfield, MA
- Sep 9 – Rochester Cyclocross – Rochester, NY
- Sep 10 – Kirkland CX – Clinton, NY (NYCROSS Series)
- Sep 29 – KMC Cyclocross Festival – Thompson, CT
- Sep 30 – KMC Cyclocross Festival – Thompson, CT
- Oct 7 – Uncle Sam Cyclocross Gran Prix – Troy, NY (NYCROSS Series)
- Oct 8 – Uncle Sam Cyclocross Gran Prix – Troy, NY (NYCROSS Series)
- Oct 14 – Gran Prix of Gloucester – Gloucester, MA
- Oct 15 – Gran Prix of Gloucester – Gloucester, MA
- Oct 22 – Salt City Cyclocross Spectacular – Syracuse, NY
- Oct 23 – Salt City Cyclocross Spectacular – Syracuse, NY
- Oct 28 – Saratoga Spa:CX – Saratoga Springs, NY (NYCROSS Series)
- Oct 29 – Wicked Creepy Cyclocross – Bennington, VT (NYCROSS Series)
- Nov 5 – Cider Cross – NYS CX Championships – Lafayette, NY
- Nov 11 – Northampton International Cyclocross – Northampton, MA
- Nov 12 – Northampton International Cyclocross – Northampton, MA
- Nov 18 – Supercross Cup – Suffern, NY
- Nov 19 – Bethlehem Cup – Delmar, NY (NYCROSS Series)
It is a pretty aggressive schedule, but for me it’s mostly about the love of the sport, race as much as I can, and enjoy it. I don’t take vacations throughout the year like most people do. I save the majority of my time off for September through December…for cyclocross.
Cyclocross is no longer right around the corner. Cyclocross season is here. I opened my cyclocross racing this past weekend with a two race weekend..Saturday August 27 in Cazenovia, NY and Sunday September 28 in Springfield, MA. Early ‘cross racing is great because it gives you a chance to shake out the cobwebs, stretch your cyclocross legs and see just where you’re at before your series races and bigger races start.
I never go into a cyclocross race with any expectations but to have fun. Of course I have goals (stay on the lead lap!?!), but always have fun. This weekend was fun.
Sunday’s race in Cazenovia was a new race at a new venue..RedBarn20. The course had a little bet of everything. Fast sprints, a little climbing, some singletrack trail, run-up, steps, etc. A little bit of everything you might see on a cx course. While I didn’t finish on the lead lap, I did feel pretty good for my opening race of the cx season, and managed to finish 9th.
Sunday brought me to Blunt Park in Springfield, MA. A late August race that the Cyclonaut Racers has put on for several years. This race is a little special for me, Blunt Park was the first cyclocross race that I every did..back in 2009. And now I race more cyclocross than anything else. The Blunt Park race is a very fast race, partly due to the course and partly due to the fast New England Masters that are there every year. This course always has naturally sandy spots, singletrack trail, tight turns, natural barriers and a triple man made barrier. With a pretty big 45+ Masters field, I just wanted to ride as hard as I could and hold on to the lead lap. Four of us did have a pretty good “race withing the race” fighting for position for 4 of the 5 laps. I did finish on the lead lap, and I ended up 27th, losing the sprint at the finish by about 1/4 of a wheel.
Overall, it was a great start to what will be a very full cyclocross season for me.
It’s that time of year again…Cyclocross season is right around the corner. It’s time to get on your cyclocross bike and practice. Practice your dismounts and remounts…practice your barriers…practice your run-ups…and practice shouldering your bike. For me, the hardest part of cyclocross is my remounts after the barriers and run-ups. So, most of my training/practice consists of dismounts and remounts. Yes, I have many failed attempts while practicing. But when it all goes the way it should, you know it and it feels good.
Here is a short video that I found that shows you the basics. You will hear the instructor say, “you need commitment to do this”. And he is right, hesitate and you will fumble…we’ve all been there.
The Farmer’s Daughter Gravel Grinder is a non-competitive “gravel Gran Fondo” of 100K, approximately 65 miles long, almost entirely on dirt roads with some sections of off-road thrown in as well. You’ll ride through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Northeast, with plenty of climbing, and plenty of fun descents to match. The ride, named after the Chatham Brewery’s ale born and brewed in Columbia County in beautiful upstate New York offers a challenging course with rewards at the finish. A selection of gourmet food truck vendors will be at the finish area to allow riders to relax and replenish after a long ride. All riders 21 years or older completing the ride will receive a coupon for one free pint of Chatham Brewery’s Farmer’s Daughter Ale.
Directions: The start/finish is at the Columbia County Fair Grounds. Google: 182 Hudson Avenue, Chatham, NY 12037. Start Time: 9:00 AM, Sunday May 15, 2016. Free Parking.
Course description: The course will be approximately 65 miles in length with 6,000 feet of climbing. Approximately 45 miles of the ride will be on maintained gravel roads. Several “sections” will be on unmaintained dirt paths or double track trail. A cyclocross bike, gravel grinder bike, or adventure bike is optimal for the course, and a hard-tail mountain bike would also work well. Two fully supported Aid stations, portable toilets, and sweep vehicles will be provided. Be sure to carry some food and water, though, as well as the usual spare tubes, tools, and pump. Be prepared for a challenging but fun ride!
Benefit a local land conservancy: Proceeds from the Farmer’s Daughter Gravel Grinder will benefit the Columbia Land Conservancy. The CLC works with the local community to conserve the farmland, forests, wildlife habitat, and rural character of Columbia County, strengthening connections between people and the land.
The Farmers Daughter Gravel Grinder is a USAC Non-competitve gran fondo event run under USAC (Permit # 2016-944 is pending). Participants are NOT REQUIRED to have a USAC license. Participants are NOT REQUIRED to purchase a one-day license. All participants will need to sign an event waiver at check-in.
Register on BikeReg.
Riding in a group comes with many benefits, namely having a bit of company and having people to keep you out of the wind when it’s not your turn to suffer. But riding alone can also be enjoyable, offering riders the peace and quiet of the road and a little ‘me time’ that we all crave every so often. So here are a few reasons by heading out on your own is brilliant.
Here’s the full article from Cycling Weekly: Eight reasons why riding alone is better than riding in a group – Cycling Weekly
Ride the Ridge – Maple Moonshine Fat Bike Criterium
Maple Ski Ridge and HRRT Present the 2016 Ride the Ridge Series. Event #1- Maple Moonshine Fat Bike CriteriumSaturday, March 12th – 6:30 pm. Registration Fee: $20, register online at bikereg.com.
WHERE: Maple Ski Ridge, Rotterdam NY WHAT: With its short lap format, success in a winter Fat Bike criterium requires cyclists to hold their own on a fast, snowy course that covers the lower portions of Maple Ski Ridge Mountain. Wide tires will be the tool of choice for riders to navigate the varied terrain in this spectator friendly, one of a kind event…
More info here: Ride the Ridge
This was in today’s email:
Congratulations, Old Time Cycling has been selected for our Team Crank sponsorship program. This program will allow your club to receive pro deal pricing on e-Gel, e-Fuel and all of our products as well as some additional benefits. Your account has been activated and you now have access the area of our site reserved for team members.
I’m very excited to announce that Crank Sports will be sponsoring Old Time Cycling with their eFuel electrolyte drink and eGel electrolyte gels. Crank Sports manufactures premium energy gels and hydration drinks for endurance athletes that provide balanced energy, hydration and electrolyte replacement. eFuel and eGel are both gluten free, and no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners…just clean energy!