Cross is coming: #crossiscoming

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.

Saratoga Spa:CX

spa_cxNext to the Uncle Sam Race in Troy, the Saratoga SPA:CX cyclocross race is probably the ‘cross race that I enjoy the most. It’s a fast and also challenging course in Saratoga Spa State Park. It has fields, and sand, and off camber, and mud, and singletrack. It is such a fun course to race on. I feel like I always ride well in Saratoga, and that’s one of the reasons that I look forward to this race every year.

This year, I might have had, my best ride of the ‘cross season at Saratoga. While I still finished way down the line, I did finished on the lead lap, which is always one of my goals going into the race. I rode hard and consistent and felt strong. When it was over, I knew that I had raced as hard as I could. And it was the first ‘cross race this season that I didn’t feel a little discouraged. I finish in 11th place and felt great doing it.

And here is the first lap of the Master’s race…yep, I’m somewhere behind the guy with the camera.