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.
After a short 2 week setback in my training, my fitness is back to where it was before I got sick. In fact, I might be a little bit ahead of where I was. I’ve incorporated running into my training routine, and while I’me still not a big fan of running, it has certainly helped improve my overall fitness.
The only reason that I am running is because I am also training for the HRRT Central Park Off Road Duathlon in Schenectady. Each year I want to race a duathlon but always shied away because of the runs. This year I’m all in. I’ve been running twice a week with no bike on those days. With 5 weeks until race day, today was my first bike and run training day. A 10 mile bike with a 2 mile run…one step at a time…
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.
Sometimes, a nice and easy 28 degree ride is all you need. That’s the kind of morning it was today at Kinns Rd Park in Clifton Park. Not everything has to be hardcore rocks and roots.
My first fat bike race was a blast. The annual HRRT Giving Thanks MTB Race added a fat bike class this year. Fat bike are a so much fun to ride, I decided to race it today. If you have never ridden a fat bike, get on a friend’s and give it a spin. You’ll probably want one too.
The race, at Schenectady’s Central Park trails, is a ~6 mile race course on about 95% singletrack. And regardless of the bike you are on, the singletrack is a good ride. For me, being on a fat bike made it better. Riding a fat bike is definitely a different feel and a different workout. I felt good for this time of year, although I did fade a bit at the beginning of the second lap, and then I managed to regrouped to finish strong. I finished the 2 lap race in 5th place with a time of ~1:17:00.
The NYCROSS.com Series wrapped up Sunday with the Bethlehem Cup at Elm Ave Park in Delmar. This is another great venue that the guys ar NYCROSS have for the Series. It’s fast, it’s grueling, it’s muddy and it’s a great time.
The “really fast old guys”, as you know I like to call the master’s categories, are as fast as ever on this course. The start is at about the 1/2 way point of the lap, on a long-ish, flat stretch of pavement that leads to weaving through the trees and the fields. I actually got off to a good start until we reached the finish line to go into the first full lap. That’s pretty much were I settled in for my typical positioning. I ended up finishing 17th place, -1 lap. I always want to finish on the lead lap, but with this group, that isn’t going to happen all the time.
Thanks to everyone that puts on the NYCROSS.com Series! It’s great to have such a quality Series right here in our backyards.