After Thanksgiving with my family, which was stupendous, it was onward and upward to the next race, Baystate CX. I raced this race three years ago and had a blast so I was eager to see if the course was the same.
Emily and I drove up on Friday to my friend Eric Bercume’s Ma’s house, Liz Newell. She graciously offered to put Emily, Kerry Shields, Eric Thompson, and Steph Thompson up for the weekend, which is only 45min away from the race. She lives in a beautiful house just outside of Barre (pronounce Barry).
After settling in Friday night we woke up to race day on Saturday. The snowfall earlier in the week was sitting heavy on the ground up here in middle Massachusetts. When we got to the course on Saturday late morning the first couple races had created some lines but there was still a lot of snow chunk all over course making a lot of the course almost like a sand pit.
At our start it was crucial to make it out front before the first corner and I managed to not do that as well as I would have liked. I was sitting in 8th or so during the first lap but there was a lot of racing to move up. I found my self at the front about halfway through the race and pulled a lap or two putting pressure on hoping people would make mistakes, forming separations. It worked and now there was a smaller group of 4 at the front with Timmerman, Curtis, Lindine, and Christian Favata. Then disaster struck… coming off one of the faster flat sections of the course I careened straight into a course stake, which broke and lodged into my front wheel through my fork blades. I pulled it out quickly without too much of a problem but then went to keep getting it and found tape was now wrapped up in my cassette and rear wheel. Deflated. That is a good word to describe my emotional state from then on. I remounted after freeing my bike from the tape and went on my way. Not long after I steered off the main line and crashed in some deeper snow. That was pretty much it for me. I rode it in the rest of the race with my pouty pants on. I was bummed because I was sure I would have had a good chance at the podium and definitely top five. Anyway, I was ok, my bike was fine, and Sunday was another day.
I woke up Sunday determined to get redemption from Saturday’s fail.
Over to the course around noon. With the weather almost 20º warmer than Saturday. Sunday was shaping up to be a wet sloppy, good, time. I was excited after the pre ride and amped up for the start.
I had a better start than yesterday and managed to make the lead group of 7. That was widdled down over the course of the race and with about 4-5 to go it was just Dan Timmerman, Curtis White, and I. The conditions were treating everyone differently and I am positive everyone went down at one point. However, the group was staying together early in the race. With about 5 to go Dan dropped his chain and Curtis was off the front already. I bridged up and rode the lap with Curtis. He took a bike with 4 to go and I got in front a put some pressure into a section just before the start finish. I heard the announcer get riled up and I looked back and Curtis had a dropped chain so I put my head down and tried to hold it for the next three laps.
I managed to get a 10-14 second gap that was comfortable. However, about half way through 2 to go I slipped on the off camber run, busted my ass, then trying to navigate the next off camber section I managed to ping pong off the hard chain link fencing, causing Timmerman to close in to 5 sec. With Timmerman close and only 1 lap to go I knew I needed a perfect and fast lap.
I was riding the first half of the lap great and maybe put a second or two into him but he was riding the second half great and he was with in 3-5 seconds at the second pit. There was two long straights separated by a 180º hairpin so I pinned it into that and went foot out. Back in my pedals and didn’t look back until I hit the start straight and realized Dan was on my heels. I had just enough in the tank to hold him off but he made me work so hard for it. #nailbiter
What a good weekend of racing, though it was sad to hear Adam Myerson announce that this past weekend was the last installment of the Sterling Baystate CX race. Thanks to Tom Stevens for being such a leader in promoting cx racing in the Northeast and running some of the most fun and well-organized series.
Also, Thanks to Kerry Shields for acting as my pit crew this weekend. It always helps to have someone on your side and he is usually there whether I ask or not.
Next up is Warwick, which I hear is a super fun race. Dan Timmerman told me to expect some “Bay Watch” style beach running, which I am pretty excited about. Haven’t had too much running and I have heard good things about this race so bring the noise. I reunite with teammate Crystal Anothony who just got back from a spell of racing over in Euro land. She did both the world cups placing top 20 consistently.