Hartford Cyclocross

The second half of our family fitness double-header was the Hartford Cyclocross at Riverside Park. The race was co-promoted by the Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance and the Connecticut Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association. These two groups worked together to bring cyclocross back to the Connecticut River waterfront. Riverside Park is a spectacular setting for a cross race, with a great mix of open fields, steep run ups, a treacherous downhill, sand, twisty pavement sections, and fast singletrack.

Men's 3/4 Start.

After the Men's 3/4 start.

I donned the cycling gear and planned for a muddy ride. Yesterday’s rain and wind soaked the course. Today’s dry weather was a blessing, but it wasn’t warm enough to dry out the course. That made for a slick tricky loop. There were several category and age group races. I opted for the men’s 35+, as did my teammates Wade Summers, Matt Domnarski, and Art Roti (the co-race director).

A muddy Art Roti.

A muddy Scott Livingston.

I got my Garmin GPS working and it recorded some good data. I didn’t feel that good and the numbers show it. I still had a lot of fun, especially because I spent most of the race riding with Matt. We alternated pulls because he was stronger in some sections and I was stronger in others. I had no snap. Of course, this is only my second cross race in two years. My first was last week at Mansfield Hollow. If I keep at it, I’ll come around. I want to get faster by the end of the season. The 45 minute anaerobic effort takes some getting used to. I’ll give it a go again next Sunday at the classic West Hill Shop Cyclocross in Putney, Vermont. Today’s race was a little longer than the planned 45 minutes. My GPS said 55 minutes at the finish. Matt and I raced a third rider hard for several laps, but we couldn’t shake him and our tactics ultimately didn’t work, and he came around us just before the line. Oh well, like I said, we had a lot of fun.

Muck.

A rider on the stairs.

With the extra mud, we had no problem selling several sets of Horst Spikes. They were in demand, especially after people saw the steep slippery run-up on the dike. I had a fresh set of spikes in my brand new pair of Sidi Dominator shoes. I was product testing in perfect conditions. I would imagine that if the rain keeps coming every couple of days, we might sell out of our stock by mid-November. Hopefully, CCBA and CTNEMBA can collaborate again in 2010 because Hartford deserves to have a cross race every year.

The Connecticut River looking north.

The Connecticut River looking south.

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