2010 Cycle-Smart International Cyclocross

Today was the 20th Cycle-Smart International Cyclocross in Northampton, Massachusetts. The race is part of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series. It is a two-day event, but I only raced today. I have done 10 of the 20 editions of this race. The first five I did were when the race was on the campus of the University of Massachusetts back in the mid-1990’s and the second five were at Look Park in NoHo.

Race Director Adam Myerson has done a great job with this race and with the sport of cyclocross overall. He is one of the important figures in New England cycling. Look Park is such a fabulous venue for cyclocross and so many other things. We always make this a family affair because of the playgrounds, fields, train tracks, petting zoo, and ponds. Kids don’t get bored at Look Park.

It was a chilly day today with intermittent sun. My race was at 11:30 A.M. and it got colder as the day went on. We stayed for the women’s elite race at 2:00 P.M. and most of the men’s elite race at 3:00 P.M., but by then, the sun had dipped low in the sky, the wind had picked up and it was feeling more like winter than fall.

My last race was on October 9th at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, so the conditions were very different today in Northampton. Instead of lava fields, we had fields of leaves. Instead of a temperature of nearly 100 degrees F, it was nearly 50 degrees F. Instead of a race that was 627 minutes long, today’s race was only 50 minutes long. I knew that it was going to be difficult to get my legs turning fast enough for cyclocross, but for many reasons, I wanted to race. It hurt and I was well off the pace in the men’s 35+ race, but I had a blast.

I covered 11.90 miles on the twisty course. I rode a conservative race. I dismounted for both the sand pit and the run up. I didn’t see any point in pushing it when I needed to adjust to my Seven Tsunami and the rigors of cross. There was no need to get hurt. My average heart rate was 179 and my maximum was 193. I haven’t had it that high in a while and it climbed slightly throughout the race, which is good. I was on such an endurance kick the last three months, that this type of intensity was foreign to my body. Regardless, it was a great workout and I’m bound to squeeze another cross race or two in this fall.

I was joined in the 35+ race by teammate Wade Summers. Teammates Paul Nyberg and Matt Domnarski did the 45+ race. We flew the Horst-Benidorm-Property Research Corp. Masters Cycling Team flag proudly. I had a nice warmdown with Matt on the local rail trail. We stayed to watch the women’s race which was fabulous. There was a tight battle between five awesome riders with Laura Van Gilder coming out on top. I shot some nice photos. We stayed for part of the men’s race. I checked the results and Luke Keough took the win for the second day in a row. There is a whole new generation of talented riders coming up on the New England cyclocross scene.

It was a great day at Look Park.

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