2013 Newtown Cyclocross

The 2013 cyclocross season ended with a snow and mudfest at the Newtown Cyclocross. It was the final round of the Connecticut Series of Cyclocross and capped off a 17 cross race campaign (and 45 races overall) that I started in October. I could have ridden even more cross races, but 17 was enough. I did two in September, three in October, eight in November, and four in December. I’m toast.

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This is the first ever Newtown CX at Fairfield Hills. The ride benefitted the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program and Team 26. Fairfield Hills is the site of the old Fairfield State Hospital, a massive psychiatric hospital. It’s a large campus with many old buildings and a few new ones that Newtown making use of. The Town Hall is even located at the site and the start/finish line was right out front. After my race, I watched most of the women’s race, which was really entertaining. They had a nice turnout.

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We had two good snowstorms last weekend, but the temperature warmed up late in the week and caused a lot of melting. There was still four to six inches in the fields. The course was re-routed so that it was rideable (mostly), but it was still a challenging circuit that took me seven to eight minutes/lap. The Men’s 35+ field started one minute behind the Elite Men. I suffered the whole time without ever really getting into a groove.

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My Seven Mudhoney (good name for today) performed well, though after four of eight laps, my disc brakes stopped working. I need to replace my pads, so its fitting that I washed my bike one more time this year (on the Solstice no less) and I’ll need do some repairs in advance of 2014. I’ll miss riding this machine because it has been a blast.

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The course was hilly with 200+ feet of gain each lap. That’s a fair amount for a cross race. I kept it in the big ring the entire time, partially as a precaution because my gears were clogged with snow and mud. I didn’t bother with my pit bike today, but  wouldn’t have ridden it anyway because I’m much more comfortable on the Mudhoney.

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There were several long descents in the snow and one in particular had a 100 degree treacherous left hand turn at the bottom. It attracted quite a crowd of spectators. I rode it the first five laps, but that last time, I barely made it with my brake levers squeezed all the way to the handlebars, and my face white with fear. That is probably where I hit my max heart rate of 182! For the next three laps, I opted to run and one time through, made a comment to a photographer looking for carnage. I told him, “I’ve got to be at work in one piece on Monday, so I’m getting off to run this thing.”

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There was one set of barriers that forced you off of the bike, but the rest of the course was rideable. It was a longer cross race for me at 63 minutes, but that just meant I got muddier. Thankfully it was mild and sunny. Only my feet were cold, but that was from all of the snow melting on them. It was a  good-sized field for a late December race. My teammate, Arthur Roti was a handful of spots in front of me. My other teammate, Paul Nyberg, did the Men’s 45+ race earlier in the day. The entire Horst Engineering Masters Cycling Team has had a fantastic cross season.

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I was stuck in no-man’s land for most of the race. It would have been nice to race with someone, but I was out of gas. I’m ready for a rest. I’m thinking about warmer weather and triathlon season. It’s about time for a change of pace. Like I said, rest first.

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Race Results (will be posted when available)

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