Today was day two of the KMC Cyclocross Festival in Providence, Rhode Island. The event is commonly known as the “Providence Crossfest,” or just “Providence.” The race has become one of the most significant on the national cyclocross calendar, and it is the largest and most successful race in New England.
The Saturday race was a UCI C1 event and is a candidate to become part of the World Cup. The only race in the United States that is part of the World Cup is CrossVegas, and that just happened this year. I’ve done variations of Providence many times in the past. This venue at Roger Williams Park, hosted the national championships several years ago. The Sunday race is C2, but still competitive. Yesterday, I watched the men’s and women’s races live on the Internet. The coverage was good and it was great to see Jeremy Powers, a rider who uses Horst Engineering’s cross spikes, take the victory. He also crushed it last weekend at the GP Gloucester, New England’s other huge race.
I missed last year with my broken shoulder. This year, I was only able to make the Sunday event because we got back late on Friday after two weeks in Japan. After ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI, it was Debbie’s turn to support me, so she and the kids piled into the van with all of our stuff. We briefly stopped at the NipMuck Trail Marathon. Conveniently, it was on the way. My 12:30 P.M. start was convenient too, but the problems was it felt like 1:30 A.M. Japan time. The jet lag was fierce.
I knew it would be hard to get the legs turning after three weeks off of my bike, but I wanted to do the race because it has the most competitive 35+ field in the region. The local races are fun, but sometimes, it feels good to do a big one. Providence is big, with a full on expo and three days of racing. The unofficial kickoff is the New England Builders’ Ball, which was Friday night. I was really sad to miss it this year after being there in 2014, but my colleague and teammate Arthur Roti, was joined by our teammate, Zane Wenzel to host the Horst Spikes booth.
Horst Engineering had a successful night at the Ball, and the Horst Engineering Cycling Team had a successful weekend racing in Providence. Matt Domnarski, Pat Cunningham, and Paul Nyberg all had solid results in the 50+ race both days. Matt and Pat got top 12 today. Art and Wade Summers raced both days in the 35+ and I joined them today. I wish there was a 40+ race, but it wasn’t to be.
Yesterday, we had a lot of rain, though it dried out by the end of the day. Today, the course was damp, but the mud was tackle or completely dry and rutted in spots. The pace of today’s race was fast. I cramped badly with three to go. My right quad was acting up and I had to back off a bit to get it to calm down. I had no “pop” and struggled a bit on some of the technical sections, but thankfully, I cleared all of the flyovers without walking or crashing. I saw a few wrecks, but stayed on my bike, and feel good about that. I’ll come around. It was good to blast it hard for 49 minutes.
Another reason for enjoying the race today was because we got to see some old friends. I missed Jon Gallagher, but heard his voice from behind a barrier. He was busy in the results trailer. His One2Go timing business is very successful and he does most of the big races around the country. Jon and I raced together more than 20 years ago and spent the summer of 1994 on the kermesse circuit in Belgium. Hopefully I see him at another race this fall, or at least in Asheville, North Carolina for the national championships.
It was fun to swing by Richard Sachs‘ tent. We go way back with Richard. My first real road bike (after my Shogun 400 and a steel Trek), was my 1989 Richard Sachs. That frameset still hangs in my office at work. I’ve been converting my circa 1997 Richard Sachs cross bike to a single speed and hope to debut it sometime this fall in advance of the national championships in January. Richard has a very successful team and I love his branding with House Industries. Richard no longer lives in Chester (one of my favorite Connecticut towns), but we enjoyed visiting him there particularly on the 4th of July during the years when we were in town for the 4 on the 4th Road Race.
Debbie and I reconnected with longtime friends, Erik and Sue Grimm. Erik is one of my all-time favorite athletes. He has succeeded at everything from triathlon, to adventure racing, skiing, swimming, cycling, to running. Lately, he has been crushing masters fields in cyclocross and he scored third place both yesterday and today. Erik is a fellow member of YPO, so he also has to juggle family, with work, community service, and endurance sports. Erik, Sue, Debbie, and I have had some good times in far-flung places like Sydney, Australia, but we haven’t seen each other in the Northeast for several years. They had kids (triplets) several years ago, so it was great to introduce our kids to their kids. At the park, they got to horse around, climb trees, and ride their bikes. Both of our children did the kids race, and then we packed up and headed home, still jet lagged, but satisfied that our reentry weekend with the LEGO 5K, NipMuck, and Providence, was a success.
After a big cross race, we return to more local grassroots events next weekend when the Connecticut Series of CX continues at Mansfield Hollow.