After all of these years, I finally made it to the SuperCross Cup in New York. I’ve always wanted to race this event, but never made it to Long Island, when it was located there, and I missed the first two editions at Harriman State Park. It has been several years since I visited Harriman, and I’ve missed it. Debbie, the kids, and I were there in 2011, the last time she ran the Bear Mountain 50 Miler. There was an aid station at the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area, right at the start/finish line of today’s course. I hadn’t raced in Harriman since 2009, when I did the HarryMan Triathlon. That was a long time ago. Even farther back, I used to race in Harriman when we did the Bear Mountain Road Race. Before that, we used to race the Harriman circuit as part of the West Point Stage Race. That was back in my days at Boston College and Boston University when I raced collegiate road cycling. I absolutely loved that course.
Well, I made it back into Harriman today, but for a cyclocross race, and it was a good one. This was the third time the SuperCross Cup was held at Anthony Wayne and the race attracted more than 400 cross racers over the course of two days of racing. We had a busy Saturday, so I didn’t make it until today. My son and I drove down last night and met up with my teammate and Horst Engineering colleague, Arthur Roti, and his son. We stayed about 20 minutes from Harriman, and then drove to the start this morning via the beautiful (but full of potholes) Palisades Parkway.
The Masters 35+ race was at 10:45 A.M. and we had a competitive field. Art raced yesterday and it was muddy. We had more rain overnight, so the course remained muddy and slick. It was our first real muddy race of the year and I loved it. However, it took me too long to get comfortable with the slipping and sliding. My legs were heavy for the first three laps and I really struggled. On lap three, I was still in contact with a group of five other riders, but I was anaerobic and that led to several bobbles. I lost touch with the group and was stuck in no man’s land for a few laps. A couple of riders caught me from behind, and then I started to figure out the right lines to take through the sloppy corners. By then, it was too late. I made a charge on the last lap, gapped a NYCROSS rider that I was battling with and nearly closed in on another rider, but ran out of asphalt on the finishing stretch.
I could have easily gone another couple of laps and made up more ground, but the race was over. I was still happy and I had a lot of fun. It was worth the 2.5 hour drive from Bolton to Stony Point. Heck, driving over the Tappan Zee Bridge (twice) and seeing the massive construction project for the new bridge, was worth the drive. There were three run-ups and a set of barriers on this well designed and technical course. The first hill was unrideable and a perfect testing ground for Horst Spikes. Again, I used my Mini Standard’s, but I wish I had installed my Long’s before the start. They would have given me even more grip. The mud was thick!
The second run-up was a set of concrete steps, so spikes weren’t much help there. Some of the more talented riders were riding up the steps. Not me. The third hill was a slick (especially at the bottom) steep affair that curved to the right. Only a handful of racers were able to ride it. I chose to run, and again, the cross spikes came in handy. The barriers were also in a muddy section of field on the upper part of the course. It was great to have a race with four dismounts and all of that running. It was more like a European cross race than any of the courses we have done lately. There were some tricky spots, so I was happy to stay upright the entire race.
Arthur had a good race too. Our teammates Wade Summers (who raced the 45+) and Paul Nyberg (who raced the 55+) also had good races. Yesterday, Paul and our other teammate, Pat Cunningham, joined Arthur at day one of the event. Our kids had a blast at the venue, got a little muddy themselves, and did the kids race loop several times. We really wanted to stay and watch the Elite Men and Elite Women, but we had to get going. We went from the far southwest corner of Connecticut all the way to the far northeast corner. My son and I met up with Debbie and our daughter and the rest of Cub Scout Pack 157 Den 5. Debbie organized a nature walk at the Goodwin State Forest Education & Conservation Center. It was fantastic, but it was a long way from Harriman State Park. This was the end of yet another busy autumn weekend.
I definitely plan to return to the SuperCross Cup on 2016 and I’ll bring more friends from New England with me.