The 2016-2017 cyclocross season kicked off today at the CompEdge Cross in Blunt Park. Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, this urban park is a fun spot for cross. Like last year, it was seriously hot and very dusty. The course was mostly the same, though there were a few more twists and turns, a longer section of roots, and a mini “flyover.”
Promoted by the Cycloconauts, this race was the first of many to come between now and the national championships in early January. In recent years, cyclocross has started earlier. When I first started racing cross in the mid-1990’s, the road season continued through September and then cross would start in October. In New England, you can race every weekend between now and October and then every weekend through Christmas. The cyclocross season is longer and stronger than ever.
I’ve got 20 +/- races targeted for this year with a mix of the fun local races and some of the larger regional events like the KMC Cross Fest at its new venue, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The New England Builders’ Ball will be held in conjunction with KMC Cross Fest and is also moving to the new venue at the speedway. Horst Engineering will display our Horst Spikes line of Cross Spikes alongside many of New England’s top bicycle framebuilders.
After a summer filled with racing triathlons, I’m ready for cross season. I was a little rusty today, but so was everyone else. I was joined in the Masters 45+ race by my teammate Matt Domnarksi. Our mate, Keith Enderle, was slated to race the 55+ race. We have another strong masters team and over the next few weeks, I’m sure we will be joined by Pat Cunningham, Paul Nyberg, Wade Summers, Mike Wonderly, Dave Geissert, Randall Dutton, Art Roti, and maybe some of the other guys. I do better in the cooler weather events, but I wanted to kick the season off anyway. It takes time to sharpen your technical skills. The Blunt Park course was full of tight turns and there were several dismounts. I didn’t get to the start line in time and ended up at the back. I had a good start, but then was blocked by an early crash that slowed the back half of the field. I worked my way up and had some good battles in a group of four, including Bryan Zieroff and new Cyclonauts riders, but we never broke the top-10.
I’m hungry to race again, and that will probably be in two weeks at the Silk City Cyclocross. Aside from the Hammerfest Triathlon and the Vermont 50, it’s all cross for me until Thanksgiving and the Manchester Road Race. Then, it will be more cross into January. I’ll think about taking a break then!
Race Results (will be posted when available)