2016 Silk City Cyclocross

Today we returned to the Silk City Cyclocross, our favorite local cross race. The venue at Manchester Community College is a 10 minute drive from our house, which is fantastic. With UCI level races in Rochester, NY, some of the elite racers headed west for the weekend, but you can’t beat a top quality grassroots event that is this close to home.

Once again, the Expo Wheelmen put on an excellent race. The club came out in force and there were many volunteers. Expo are friendly “rivals” of Team Horst Sports, but that makes it fun. We support them and they support us. Just like the first CCAP Rocky Hill Cyclocross Training Series race of the year this past Wednesday, our team came out in force to support the first race of the 2016 CT Series of CX.

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Unfortunately, true cyclocross weather is nowhere to be found. Summer temperatures were still in full force today as the mercury hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity was high too. Before the start of the Masters races, we had a good rain storm, but it cleared and the strong sun came out. The small amount of rain wasn’t enough to cut down on the extreme dust. This race was even dustier than Blunt Park was two weeks ago. Some sections, the soft dirt was so dry and deep that it was over your ankles. So much for mud. Its going to take a lot more than a passing shower to cure this New England drought. When it does rain for any length of time, I’ll welcome it. Drought isn’t good for Horst Spikes sales. We need some proper mud!

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Cross Spikes still came in handy today, given the fair amount of running on the rugged course. I chose to run on four sections of the course. There were two steep run ups and a few off-camber sections with loose soil that necessitated at least a little running. There was also a set of berries that forced a fifth dismount (for me). I had a front row start position and then botched the start when I couldn’t get my foot in my pedal. I recovered quickly and made up for the bad start in short order. I spent part of the race in fifth place, but the heat got to me and I faded. With three laps to go, Expo rival, Stan Lezon and a Sunapee rider put some distance on me. We had a good battle going, but after more than six miles of hammering, I was toast. I could really have used a sip of water, but in most cyclocross races, there is no feeding, and I wasn’t carrying a bottle. If there ever was a day to carry one, this was it.

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I had to back off and go into maintenance mode for the last three laps. I was never able to make ground on those two guys, but I had a healthy gap back to the guy in ninth. My teammate Mike Wonderly had a fantastic race, making up for his back row start and surging to the front. He wasn’t able to get the win, but settled for second, a fine result. Wade Summers and Art Roti weren’t far behind me. It was also great to see Ted D’Onofrio. We are going to have a great season in these 40+ events.

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Our 50+ teammates did even better. Pat Cunningham kicked off his season with the win and he was followed by Matt Domnarski. Keith Enderle was also in the field. Our newest mate, Tom Ricardi, did very well in the Category 4 race, along with Andris Skulte. Everyone had a good day. Even the kids got in to the action. The Girls and Boys 9-11 year old race featured four Team Horst kids, including our son. Our daughter did the kids race. A couple of our roadie teammates, Arlen Zane Wenzel and Erik Emanuele stopped by on their long ride and joined us for a cool down. Unfortunately, there was nothing cool about the Silk City Cyclocross.

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Thank you to Jon Tarbox, Dave Hildebrand, and their Expo mates for putting on a great race.

Race Results (will be posted when online)

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