It was a fantastic weekend at the 26th annual Verge Northampton International Cyclocross at Look Park in Massachusetts. NoHo CX is always one of my favorite events. Once again, Horst Engineering sponsored the event. We had a strong presence in the expo, selling Horst Spikes and greeting friends, old and new. Both Saturday and Sunday had racing from 8:00 A.M until 4:00 P.M., with 11 separate races each day.
Some of the categories were combined, like the Masters 45+ and Masters 55+. Team Horst Sports had a strong presence in both of those races. We also had a presence in the Men’s Cat 4 field, as well as the Cub Juniors 9-14 year olds. The weather was spectacular. Yesterday was dry, sunny, cool, and breezy. Today, it started cool, but by late morning, the temperature had warmed up considerably, and by afternoon, it was warm. The course was dry both days, and today, it was actually dusty. The race had a record number of registrants, with more than 700 unique riders over the course of the weekend. Many of us raced both days.
I was in the stacked Masters 45+ field both days. Yesterday, I had the race of the year (so far), and one of my best cross races in many years. I rode stronger than anticipated, which is a great sign as we approach late season. NoHo is definitely an A race with a very strong field, so I was pleased to ride so well. I finished 18th, which is pretty good given how strong the other 70 guys were. Seconds count when you are going flat-out on such a demanding course. I was able to capitalize on my good start, hold my ground, and actually pick up several spots in the last lap. I held off a really good group of riders who were battling with me the entire race. My teammates, Matt Domnarski, Wade Summers, and Arthur Roti all rode well. The course was good for me, with long stretches of open pedaling that allowed me to use my power. There were two tough uphills that required running. Most of the corners were wide and sweeping, which played to my strengths.
Today, I started with tired legs (as many of us did), and didn’t perform quite as well, finishing 21st in another strong field of 81 guys. I suffered quite a bit more, not able to get on top of the pedals. The course was run in reverse, there were two steep and technically demanding downhills and a steep uphill. The corners were a bit tighter and the track was a bit more technical. I kept getting gapped off of a group of five riders. Every time we hit the technical stuff, I was hesitant and lost ground. I would make it up when I had room to pedal, but eventually that sapped my strength. When the group broke apart on the last lap, I was one of the last. My teammate Matt was also in my group and I just held him off on the line. Wade and Art rode even better than yesterday.
Debbie skipped yesterday’s race, but she and our daughter joined our son and me today. Our Cub Juniors, including our son, had two good days of racing. Watching them tackle the tough Look Park course was a joy. We saw so many friends and had a lot of fun. Many of our non-cyclocross teammates joined us in support. There were some great food trucks to choose from. We watched some amazing performances. Lizzy Gunsalus, was a standout, winning the Women’s Cat 3 race both days. At 13, she has a bright future. Emma White had a great race today, winning the Elite Women’s race after finishing second yesterday. Her brother, Curtis White, bested a strong Elite Men’s field both days. All of these riders are sponsored by Horst Spikes, which is pretty cool.
Thank you to Adam Myerson, Alec Donahue, J.D. Bilodeau, and all of the volunteers for producing such a fine event. Once again, this race showed the joy of New England cyclocross.