2017 Hartford Riverfront Cyclocross

Yesterday was the Hartford Riverfront Cyclocross, which kicked off the cross season for me and many other members of Team Horst Sports. Some of the guys got started two weeks ago at the CompEdge Cross at Blunt Park, and others started last weekend at the BCA Cyclocross. Yesterday, we seven Juniors racers and nine Masters racers toe the line.

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The last time most of us raced in Hartford’s Riverside Park, was at the 2017 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships back in January. That was an amazing event. Check out my recap. The weather conditions at yesterday’s race were much different. We had a beautiful late summer day that started out cool and then warmed up with bright sunshine and puffy clouds dotting a lovely blue sky.

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The roots of the Riverfront Cross (and Nationals) go back to 2003, when our team hosted the inaugural Connecticut Riverfront Cyclocross. Horst Engineering is on the opposite side of the river from the park, and only a 1/2 mile or so, as the crow flies; so I know this venue well. It was good to shake off the cobwebs since my last cross race, in this park, nine months ago.

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If something could go wrong, it did go wrong. I was late to prep my bikes for the event and was forced to take a pit bike that had road tires on it. My primary bike, a Seven Mudhoney Pro, was in pretty good shape, after a disc brake upgrade (TRP Hy/Rd) at our team shop, Bicycles East, in nearby Glastonbury. It was also Shepard’s first cross race since Nats, and he was pumped to be joining his Team Horst Junior Squad mates in the 9-12 year old Cub Juniors race.

We got to the park with just enough time to pre-ride part of the course, but three minutes into a lap, I heard a loud “CRACK” as I was slowly turning around a hairpin. It appeared that I broke a spoke, but I know that sound, and it was louder than that. I stopped to investigate and saw two spokes dangling, but oddly, they still had their heads. That’s when I realized that my Zipp hub had a catastrophic failure. The hub flange fracture and a chunk of it was missing, which is why two spokes were dangling from the 303 rim.

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Our pre-ride was cut short. Thankfully, my teammates took care of Shepard and got him started while I returned home to fetch a spare wheel that was compatible and had knobby tires mounted on it. I made it back in time to catch the end of the Juniors race, and fortunately, the wheel and its brake rotor, fit my brake calipers OK.

I was a little out of sorts by the time my 40+ race started, but two laps in, I had settled down and was comfortably in the top 10. On the third lap, as I was making my way across the off-camber turn by the gazebo, my rear wheel locked up. This was a result of my rear tubular rolling off the rim and getting jammed between the chain stay and my wheel. Game over…sort of. I was 600 meters or so from the pit, but I shouldered my bike and ran all the way there. Most of the guys in my race passed me while I was running. It was unfortunate, but I grabbed my Seven Tsunami, with the road wheels and tires, and did my best to chase over the next four laps. I actually lost more ground, and was pulled with one lap to go.

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It was a weak start to the season, but hopefully after I get my bikes back in working order, I’ll be able to better my result. I was hoping for a good race, but it wasn’t to be. Shepard had a very good race. So did his Junior Squad teammates. Also, many of the guys on Team Horst Sports had good races, especially Mike Wonderly, who won the 50+ race.

Another reason why I’m pumped for cross season, is the growth of Horst Engineering’s Cross Spikes product line. We have great momentum to build from after Nats was in our backyard. We have several new ambassadors and other projects in the works.

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I dropped my Zipp wheel off at Bicycles East and will figure out what to ride for Wednesday’s CCAP Rocky Hill CX Training Series race. I don’t have a real cross race until a week from Wednesday at the Midnight Ride of CX. I talked about my bad day with Shepard and explained how mechanicals are part of the sport. That’s bike racing!

Race Results

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I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏 #Repost @horsteng
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We just launched the #cxnats edition of #crossspikes News and it is chock full of great information. Click our profile for a link to the newsletter and info regarding @renocxnats pre-orders and on-site sales. See you at the Race Expo! #crossisboss 🚴🏽🏆 Brilliant sunshine☀️ at the @shenipsitstriders #newyearsday run. #shenipsitstriders #boltonnotch #hopriverstateparktrail #teamhorstsports #trailrunning ❄️🌲⛄️🏃🏻

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