2017 March Farms Cyclo Madness

We returned to March Farms Cyclo  Madness for a special Black Friday cyclocross race. Last year’s March Farms event was a complete white out in an epic snowstorm. The organizers moved the date of the race from late December to late November, in hopes that the weather would be better.

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They made a good call. This is the third year that Shepard and I have done this race, and this is the best weather that we have had. It was cold in the morning, but brilliant sunshine made it feel warmer. There was a light breeze, but it was nothing like last year’s blizzard. The course was on the “other side of the street” from the 2015 race, and we finally got to see it properly.

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This is the most hilly race we do. The farm is in a picturesque setting in Bethlehem, Connecticut. This was penultimate race seven in The CT Series of Cross. The finals are at Elm City CX on 17 December. I made up some points on my friendly rival, Stan Lezon, who was holding third spot in the series behind Eneas Freyre, Travis Burleson, and Joe Kubisek. Stan finished two spots behind me today.

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I had a race-long battle with Travis. We were chasing Eneas, an out-of-state rider, and Joe. We shared the workload, alternating pulls for nearly an hour. It was slow going. This is what you call a “heavy course.” The rough grass and serious elevation gain with multiple sharp ups and downs made for a super hard track. There was a little mud, especially in the cornfield. There were no barriers. Some folks had to run numerous climbs, but I was able to ride everything but the long run-up after the stream crossing.

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I spent a lot of time in my little ring. Everyone did. Debbie and Dahlia joined us and after the race, we did some Christmas shopping at the farm store. Team Horst Sports had a strong turnout. Tom Ricardi, Keith Enderle, and Dave Geissert were in the Masters 50+ race. Wade Summers, John Meyerle, Brett Chenail, and Tim Rourke joined me in the Masters 40+ race. Cole Ricardi and Sean Rourke did the Juniors 13-15 year-old race. Shepard was joined by Lars Roti, Boden Chenail, Owen Lezon, and Ethan Lezon in the Juniors 9-12 year-old race. The Juniors races were full fields with 30 kids in each.

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Unfortunately, the 9-12 year olds only did one lap. This also happened at the Cheshire Cross. The organizers of the CT Series and the CCAP need to get together to agree on standard/minimum distances for these kids. For some of them, the race was over in seven minutes. They had already shortened the course to avoid some of the steepest hills, so they should have had them do at least two laps. Our boys were frustrated.

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Thankfully, my legs weren’t sore after yesterday’s Manchester Road Race. I ran with Shepard, so for me, it was like a tempo run. I had good power today, but it was still a hard effort. Our race was one lap too long. I would have gladly given one of our laps to the Juniors. My time was around 55 minutes, and I had to pedal the entire time. There was no coasting on this course.

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I heard a lot of complaints about the climbing, but people were generally smiling. I think most cyclists like to complain about hills. It’s part of the sport. The fact that this race was on Black Friday may have caused registration to be lighter than a weekend event, but I think it was a nice touch. Horst Engineering is closed today, so this was a great way to spend time outside.

Race Results (will be posted when online)

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#mountainbike @mohonkpreserve #mohonkpreserve #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad
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