2018 Gran Prix of Gloucester

Every year, the Gran Prix of Gloucester is the biggest cyclocross race in New England. It is occasionally referred to as the “world championships of New England.” It draws the best competition and with that, comes bragging rights in the region.

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Team Horst Sports and the CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad ventured to Cape Ann on the north shore of Massachusetts for the 20th anniversary of this classic. For me, it was a mixed bag. My form is reaching a peak, and I’m stoked about that, but on Sunday, misfortune hit me again as I flatted with 2.5 laps to go on the gnarly course. I was riding strong, just inside the top 40 overall, in a field of 105 Masters 40+ and Junior 15-18 year old racers. Since when is top 40 “riding strong?”

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When you are Gloucester. The competition was fierce and the racing was flat-out. I was a long way from the pit, and had to run more than half a lap to get to my bike, which is my singlespeed. So, the last two laps were like a parade for me, just trying to finish. With the singlespeed on this course, there was only so fast I could go. I couldn’t make up any ground and truthfully, lost two more spots even after I pitted. In total, I lost nearly 25 spots. Oh well.

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Alas, that was not the highlight of the weekend. Saturday went better for me, despite the extreme conditions. Our 11:30 A.M. race was cold, rainy, and very muddy. It made for some of the toughest cross conditions in memory. I managed 36th in the stacked field of 102 riders. I was the 21st Masters rider. There were 15 Juniors in front of me, and they were very fast. I was satisfied with this result because I often struggle in muddy and slick conditions. I hung in there and was able to beat all but one of the group of six that I was battling with over the last two laps.

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Most of them were juniors, including the one guy who got away from us with 1.5 laps to go. I gave it my all, and led our group for the entire last lap and a half, stringing them out in the process. I nearly caught that lone rider on the line too, and finished only one second behind him. On Saturday, I had good power and that is why Sunday’s result was so frustrating. I felt even better yesterday in the dry and cool conditions, and normally have a strong second day when we have a double race weekend.

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The rest of the team also had a good weekend. Despite Saturday’s rain and cold, we enjoyed the beauty of Stage Fort Park. We did a few rides up the coast and around the point in East Gloucester. The cool down after yesterday’s race was another highlight because three of the Junior Squad members joined us for the coastal ride and we all enjoyed the ocean views.

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On Day 1, some of us hung around all day, and the weather improved. By late afternoon, the skies had cleared and the sun was shining brightly. We watched the Elite Women and then the Elite Men. The guys had a great battle and it was a very entertaining race to watch.

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It was a lot of work to pack up, but the entire team spent time together at a local hotel. We shared a fun meal and recounted the first day. Day 2 was all about the racing, and then we packed up again, with most of us leaving early in the afternoon before the racing was over. Two races 2.5 hours from home on an October weekend is a lot. However, for Gloucester, it was worth the effort.

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Shepard had a fine weekend, finishing 20th on Sunday and 19th on Saturday in a strong Cub Juniors 9-14 field that shared the course as the same time as the Category 4/5 Women. He got to ride in traffic and experienced the excitement of Gloucester for the second year in a row. Sean Rourke, Boden Chenail, Lars Roti, Owen Lezon, and Ethan Lezon all had good rides. So did the children of other Team Horst members: Nate Summers, Amanda Meyerle, and Johnny Meyerle (in the combined Masters/Juniors race with me).

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On the Masters side, Art Roti, John Meyerle, Brett Chenail, Wade Summers, Dave Geissert, and Keith Enderle all raced hard. Dave got the “flat bug” like I did. Other than our misfortune, the other guys were strong. Tim Rourke did yeoman’s work as a course marshal, with the awesome finish line location. His volunteer work was a symbol of our experience at Gloucester. It was all good.

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Race Results, Day 1

Race Results, Day 2

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My first ever The Ice Weasels Cometh was my 19th and final #cyclocross race of the season. I had a strong ride and was very happy considering that my second race of calendar 2018 (last race of last season) ended up with me breaking a leg. #iceweasels was a much better result and it’s great to finish with peak fitness. Doing most of the @zanksscx gave me a fresh reason to push through this cross season. Today’s race was a solo adventure but I saw lots of teammates and friends. #teamhorstsports #crossspikes #sevencycles @seven_cycles #zanksscx #horstengineering #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross
Sunshine! ☀️ Despite what others may say... #cyclocross in December is SO much better when it is sunny. Today @nbx_bikes Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Day 1, it was cold but clear and dry. I wouldn’t call it a beach day, but it was pretty good. I’m not so sure about Day 2 forecast for tomorrow. #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #nbxcx #crossspikes #crossisboss 🚴🏽
It was “moist” at the CT Series of Cross finals @bishopsorchards #cyclocross #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstengineering #ctseriesofcx #crossspikes @the_ccap #crossisboss
More #secretcx fun. Tom and Brett represented in the Masters race. #teamhorstsports #crossspikes @horsteng @racerockhard #cyclocross
#secretcx was really rad. The modified course (due to wicked wet fields) was “mountain bikey” and mint. They shouldn’t change a thing. #teamhorstjuniorsquad #teamhorstsports #crossspikes @horsteng @racerockhard #cyclocross
Three fun videos from the @nohocx Juniors 9-14 year old race this morning. These kids are all champs! @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstengineering @victuscoffee @bicycleseastct #teamhorstsports #crossspikes #cyclocross #crossisboss
Last night’s @lutzmuseum Children’s #Poetry Reading was lovely. Our little #poet thrives in environments like this.
Good sunrise 🌅 ride. The extra sleep 💤 helped. The leaves 🍁 were lovely. #connecticut residents: Vote YES on Question # 2 #openspace #valleyfalls #boltonheritagefarm #cycling #hiking #trailrunning #sevencycles @ctforestandparkassociation 🚴‍♀️
🍁 ☀️ #october #autumn

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