2018 Bishop’s Orchards CX

We were at another cyclocross race today, and the conditions couldn’t have been more different from yesterday. The inaugural Bishop’s Orchards CX didn’t disappoint. The hilly orchard in Guilford, Connecticut was an excellent venue for the CT Series of Cross finals.


For Shepard and me, this was the wettest and muddiest race of the year. We skipped last weekend’s Supercross Cup which would have been the muddiest. The irony is that it was mild and sunny. The issue was that it rained heavily overnight. In Bolton, about an hour north of Guilford, I could hear the rain pouring down in the middle of the night. The latest deluge added another inch to an incredibly waterlogged State of Connecticut.


Bishop’s Orchard literally had a river running through it…and we had to cross that river. Debbie and Dahlia joined us for the trip to this shoreline community, and they joined a sizable throng of spectators who donned their “muck boots” to watch some cross on a Sunday. I hope this race repeats in 2019 because I would love to do it in better conditions. I don’t mind the mud, but there is always a limit and I think we crossed it today. We left some ruts behind. I hope they will have us back.


The orchard and farm stand venue was picturesque and the team behind the race pulled out all of the stops. The volunteers were helpful from the moment we arrived to park at the venue. They were out in force, and they were outfitted in custom-made sweatshirts to honor the event. The power wash station was a big plus on a day when our gear was in rough shape.


The Junior races started at 8:45 A.M. with the 9-12 year-old category and then continued at 9:15 A.M. with the combined 13-14 year-old category and 15-18 year-old category.  Ethan Lezon was the CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad’s only representative in the 9-12 race, and he rode well. Shepard was a little tired after spending all day yesterday at Secret Squirrel CX in Raynham, MA, but he persevered. The Bishop’s Orchards course was an absolute slog. It had a fair amount of climbing and the mud required you to run in several sections. The grass and mud clogged your gears and brakes while weighing your bike down.


The river crossing was rideable, but it was an adventure. Shepard was joined in the race by CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad mates Boden Chenail and Lars Roti. These three have been troopers all season long. Boden had a fantastic ride today.


The Masters 40+ race was at 11:00 A.M. Whereas yesterday I opted to race the singlespeed category, I decided to race my age group today (with gears) and get home at a  decent hour. The SS race is almost always the last race of the day. Yesterday’s trip was a 12 hour ordeal and my legs were feeling it today. I had a strong ride in Raynham, but today I was off. The Team Horst Sports Masters in my race included Andris Skulte, Art Roti, and Brett Chenail. We shared the course with the Masters 50+ race and were represented by Dave Geissert and John Meyerle.


My first lap was a disaster. I was in too big a gear for most of it, before realizing I should just drop down to my little ring and spend the rest of my race only worrying about shifting my rear derailleur. I ended up farther back than I would have hoped, but salvaged my race by improving in the last two laps and riding some of the features that I ran the first few times through. About halfway into the race, Dan Coady caught and passed me. He built a pretty good lead on me, but in the last two laps, I clawed my way back and was able to burst past him on the last lap, which was good for the ego. Dan and I go way back, so it was just a friendly intra-race battle that makes cross so much fun.


I was knackered afterwards and it took a while to “rough” clean the bikes and get them packed away. We had our second post-race vegan celebration in 24 hours when we stopped at the Shoreline Diner and Vegetarian Enclave, which was only a few miles from the venue. Whenever we are in the area, we make it a point to dine there and enjoy the “all-day breakfast” option. I felt much better after filling up on vegan tofu scramble and a full stack of gluten free blueberry pancakes.


We got home at a decent hour, but had more cleaning to do, including a substantial load of laundry and more bike cleaning. When I was standing in the bike wash line after the race, I remarked to another rider that running would be such a simpler sport.


Race Results (will be posted when available)

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