2018 The Ice Weasels Cometh

Today I raced my first ever The Ice Weasels Cometh, the iconic December cyclocross race that is the unofficial end to the New England cyclocross season. This year, it isn’t the last race in the region and there are several more races to go around the country, including the USA Cyclocross National Championships , but the party-like atmosphere is the symbolic conclusion.


It was the finale for me. It was my 19th and final race of the season. I had a strong ride and was very happy with the result. I raced the Zanconato Singlespeed CX Series final. It was the last race of the day at 3:00 P.M. as the sun was getting low in the sky. I’ve had a blast doing the Zank Series races. Racing singlespeed was something fresh to do, and I loved the characters that came out for each race.


Ice Weasels is famous for its characters, and they were out in force today. I had a second row start, and my primary goal was to not get beat by anyone in a costume. There was a full field of 160 registrants for the 3:00 P.M. race. They set us off in three waves: 1) Singlespeed Men 2) Fat Bike Open and 3) Singlespeed Women.


That meant that by the second lap, we were encountering lapped traffic. That’s part of the sport, especially singlespeed. I didn’t mind. It added to the fun as we had to dodge all kinds of characters, including Stormtroopers, Santa Claus, a hockey referee, a zebra, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, various animals, and a host of other colorful people.


I was racing hard, and was hoping to pick up a spot in the overall standings, but I can appreciate the shenanigans. It made me smile more than once and I needed that. I came into the race in 7th place. I missed two key races that I had pre-registered for, and would have solidly been in 5th place with finishes at Cheshire and Putney, but mathematically, the best I could do today was to leapfrog friendly rival Eric Wyzga who was in 6th. I ended up completing eight of the 12 Zank races.


This season was a sort of comeback for me. I didn’t miss any cyclocross as a result of the broken leg I suffered in January at the first USA Cyclocross National Championship of 2018, but I was out of commission for many months and it took a long time to heal. Back in August, I started cross season slowly, had some peaks, and troughs during the fall, but ended with my best fitness of the year. That’s so much better than how last season ended.  I don’t think I’m meant to race cross in January, and I likely won’t ever have to again because  the “nats” were moved back to December, and that is why 2018 has two championships. The first was in Reno, NV, and the second is in Louisville, KY next week.


Shepard and I had planned to go to Louisville, but as the season wore on, we reassessed and decided to skip the trip. He wrapped up last weekend at NBX CX and today was my swan song. Since was at a camping trip with his Scout troop,  and Debbie and Dahlia were hanging out together, today’s race was a solo adventure. Even still, I saw lots of teammates and friends at Medfield State Hospital in Massachusetts.

The venue brought back memories of the old Newtown CX course at Fairfield Hills, also a closed and dilapidated state mental hospital. The old buildings in Medfield made for a really neat environment. The course was full of twists and turns with lots of slippery corners. There were three sets of barriers, including one on an off-camber uphill. The other two were on either side of the central party zone. The set closest to the finish had a “suicide” rail ride that bridged the two barriers. If you could manage to ride the balance beam, you could zoom past a dismounted rider, but I opted for the old school running. There were a couple of spectacular crashes when riders slipped off the narrow plank.


The weather was OK. It was freezing, about 28 degrees Fahrenheit, when we started. There had been brilliant sun all day long, but it was very low in the sky when we got going. I got a good start, and the moved up towards the top five. I hung on to the lead group for most of lap one, which included Mike Wissel, Connor Walsh, Bradford Smith, and Anthony Vecca. As we came on to the asphalt the led to the finish, our group got strung out. On lap two, I was dangling off a small group that included Anthony, but there were many riders chasing us.


I knew I had to beat Eric, and likely by a spot or two, so after two laps, when he was hot on my wheel, I was nervous. At one point, he surged past me with another rider, but I bided my time, and passed them back. I had a strong third (of four) laps and picked up another spot passing Bradford Smith who was either having an off day or just taking it easy. I came through the finish with one to go and I was in 4th or 5th. I’m not sure where I ended up as I didn’t see the results after the race.

I continued to apply pressure in an effort to keep Eric behind me. I gained more time on Eric and Bradford during the last half of the 4th lap. I rode a clean race, whereas Eric, and others had mishaps and crashes. I wove my way around lots of traffic and ended up in front of both of those guys. Like I said, I’ll find out where I finished when they post the results online. I hope it was 4th, but it may have been 5th. Bradford was in between Eric and me, so maybe I’ll jump him in the overall standings. The top three in the overall were Mike, Connor, and then Bradford. The top three women were Kerry Litka, Karen Purtill, and Amanda Resch.


After the race, I changed up in an attempt to warm up. I went back to the party zone to watch the awards and participate in the raffle. It was a fun ending to a great cross season. I celebrated with a little solo dinner (but no drinking!) at Homefield Kitchen & Brewery in Sturbridge. They have an awesome vegan section on their standard menu. When I got home, I unpacked the cyclocross gear bag that I’ve been using for the past four months. It felt good to put everything away.


Keith Beausoleil was also in the front group, so I ended up 5th, which was just fine. He got second behind Mike Wissell. Anthony Vecca was 3rd, and Connor Walsh was 4th.

Race Results


1 Response to “2018 The Ice Weasels Cometh”

  1. 1 Travis Reed 10 December 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Outstanding Post – Dig The Photos – Slick Bike There Behind The Bus – Well Done


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