2019 Cheshire Cross

After yesterday’s Connecticut Middle School XC Championships, I did some CX. Cheshire Cross, which is one of my favorite races, got even better. The already challenging course was made more difficult with some strategic reroutes to avoid use of the ball fields. A week of rain forced the organizers to do more in the woods and to make better use of the back field.

That meant we had more rocks, roots, twists, and turns. I liked this tighter new version of the course which is part of the Zanconato Singlespeed CX Series. The  tricky woods section that includes lots of singletrack, sharp rocks, and roots was still there. Heckle Hill was unrideable for me because my gear choice doesn’t permit it. OK, my legs are just weak!

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The shorter sandy hill with the stairs was all chewed up, so I ran that too. They took the barrier out, which I disapprove of, but you can’t have it all. I liked the back field with the repeated corners. Those sections favor me.

I had a race-long battle with my CX rival Eric Wyzga. I thought I had my tire pressure dialed in before the start, but when I got to the line, they felt soft. I was seeded 7th by www.crossresults.com, but got to start 5th (and on the front row) because of my CT Series of CX points. The start was narrow and I got swarmed in the first 50 meters as I was cautious with my soft front tire on the Jeep road rocks. Thankfully, the tires held air for the full race, though they were softer than I would have liked.

I settled in and was battling for the 5th spot before I faded a bit. Eventually it was just Eric and me fighting for the 7th spot. Keith Burgoyne was chasing us, but we had some space to right more tactically. Even still, we were riding all out. I had a gap with two laps to go, but he closed it down and was pushing me the whole way. We were bumping each other each time up Heckle Hill. Thankfully, he had to run it too.

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Each lap I figured I would bury myself on the run-up to stay in front of him knowing that it would be hard for him to pass me on the technical descent before the finish. On the last lap, he was right on my wheel at the bottom of the hill, which was lined with crazy spectators. Some of them were in costumes, which is a Heckle Hill tradition. They were cheering wildly for the eclectic singlespeed racers, which was motivating. Eric was right on my tail coming up the hill and he yelled for me to “go” and I remounted just in front of him, fumbling a bit on the pedals.

I got clicked in and then rode defensively on the final descent making sure there was no room for him to pass. I sprinted furiously and we were practically next to each other when we hit the line. I was able to beat him, which was satisfying, but even more satisfying was the competition and his thrilling reaction when we caught our breath. He was so stoked to battle like that. Our singlespeed rivalry is growing as it seems like each week we are rubbing shoulders with each other. One of the things that makes cross great are these intra-race rivalries. You don’t have to be fighting for the podium to have fun.

Race Results (will be posted when live)

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#Cyclocross season is winding down. It’s time...but I will still miss it when it’s over. The race days/weekends spent with the @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad has been awesome. Yesterday’s @nbx_bikes G.P. of CX was another great day. The conditions were fun and challenging and the racing was fierce. @horstcycling #teamhorstsports #crossisboss #nbxgp
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Eneas Freyre from @ttendurance was proud of his lap one wreck and wanted the video posted. It helps that he recovered and went on to win the race (Masters 40+ @stage1cycling Belltown Cross). It’s a good lesson to get back up, straighten your bars, and start chasing. #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #cyclocross

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