2021 Bush Hill MTB Race

Today’s inaugural Bush Hill MTB Race in Manchester, Connecticut nearly felt like a pre-pandemic event. The vibe was awesome, the weather was awesome, and the competition was awesome. The only thing that sucked was the pollen, which was made worse by the dry conditions and persistent dust. However, my complaints and sneezing are acceptable given how much fun we had.

Team HORST and the CCAP Team HORST Junior Squad were out in force for the second week in a row. It seemed like there were more than 150 kids in the morning junior races, which included beginners and Category 3 racers between the ages of 9 and 17. I’m sure there were some younger ones too.

Dahlia had a great race, completing three laps of the technical and fast course. She was all smiles, which made Debbie and me smile. After her race, we rushed to her soccer game back in Bolton and she had a great game. Eventually we returned to Bush Hill Farm Preserve for the afternoon races.

Joining her in the morning races was Lars Roti and Tanner Pierce, plus many friends from other teams. Both boys had fantastic races and they hung around the rest of the day to cheer on their teammates and to play in the dirt pile/jump.

Shepard and I started at 1:00 P.M. with the Category 2 and Category 1 racers. I was in the last wave, with the singlespeed competitors. Shepard was in the Category 2 Junior 12-17 field. He and his three teammates, Owen Wilson, Boden Chenail, Sean Rourke, and Alexandra Miller-Davey did well. Sean was third in the Category 1 Juniors. Alexandra was also third amongst Category 2 Juniors. Owen, Boden, and Shepard did battle between each other and finished in that order, taking 4th, 5th, and 6th amongst the boys.

Arthur Roti and Brett Chenail were in the Masters field, but Brett’s race ended shortly after the start because of a broken derailleur. I had a decent race, but the steep climbs were hard on my legs. Thankfully after the first lap of congestion, things spread out. I went out with the singlspeed pack (seven of us), but decided to settle into a tempo after the first hard lap. I didn’t want to blow up and fade like last week, but rather wanted to ride consistent laps and ideally pick it up at the end.

My plan worked perfectly. I was happy with my steady heart rate and rode within my limits. I didn’t have to get off on the toughest climb and was pleased to ride it every lap. I ended up in a battle with Sam Veggeberg. I caught up to him with two laps to go and we raced each other all the way to the finish. With one to go, I had about 10 seconds on him, but he surprised me and closed down the gap on the big climb on the last lap. He charged over the top and railed the descent, but I stayed within five seconds of him through the fields and then caught back up on the doubletrack climb before we went into the woods for the last time.

He hammered through the singletrack, but I clung to his wheel. I got in his draft as we weaved our way through the last section of field as we approached the finish. There were several turns before the final right hander on to the gravel straightaway that led to the finish. I passed him before the final turn, flew through the corner, and opened up my sprint immediately hoping to get a gap. I could have drifted right and shut the door on him, but I wanted to play fair and held my line. He started to gain on me and pulled even as we approached the line. It was hard to discern where the exact finish was but I threw my bike at the moment that I though we hit the line and wasn’t sure who got it.

It turned out that the official gave me 5th spot relegating him to 6th, which pleases me, especially because he is half my age. I was toast after the finish and never got to thank him for the battle, so if he reads this, kudos to him for pushing me all the way to the finish.

I was well off of Anthony Vecca’s pace. He won our category for the second week in a row, but I felt better about today’s race and am looking forward to more clashes over the summer and into cyclocross season.

This event hosted by CCAP was a massive success and the Bush Hill Farm Preserve is a great venue with some fun trails. I can’t wait to race here again. The short track (1.8 miles) would make for a great weekly training race course. I’m biased because it is only 15 minutes from home.

2 Responses to “2021 Bush Hill MTB Race”

  1. 1 Jed Kornbluh 17 May 2021 at 11:44 am

    Thanks again, Scott. The support from the Horst crew is very appreciated.

  1. 1 2021 Soapstone Mountain Trail Race | Life Adventures Trackback on 16 May 2021 at 9:20 pm

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