2021 West Hill Shop Cyclocross

Today’s 30th annual West Hill Shop Cyclocross was a memorable one. It might have been the muddiest edition ever. It was my 14th time doing the race since my first time in 1995. That was the first year I did cyclocross. Last week, I was at the 30th Northampton International Cylcocross, which I also did in 1995.

This great photo credit: Todd Miller

West Hill Shop, or “Putney” as we often refer to it, is one of my favorite races of any type that I’ve done in my long endurance sports career. I absolutely love this event. I’ve done it in several eras. I’ve done it as a single person, a married person, and as a Dad. Today, I got to race at the same time as Shepard. He did the Men’s 3/4 category and I did the singlespeed, which started together at 3:15 P.M.

Debbie and Dahlia joined us on the day trip. We left home just before 9:00 A.M. and drove to Brownville to check out our land. Everything was good there. We stopped at the local deli for lunch, ate it in the van, and then drove back south to Putney. We arrived around 1:30 P.M. which gave us time to do a lap of the course and then warmup in town.

After one lap of the course, we had no interest in doing another. It was muddy and wet. There was no reason to gum up our bikes any more than we did on that one loop. This year’s course was a slight variation of that we have used over the last 10 years. With the mud, the pace was slow. I had to get off five times per lap. Once for the double barriers, twice one the hill (run-up), and twice in the upper field section where there were couple of really tight turns in the mud.

I felt better than yesterday (The Governor’s Guard Rodeo), but still had to manage my effort. Especially on a singlespeed, this was a big gear slog. You could only go so fast. I had no chance keeping up with the fast guys at the front. For the first few laps, I was in a second group. I had a few bobbles on the first lap, chalking it up to only one warmup lap, but settled in and pulled away from that group. I had no one to chase and just rode my pace trying to pick better lines each lap. I finished 5th.

Shepard had a good ride and we both had fun. We were cold and muddy (had I mentioned that) afterwards. We packed the worst of our gear in a bin, put on our warm clothes, and drove home. When we got there, we washed our bikes in backyard and then started a heavy load of laundry.

Putney is one of those races that has a great vibe. I hope that never changes.

Race Results (will be posted when available)

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