2021 USA Cyclocross National Championships (Singlespeed) + Season Wrap-Up

As last Saturday’s daylight faded at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois, my 2021 cyclocross season came to an end. The conclusion of the Singlespeed Championship was much less eventful than 2017 when I DNF’d with a broken leg. Even though this year’s SSCX race may have been one too many (number 19 on the season), I came to Illinois to finish what I didn’t in Reno. Before I continue with the story, you really should check out this fantastic video. It’s delightful.

SSCX has such a great vibe, and the race at Nats is always awesome. My “A” race was the Masters 50-54 Championship, which I wrote about last week, but the singlespeed race was the capstone to my season.

This was my first year in the 50+ age group and I made the most of it. I’m technically 49 until later in 2022, but with cyclocross’ weird age group rules, I got a head start on my 50+ racing. That’s why cyclocross was my main overall endurance sports objective for 2021. Despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I pinned a number on 40 times this year. Along with the 19 cyclocross races, I did 11 triathlons (nine were off-road), four road running races, three trail running races, and three mountain bike races. That’s a good mix for me.

This is absolutely my best cyclocross season in the 26 years that I’ve been doing the sport. My www.crossresults.com profile proves that point emphatically. My cyclocross season goals included 1) winning my age group in the CT Series of Cross 2) consistently placing top 10 in the regional age group races and 2) finishing top 20 in my age group at Nats. I accomplished most of this. I fell short of the Nats goal, but made up for that with stellar regional races at the GP of Beverly and the Northampton International. Arguably, other than Nats, they were the two most competitive Masters races that I did all year. They had strong fields and I performed above my own expectations.

I mixed in a few New England SSCX Series races for fun and then as noted, finished the season on the singlespeed bike at Nats. The final race day had lots of drama. My age group race was a week ago (last Thursday). On Friday, I had a full day that included a training ride, lots of cheering at the race venue, a supplier visit, and Cross Spikes sales at the race EXPO. On Friday afternoon, a storm front blew in and it brought heavy rain and high winds. My teammates, Arlen Zane Wenzel and Adam Skepner, decided to take down all of the Team HORST Sports and HORST Cycling stuff (i.e. tent, table, displays, etc.) in advance of the storm. A lot of other teams and companies left up their tents and paid a heavy price. We learned our lesson in Reno when we lost a tent in a wind storm.

In Wheaton, the winds accelerated overnight and by morning, they had made ruins of the EXPO and club/team area. The winds also wreaked havoc with the course, which resulted in a three hour delay and cancellation of a few non-championship races. The winds persisted throughout the morning, but we were eventually able to set our tent up again. Saturday morning and early afternoon were hardly restful, so by the time the singlespeed race start came at 3:45 P.M., I was already cold and tired. The cheering on Saturday was extra special because the race schedule included most of the Junior races. We had two CCAP Team HORST Junior Squad riders out there. Alexandra Miller-Davey and Boden Chenail. Each was in their respective 15-16 year old age group. They were joined by several other CCAP Travel Team athletes and I screamed loudly for all of them. I wasn’t at the top of my game by the time my race start rolled around.

Regardless, I gave it a go and hung tough for three laps, but I was outclassed by the all-ages field of talented riders. The conditions were tough. The course was muddy, heavy, and slick. The hills and off-camber turns were challenging. I had an OK start, but steadily lost ground. I’m usually good when there is a lot of running, but it was slow running if you know what I mean. I could have switched to “party mode” and started taking hand-ups and horsing around, but that isn’t my style. I pushed hard until the end, even sprinting for a spot, even though I was in 60th place. I had to end my season pushing because that is how I started it back in August.

Overall, Nats was great experience. Arlen and Adam were awesome. We sold a lot of Cross Spikes, made a lot of new friends, and spent time with old friends. The course conditions were ideal for our marketing efforts – they were muddy and slippery.

When I finished my last race, I had to clean my bike because it was covered in mud and the drivetrain was packed with Cantigny Park grass. By the time I got back to the tent, Arlen and Adam had most of our stuff packed up. They were ready to go. My hands were frozen solid and it took a while to clean up and get warm clothes on. We departed for home as the sun was setting. We said our goodbyes to our EXPO neighbors, and hit the road. I took the first shift and drove for a few hours. Adam took over and drove until we stopped for dinner. I didn’t warm up until we reached Ohio.

The three of us “traded pulls” for 15 hours and after dropping the boys off, I pulled into my driveway around 10:30 A.M. on Sunday morning. I was exhausted but ecstatic to be home. I spent the afternoon cleaning my bikes (again), doing laundry, cleaning the trailer, and putting away the gear that I won’t need until next season. It felt good to end the season healthy. I’ve got a slew of minor issues after a season full of crashes (part of the game), and hard efforts. It was great to reconnect with Debbie and the kids after several days on the road. Looking back on the 2021 cyclocross season, I have nothing but good feelings. I can name several races where I could have done better. That competitive desire is what keeps me going, but in the end, none of those results matter and no one will ever care. If I’m having fun on bikes, I’m happy.

Race Results

1 Response to “2021 USA Cyclocross National Championships (Singlespeed) + Season Wrap-Up”

  1. 1 2022 Colchester Half Marathon | Life Adventures Trackback on 26 February 2022 at 4:47 pm

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A final @hardrock100run update for now and it’s a bit of a bummer. @trailrunningmom stoped at Animas Forks Aid Station just shy of the 59 mile mark. Persistent nausea and the inability to eat or drink weakened her. She arrived in Ouray in this condition and even a 40 minute nap didn’t improve the situation. She is at peace with her decision to stop and it helps that she finished this beast of a race in 2017 going the other direction. I unexpectedly joined her between Ouray and Animas Forks because I didn’t want to see her go alone. We got to suffer together for eight hours and enjoyed an amazing moonlit night. In our household there is always more to learn when you miss a goal than when you hit one.
@trailrunningmom has quite a crew assembled in Ouray at the @hardrock100run We await her arrival. From the looks of the tracking she was likely suffering in the climb and dealing with the t-storms. She might have had to hunker down because her location didn’t change for a long time. Now she appears to me hammering the six plus mile descent to the LOW point in the course in Ouray at a 7,792 feet.
Riding out the latest storm in Ouray. This weather is something else. To be a Hardrocker this year is going to take extra gumption. ⛈ @trailrunningmom appears to be moving steadily (according to the tracker) but the climb to Kroger’s Canteen slowed her. She gets a lot of downhill into Ouray so let’s hope she can keep running. We are planning a longer pit stop here including a full wardrobe change. Fingers crossed she gets here by dark around 9:00 P.M. @hardrock100run
Telluride was a blur. @trailrunningmom left the aid station around 3:20pm or so. She changed her socks (needed dry ones), got some solid food, freshened up in the “latrine”, and got moving again. We met up with Amy and John and they were a big help. Even my friend Mike, a part time Telluride resident, stopped by Town Park to cheer and assist. On to Ouray…she won’t be there for five hours or so. There are serious ⛰ ⛰ in between.
@trailrunningmom came into Chapman Gulch at 11:46am but if you are tracking then you know that. She was doing fine at 18.1 miles. Little D said Mom is pacing well but wasn’t as “exuberant” as past races. A big rainstorm just blew through and the clouds are threatening again. Next up: Telluride
Back online! Here are scenes from the Chapman Gulch Aid Station @hardrock100run It was a 1.6 mile walk from Ophir Village. Awesomeness.
@hardrock100run is underway! Go @trailrunningmom !!!! 🏃🏽‍♀️ ⛰ 😊
Our kids “aged out” of the Hardblock Run but we still loved spectating the 2022 edition. The @hardrock100run course briefing and pre-race meeting are done. T-storms have been rolling through this afternoon. The excitement is building. 145 runners from 13 countries and 28 states will be aided by 350 volunteers as they tackle the iconic 102.5 mile course in the clockwise direction. Plus, we fell in love with a trailer @sasquatchcampers to replace “Herman” someday!
Camp Hardrock continues. The @hardrock100run starts at 6:00 A.M. Mountain Time on Friday. Today was the Women of Hardrock Q&A. 17 of the record 27 female entrants participated including @trailrunningmom who picked up her bib number. The excitement is building.

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