2022 Secret Squirrel CX

Secret Squirrel is one of my favorite cyclocross races. It has a great vibe. Here is the good and bad from the 2022 edition. Shepard and I have raced this modern New England classic on several occasions. We returned this year, but only he raced. I was the driver, mechanic, and spectator.

Some good things about this race include the fun and challenging course. With the right mountain bike (light and fast) you have an advantage over a cyclocross bike, but cross is cross and it should be raced on a proper cross bike. The Raynham, Massachusetts course is undulating, tight, twisty, sandy, and full of roots. There is very little open space to ride fast. I wish they added more field riding, but it is what it is and that’s why it’s Secret Squirrel.

The under 19 Junior race was at 8:30 A.M. which was early for us. Plus the race was $30. The races was only scheduled for 20 minutes. The drive from Connecticut was an hour and 45 minutes. For these reasons, it was a bad value.

When I registered Shepard, there were only nine boys signed up for the U19 race. The better value today was the Amateur Men field. It was a 10:30 A.M. start and was $45 which made me cringe. That’s expensive, especially when you consider that it was sold out with 110 riders. At least the race was scheduled for 40 minutes.

110 is a lot of riders on a tight course. I think there were a few other big fields as well. Shepard started in the fifth row and had a lot of ground to make up. He had an OK start, but it was so log jammed that he lost a minute and 44 seconds to the leader on lap one. That’s tough. The hole shot was very important today.

He steadily worked his way up in the field and finished 5th. This was his first cyclocross race of the season. His focus has been cross country running and he had a very good season. Thankfully, he had fun and I loved watching him.

I was disappointed that they only went three deep for prizes. They took in nearly $5,000 for this one field of 110 riders and only gave merchandise to the top three finishers. That was a bummer.

Secret Squirrel was still fun. Even though we didn’t stick around, we saw some friends. Teammate Tom Ricardi also raced. He said that his son Cole joined him too. That’s cool. Like Shepard, it had been a long time since he raced cross. I also had fun cheering for Barry Ralston with his wife Carolyn and daughter Hunter. Their family also shares a passion for endurance sports. For a moment, I wished that I was racing, but then the feeling passed. I didn’t even bring a cross bike with me. Watching was good enough.

Race Results

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Some sights and sounds from yesterday’s Secret Squirrel CX. #cyclocross #teamhorstsports @horstcycling #crossspikes #teamhorstjuniorsquad
Connecticut XC State Open Championships #running #cc #crosscountry #trailrunning
Fantastic day in #hartford at the #aerospacealley trade show. The morning workforce development session included 40+ schools and 1,200+ students. Crossing the #connecticutriver at sunrise and then at sunset was spectacular.
Senior Night at Bolton High School: Bolton vs. Somers vs. Coventry. Made it from the middle school race in time for the boys race. Missed the girls but stayed for the festivities. #xc #running 🏃🏽‍♂️
Fantastic evening for XC at my middle school alma mater. Bolton vs. Vernon vs. Porter. @trailrunningmom is a wonderful coach! #running #xc 🏃🏽‍♀️
From #newyork Sunday for @pearljam at @thegarden to #Chicago on Wednesday for @imtschicago it’s already been a busy week with lots of planes, trains, automobiles, and jet packs! Amazing technology at the show.
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.

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