Since I didn’t manage to make it to the Minuteman CX race last year due to some alarm setting failure and mid-week races are hard so I didn’t make it to the Midnight Ride of Cross prior to Gloucester, this was my first time heading out to the Bolton Fair (.. in Lancaster). In an interesting scheduling setup, they had the cat 4 race at 11am but also interestingly, with the juniors. This plus the proximity made it a great race to have Kara and Madeline come out to watch and cheer me on which was super awesome.
Venue was good. Nice, simple grassroots race without a ton of vendors, tents, etc. While I appreciate the production value of a Gloucester or a Providence, I think that these sorts of races are what it’s really all about. A pre-ride of the course showed it to be more muddy than I expected and there were a fair number of slippery turns coupled with some power, especially on the first half where there was some significant-for-a-cross-race climbing. And there was some decent wind gusting which could be an interesting obstacle of sorts. Glad to still have Oscar’s tubulars but wondering a bit if I was going to have the lungs/legs for racing. One way to find out, though.
With the staging having me starting in what would have been the third row, I had a goal of making it into the top 20 for the day. But we ended up staging behind the juniors which meant I was probably on the 5th row or so. They got us started and I took off. I had another halfway decent start and managed to move up a decent amount by the grass and put on the power through the first uphill to get past most of the juniors and a decent chunk of my field. But it hurt. A lot.
Wood chips as a sand pit alternative. Photo courtesy of Kara Katz
Course was pretty nice. The wood chips were a nice little touch and it wasn’t too boring. The flyover was out for safety reasons so only two sets of barriers to force dismounts. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find my power for the most part. And it was pretty turn-y and turns are still my nemesis — I slow down way too much for them and then have to work way too hard leaving them. Anyone want to volunteer to help me out with cross cornering? Seriously. I need it.
Passing a guy and trying not to have course tape get tangled up. Photo courtesy of Kara Katz
At one point, Marty from Geekhouse caught me and we had a good little thing going for a lap or two where we’d pass each other back and forth. But one time through the deep mud just sucked me in and he got away from me, never to be caught again. Was probably some of the windiest time but it always seemed to be a cross wind so I couldn’t just draft and recover.
Anyway, kept sliding back but whenever I’d look back, I’d see another Quaddie (there were four of us in the race — Jim, Justin, Pat and myself) and push a little harder to stay ahead of them. That ended up being effective and I was the top finisher from the team, 23rd of the 81 finishers (90-ish starters?). 3:30 down on the winner.
Not too unhappy with it but had hoped for a little bit better. It was a pretty clean race for me outside of the cornering being kind of like a moron. And I was sick the week before and haven’t been training well regardless with all of the move related stuff.
So going to try to get in some solid training over the next couple of weeks — intervals and some skills work. Really do need to get the cornering down. Hopefully the results I want will then follow.
Russ Campbell gets what might be the best race face photo of me ever