First Cyclocross race in the bag, but first the rest of the week.

After D2R2 from Saturday before, I was pretty tired, but fortunately an easy week this week. On Tuesday after work I rode up to Ashfield to meet Paula there on the lake for some peddleboarding. Afterwards I rolled down 116 back home.

On Wednesday we had the regular NCC cyclocross training. David, Melissa, Tyler, Scott and Gus attended. Like last week it was pretty hot and humid without any cooling breeze. David had setup the barriers in the same way the Blunt park for upcoming Sunday would be setup. My back had been bothering me and D2R2 had made it worse, so I did do the dismounts, but "skipped" the barrier jumps. I had setup the peanut again and we did 5 loops, I took them ez as it was recovery week.

NCC Cross practice field

On Friday Paula and I did a quick spin to the CSA. We had brought lunch with us and had a picknick and swim at the South river along the way.

Cooling off at the South river

On Saterday Paula and I drove to Cambridge to help Julius and Taylor move out of their appartment. Afterwards we met up with Mike and Sandra for a mixed terrain ride in Lexington. We rode the minute man bike path to Reformatory trail and then back over the Battle road. I incorporated some efforts as openers for Sunday. On the way back to Arlington we stopped at Jim's new bike store Battle Road Bikes. I bought some brake pads for my Honey bike.

Mike, Paula and Sandra on Reformatory trail

On Sunday was the first cyclocross race of the season, after no racing the year before due to Covid. The night before I had a little scare when I checked my USA cycling race license, as it said on hold or something. Turned out I had to sign an online waiver, after which it cleared.

The race was in Blunt park in Springfield. Even though Springfield is in Western mass, it was still a good 45 minute drive south along I91. It was great to arrive and see  the usual scenery. Racers warming up, racing on the course, cars with various doors open, bikes, clothes, coolers and people with colorful kits. I had missed that...

I saw some of the racers who had finished already. Tyler, was telling about his first race and that he had not gotten lapped. And Mike my team mate who got 2nd in the 40+ race. Also saw long time familiar riders: Shane, Jenny, Mike, Kathy, David, Matthew, Karin and Eli. Also met some new folks Greg from Deer Farm cross. And I think it was Bill he ownes Columbia/Guipago Cycles bikes. We talked about my Honey steel bike and admired how the chainstays were shaped.

PedalPowerTraining team mate Shane 

My race started at 2pm and had arrived at 11 so had plenty of time to pre-ride between the races. The first part of the course was super gnarly with roots, then there more power sections and a more flowy fast section thru the park. In the end I was able to pre ride the course 3.5 times. On one of the rooty sections I fell hurt my right index finger, not bad enough to not race.

When I went  to start 10 minutes before the race folks had already lined up. There was no call up and folks went early to get a good spot. The Cat 1-4 over 50 field was pretty small so I ended on 3rd and last row in the line up. The over 60 field was lined up behind us and were going to start 1 minute later.

My start sprint was pretty good, but after the first corner heard a loud racket. And I lost the ability to shift my rear derailleur, it was stuck in the smallest (hardest) cog. I put the front derailleur on the small chain ring, but still accelarating was pretty slow. I was able to keep up with the riders ahead of me, but my back was not happy with the low cadence power efforts.

After completing almost a lap I saw Shane and Jenny who were cheering me on and I shouted: "rear derailleur not working". Then Shane asked I wanted to borrow his bike and for sure next time he was standing at the pit with his bike. Shane's bike had a Di2 electronic shifting so it took awhile before I figured that out. But then I had normal gearing again.

After a lap Shane was in the pit again with my bike, he had fixed the rear derailleur, turned out the shifting cable had come loose. And we exchanged the bike again. Now it was another 2 laps and the front of the 60's field was on my wheel, I let them pass and then tried to keep up with them succesfully for a while but then dropped my chain in the 2nd last lap and and had a 100 meter gap to David. In the last lap was able to work my way back to him.

Race results with lap times, notice the fluctuations in lap times

In the end finished 10th in my field, was a little disappointed by the result, but felt good and loved the way the Honey bike handled. After the race discussed the drivetrain with Shane and I'll shift over to a one-by which will make it simpler and should limit the chances of the chain dropping.

Shane taking a picture of Jenny winning the sprint for 4th place

All and all a rest full recovery week with a bang at the end. Here the routes on Veloviewer.

This week rode in Conway, Amherst, Arlington and Springfield.