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Downeast Cyclocross 2012 Day 1

Team Bikeman - Race Reports

Downeast CX 2012The Downeast Cyclocross weekend is held at Pineland Farms, in New Gloucester, Maine and is part of the Verge New England Cyclocross Series. Held on a dairy farm, it has a reputation for being muddy, and Saturday morning’s Cat 4 Masters (35+) race did not disappoint. The idea of racing in mucky, horrible conditions is what appealed to me about cyclocross to begin with but I was a little concerned about staying warm prior to start if it was pouring rain. However, after absolutely pouring rain all Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday, the rain let up and was replaced by a thick fog by the time I arrived at the venue. It ended up being perfect conditions: wet and soggy but mild enough to go without base layers or leg warmers.

Downeast CX 2012

In my first ever CX race the weekend before, I squandered a decent starting position and was determined to start faster this time. This time I managed to get myself into the top half of the pack of 20 at the end of the finishing straight. But, somehow, by the time we ended up in single file for the run back down the hil,l I found myself sitting in 15th or 16th. So, still some work to do there, I guess.

The race after this point is mostly a blur, but basically I worked my rear end off for the next 45 minutes to try to catch as many riders as I could. By the end of the first lap it seemed like I had passed a fair number of riders but that included some of the back markers of the regular Cat 4 race that had started a minute ahead of us which made it hard to get an idea of where I was within the masters field. I wasn’t sure I could keep up this pace though, but then I remembered this was supposed to hurt so I just kept pushing as hard as I could.

Downeast CX 2012

Not sure if it was during the second or third lap, but after I caught and passed fellow Bikeman rider John Karod I never saw another master again. I kept seeing riders ahead of me but when I worked my way up to them I would see by their number that they were not in my race. Still not moving up! In the end, I rolled across the finish line practically on empty with no clue as to how I had finished. But, I did know that I had left it all out there and had a blast so it really didn’t matter. When the results were posted I was pleased to see that I had managed to work my way up to 8th by the end.

The course was just about everything I hoped it would be. Greasy, tight corners, muck holes, and a twisting, rolling section through the woods that included a pretty steep climb where I was able to overtake a number of riders (mostly regular Cat 4s, unfortunately). Even with the conditions I was able to ride the whole course except for the set of man-made barriers. Managed to stay upright too, although there were a couple of dicey moments where I thought I was going down, but managed to pull it out somehow. Also just managed to avoid running over another rider who went down at speed right in front of me just after transitioning from the pavement onto a muddy, off-camber grass section.

After cleaning up a little, I stuck around for a few more races and took advantage of the refreshments for sale in one of the barns. Overall, a great event that anybody who likes to get muddy and ride bikes should attend.

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