Tuesday, 01 October 2013 00:00
Sucker Brook Cyclocross 9/22/2013 Auburn, NH
On Saturday, September 21 I headed down to Sucker Brook Cross in Auburn, New Hampshire with my daughter for my first race of the season and her first race ever. I was looking for an early season race to introduce her to the sport before the weather turned too bad. She’s been enthusiastic about getting into racing ‘cross this year, and I didn’t want her first experience to be too miserable. It was also relatively close to home, being “only” a three and a half hour drive away. Still far enough to have to stay down there the night before though. This allowed us to go watch some of the later races at White Park in Concord on Saturday before heading back down to Auburn to do a couple of laps on the Sucker Brook course.
The morning of the race we awoke to the promised heavy downpour. Luckily, though, it started clearing much earlier than forecast and by the time we headed out for some practice laps before my 9 AM Masters 35+ Cat 4/5 race it had already stopped raining. The course was definitely going to be wet and greasy in spots for my race, though, and there were a few downright muddy spots. Good cyclocross conditions, really, and not cold at all.
After doing one hot lap on my own I lined up for the start with fellow Bikeman riders Derek Hilton and Teddy Homer. I lined up on the 4th row in the nearly 70 rider field and the start up the pavement went without incident. That’s always my least favorite part of the race, but everybody seemed to be playing it relatively safe. Soon we were into the twisty, turny part of the course on the field. The corners got chewed up in a hurry and there were a few crashes, including a few hard ones on a wooden bridge that almost took me down on my third lap. Lots of jostling for position on the first lap with the racers packed together and it got a bit wild the first time through the sand pit as I almost got kicked in the head by a particularly tall rider as he dismounted awkwardly. I parried the blow with my wrist, and thought nothing of it until after the race when I was having difficulty signing the consent form for my daughter to race.
By the end of the second lap things had thinned out and it was wide open, back and forth racing for another 3 laps. In the end I finished just inside the top 50%, which was better than I expected given that I hadn’t raced since the middle of July and really hadn’t been doing any real training either. But, at the time I didn’t have time to worry about how I’d done since I had to get my daughter registered and ready to race at 11 o’clock with the Junior 10-14’s.
An hour later, with the sun shining and the course drying out, Kayla was lined up with the other kids behind the Women’s 3/4 field. The first bit of excitement occurred when one of the kids fell over causing a domino effect. I heard a crash and looked over to see girls and bikes in a tangled heap that needed to be sorted out. The second bit came when it was announced that they would be doing three laps instead of the two that were advertised on Bikereg. It was news to all the parents but it didn’t seem to faze the kids.
For the next 35 minutes I ran from one viewing point to another snapping pictures and shouting encouragement. The point was to just complete her first race, but when she came through the finish area to head out for the final lap she looked pretty cooked so I let her know that she was currently the 4th place girl. That seemed to perk her up a bit and she rode strong on the last lap. She was exhausted, but happy when she finished after 35 minutes of racing, and had lots of stories from her race to tell on the drive home. All in all a very successful weekend!
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