Written by Lee Strout Monday, 14 September 2015 18:06
This was the 13th year of the Downeast Cyclocross and I’ve raced every one but for two; one due to my heart issues and one due to a pulled hamstring. In 2002 I started out just volunteering at the race to the point of organizing the race in 2009. In 2010, I stepped aside when John Grenier of Rainbow Cycles came back on board as the race promoter but I’ve stayed on as one of the race's staff members.
For anyone who has either promoted or even helped out with a cyclocross race you know just how much work it is. Over the years I’ve helped put on various races from road races, criteriums, time trials and cyclocross and find the cross races to be the most work but also the most rewarding. It’s really a great feeling to hear racers tell you how much they liked the course you’ve had a hand in building. This year we started out the previous Wednesday riding around Pineland Farms putting the final touches on what we wanted for a course. The building didn’t start until Thursday afternoon and went until 5pm when we called it quits to go for a short ride. We picked up where we left off on Friday at 7am and spent most of the day wrapping it all up and then riding our finished product. The bad part of riding it is that we start making changes and we were at Pineland Farms until 6pm.
This year Mother Nature smiled on us with bright sunshine for race day making what turned out to be a fast dry course even better.
Now on to my race... I don’t think I’ve ever had a really good race at the Downeast Cyclocross and this year didn’t change this fact. Some say it’s because this race is known for a bit of elevation change and climbing is not something I do even remotely well and some say it’s because I’ve been hiking around Pineland Farms for the two days building a cross course. Most likely it’s a combination of both.
When my race started I watched most of the field ride away at a pace I knew I couldn’t ride at so I settled into a pace where I was going as hard as I could but knew I could maintain for 45 minutes. Once in plan “B” mode I just focused on having fun and enjoying the course I had a hand in designing. Just so you know plan “B” is trying to not get lapped. Iit didn’t work. On my fifth lap, the leader came by me so fast I thought my boat anchor was dragging on the bottom. By then, my back and legs were tired and hurting so I didn’t care. I have to say though, the highlight of my race was being cheered on by my wife, friends, and Bikeman.com teammates. Mindy even got to see me ride the triple half logs every lap.
Next up for me is the Sucker Brook Cyclocross in Auburn NH on Sept 20th then, on to Gloucester and the rest of the season.
I also want to give a shout out to Zach at Bath Cycle and Ski for a fast bottom bracket bearing replacement when they decided to go bad three days before the race. Also big kudos to Kona, Sram, Carver Wheels, and Challenge Tires for providing me a bike that far exceeds my abilities.
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