Written by Eric Olds Friday, 18 September 2015 00:00
Downeast Cyclocross was back again for the second year in a row after taking a year off. Previously, it had been part of the Verge New England series and included back to back days of UCI elite races. The past two years it has taken the form of a more casual one day event held up near the Pineland Farms campus in New Gloucester, Maine, rather than through their adjacent dairy farm. The course is one of the faster ones I’ve raced on, featuring a few small climbs and technical sections, but also plenty of wide open, hammer your brains out sections.
There were a few changes to this year’s course that were improvements over last year in my opinion. First, the two sets of triple logs (big ones) were gone. Instead, one was placed at the bottom of a small rise, forcing you to dismount and run up it. There was also another run-up before the finish. This featured two small logs awkwardly placed in a switchback. Another new feature was a “vortex of doom” spiral in the upper field. Always entertaining and a good place to see who might be gaining on you and who you might be gaining on.
The puzzle of the day was three small half-logs near the beginning of the course. They could easily be ridden, but the question was whether it was faster to run or ride them. In practice I tried to ride them fast and ended up going over the handle bars pretty hard. Not exactly a confidence booster for the race! During the race I ended up doing both and decided that riding them slow was faster overall. I could run them faster, but then I’d lose time in the remount (due to my crappy remounting “skills”).
Race day was pretty hot for cyclocross with sun and temps in the upper 70’s. I decided to race the Cat 4/5 race this year instead of the Masters 45+ so there would be a gap between my race and my daughter’s. After a longer than advertised race of close to an hour I ended up finishing right in the middle at 23rd out of 45 starters, but had to turn myself inside out even for that. I had it in my head that it would be a four lap race so seeing four to go after two laps took the wind out of my sails for a bit but I ended up finishing with two final strong laps, with my last lap being my fastest of the day.
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