Written by Paul Wojciak Thursday, 08 October 2015 17:02
The culmination of Holy Week amongst the cyclocross cognoscenti leads to Divine Providence. This early season gathering of the North American cyclocross elite results in on of the largest and well attended race weekends all season. This year's edition October 2-4 offered riders a few changes from prior years. Strategic use of man made flyovers allowed the course to reach some previously unused features. The run up included in the Saturday course was a doozy unlikely to be seen in other UCI approved courses. The course flowed very differently between the two days with most riders having a definite preference. I liked the tacky mud on Saturday but there's no denying that the flow of Sunday's course made for a high speed romp around Roger Williams Park.
My fellow Bikemanner Christian Baks and I ran into a few other team mates during the weekend. Chris was racing in the tough 35+ Masters fields. I like the 50+ age range at this event as it leaves out a number of fast guys. This snared me a third row starting position for both days. This did me no good on Saturday as I got swarmed right after the gun went off. I fought through riders the whole race feeling good and picking of folks all over the course. I enjoyed how my Clement PDX gripped the slightly muddy conditions and finished up 21/109 on the day. Sunday dawned bright and sunny with cool, breezy temps and a grippy, dry racing surface. I intended to do better at the start and was rewarded by essentially "holding my row" at the beginning. Racing was fierce throughout the duration and I had to work hard for my 21/101 finish.
Timing and scoring was done by One2Go and they had live lap times during even the amateur events. Their posting of results virtually coincided with the last rider crossing the finish line. This is how timing and scoring should be done!
We watched the Pros throw down on Saturday and were rewarded by a good show. Katerina Nash is the class of the women's field but Katie Compton was right in her shadow all race long. The whole troupe of ladies were working so hard no matter where in the order they were placed. Great to see all-in efforts like that. In the men's pro field:
Jeremy Powers again rode a commanding race. Stephen Hyde hung on his wheel until the hammer was thrown on the ultimate lap with Jeremy showing all his cards. Some fellows I know like Cameron Dodge and Christian Favata didn't fare as well on Saturday, but hey, Sunday's another day.
This year's installment of the Providence cyclocross weekend was great. No question that this was my favorite. Whether it was the Thai Excursions dinner on Saturday, the intense racing, the energy and buzz from fellow cyclocross enthusiasts, or just the smooth traffic on the ride home, a pilgrimage to Providence will remain on my racing calendar.
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