Written by Paul Wojciak Friday, 16 October 2015 00:00
The Mid-Adlantic Cyclocross series stops in Baltimore for the two race Charm City event every season. The event is held at Druid Hill Park and this year was October 10-11. The operative word here being hill. Never having raced at this venue, I was looking forward to experiencing new courses. On that score, there was no disappointment. Each day's races had three different dismounts, four passes through sand, a flyover, a breakneck start, some sweet swoopy turns, some power straights, and (drum roll please) one big hill. Temps were in the high 50's with lovely sunshine. The course surface was a little soggy in places but in really great shape for racing.
I arrived at the park on Saturday morning and happened to pick a nice tree covered spot near registration, bathrooms, and the start. I could even see the course while warming up on my trainer. I looked high and low for another Bikeman member but it seemed I was again representing alone. No pressure.
Pre-riding gave me an idea of what to expect along with my bib number, third row. I got a nice start and began to work traffic on the first couple laps. My Clement PDX were really hooking up and the hill was proving the downfall of many. I felt good all race and made a push over the last set of barriers and down the finishing straight to pull into 10 of 79 on the day.
In the afternoon I ate a great meal at a little Persian restaurant called the Orchard Market and Cafe. The vegan experience left me sated as I headed over to see the Hampton National Historic Site. A wonderful historic house and property owned consecutively by the Ridgely family for six generations from about 1790 to 1948.
A great dinner and night's sleep left me ready for more fun and games on Sunday. Being one to follow a pattern on occasion, I literally got my same parking spot again. Much of the course was reversed and the hill loomed even larger today from the reverse direction. My start was second row which allowed me to avoid much of the worst early traffic. The course was riding a little slower per lap but the intensity was just as high. I was dicing it up with a couple folks and one guy in particular, Blair, who seemed to have about twenty fans positioned all around the race course. Hard to tell whether they were helping him of hurting him. No matter. On the last lap, I attacked him over the stairs and was riding free for the remainder of the race finishing 10 of 81 on the day.
Overall, things turned out better than I expected. The weekend was a blast making the five hour ride down (including the northern New Jersey traffic) from Poughkeepsie NY worthwhile. If schedule permits, I'll return to this venue again. Charm City was very, very good to me.
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