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CX Nationals 2022

by Bruce Schwab • December 14, 2022

CX Nationals 2022

After last year's CX Nationals in Chicago, where I beat my ranking in cold, hard conditions to score 15th, I really was motivated all year long to do well in Hartford. Always good to have a goal...

The last time CX Nationals were in Hartford was 2017, and they were actually held in January. Yes, January in New was epic. Don't believe me? Check it out. Being a lighter rider, I'm better at hard & frozen courses with lots of acceleration, and preferably some steep run-ups. So, all year long I was hoping for a cold week during December 6-11.

And it DID freeze up! However...not until the cold temps moved in two days AFTER our 60-64 Masters race on Dec 7th. So, what we wound up racing in was nearly as epic as 2017, however in virtually tropical temps of nearly 60F, and deep deep mud. In fact, much of the course was un-ridable, with long sloggy running sections where your shoes threatened to get sucked off of your feet. Did I mention the mud was deep? How deep? This course preview was done before it was REALLY muddy.

In the weeks leading up to the race, I watched the weather predictions and prayed to the goddess of cyclocross to freeze things up, or at least provide dry conditions. Also, I watched the rankings to see which row I'd wind up on in the starting grid. It looked like I was ranked 19th, however US Cycling used a different scoring system and I wound up ranked 30th, putting me a row behind some guys that I usually can narrowly beat. I guess my karma has been running low.

But a race is a race, and I hoped to do well on the long slippery off-camber running sections where you could wind up sliding downhill with your bike, trying to get traction with your toe spikes. And I did "ok" there...but not so great on the first lap.

Rosalea worked the pit for me, which was a huge benefit as the bikes would fill up with mud in every possible nook & cranny. On a couple laps I changed bikes twice a lap! If you didn't already know, on most CX races you pass the pits twice per lap. The fact that Rosalea could wash a bike and have it back on the other side of the pit by the time I did a half lap, shows how slow the course was! If I recall correctly (it's a bit of a blur) I crashed through course tape twice, took a header after remounting too soon, and too many sliding near-crashes to count. So, it was great fun!

As with most CX races, there were several races within the race, and although conditions wouldn't allow my goal of a top ten placing, I managed to finish 24th and beat two of my main nemesis's (AKA, friends) Chris Scott and Ron Dunn who were both not far behind. As we say in CX, "it's not about winning; it's about beating your friends".

And there's always next year.

Have fun out there,


Turkey Trot
Iceman Cometh 2022