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Gateway Hills CX 2018

by Mike Benson • January 03, 2019

2018 Marked a year when two favorite NH cyclocross races (White Park and Sucker Brook) were not on the race calendar. Luckily Jim Murphy and Benjamin Kramer both stepped up to introduce a new challenging cyclocross race at Gateway Hills Snow Park. The course was centrally located at a small rope tow style snow park adjacent to a business park in Nashua, NH. There was plenty of parking at the venue and a lot of room to warm up on the flat pavement lot or on the surrounding hilly roads within the office park. Not only was this location right off the highway, it was only about 25 minutes from my house.

Today was super-hot with temps in the 90's. Because I was just coming from my son's football game in Manchester, I didn't have a lot of time to do a proper pre-race shake down. I think I was able to cobble together 1.5 laps of recon before being pulled from the course before the category 3/4 race started. What I did see during my pre-ride was that the course utilized the area hills to offer some ripping descents, tricky side-hill cambers, mud, logs, and even a few last-minute bridges to connect more real estate to make the course as dynamic as possible. The track had two areas that forced riders off their bikes. The first was a long metal pole used by snow boarders and skiers to rail slide. Some people rode the obstacle, but I did not think it was worth slamming my chainring into the steel pole. The second obstacle was a set of super high barriers. In fact, I almost went down on my last lap when my toe clipped the last plank. What goes up must come down is kind of a good cliche' to describe this course. The climbing, while tough, was not super long so you could hit a punchy climb hard and recover while screaming downhill towards the next obstacle. Some of the downhill chicanes had racers challenging speed and cornering all day. If you went too fast, you risked crashing through the course tape. Too slow, and you were getting picked off.

It was a really fun race, but, remember that heat. As we all rolled up to the start line (P 1/2 started 30 sec in front of the 40+ race) the race director asked if we wanted to make our race a 40 min race vs the planned 50 minutes. I giggled and looked around at the type A competitors and knew that nobody was going to speak up. Off we went at the start on an uphill 150 yard sprint towards the first of many punchy climbs. I did not have a good start and found myself around 8th or 9th. I set up my Kona Major Jake with a bottle that day. I put 1.5 scoops of Infinit Jet Fuel in the bottle. I was able to take a big sip on a paved section on every lap of my race. This gave me enough energy and hydration to finish strong. I battled on every lap and kept moving forward until I had the last person I could see in sight. With a lap to go I passed him and was very happy to grab my first podium of the 2018 CX season. I finished the race at around 52 minutes for 3rd place in my Masters 40+ race. I wore Verge's TOR bibs and jersey which is super light and wicks away sweat very well. For this race, I was also testing a tubeless Carver C38 wheelset. I was able to run Vittoria Terreno Dry tires in the mid 20's for pressure and not feel sloppy. The setup was grippy and fast.

Cape Cross 2018