2014 New England Regional Cyclocross Championships Day 2 Fitchburg, MA
By Mark Sondeen
Rich Allen and I were both entered into the Cat 4/5 race. I had bib number 67, thus I was basically placed mid pack as the 120 racers were called up in numerical order. Considering my 10 month old son did not sleep much the prior two nights, I decided my goal would be to finish 67th or better. Rich must have done something right and was in placed into one of the earlier staging groups. The course was quite flat, with one short run up, a sand pit, a pair of barriers, a couple logs, and a spiral. There was a prologue loop at the start, which the director said should take about 1 ½ minutes to complete before joining back into the main course.
The start was surprisingly smooth for such a large 4/5 CX peloton, until BAM! 50 yards into the race I was caught in a huge pile up. I could do nothing but brake hard and aim for a soft spot. For a few moments the sounds of breaking bikes and crushed ambition filled the air. After getting untangled, the bike would not roll – not good. I was sure I was dealing with a derailleur in the spokes or a taco’d wheel. It turned out the front brake caliper was over-rotated and the pad was jammed into the spokes. I ran the bike up to the prologue loop entrance as they were switching the tape expecting the leaders to come around for the first lap any second. I managed to fix the front brakes, and get underway. I started the race dead last, already 90 seconds behind. I quickly changed my goal to “pass the guy in front of me”. It took half a lap to find the first guy I was racing. In the next two laps I caught 20 or more riders. Then it began to get hard. On the third lap I passed a group of three, then botched a remount and they overtook me again. I chased them down and one by one passed again. The forth lap was spent holding these three off. I had some back and forth with CT rider Mike Cyr, then managed turn up the pace on the last straight away and open a gap. Coming down the finish stretch the MVCyclocross rider was fast on my wheel and took back his spot. I ended up 73rd, 6 spots behind my original goal. It could have been worse. Rich Allen finished 54th, and survived a failed barrier bunny hop. Thanks to Rich’s brother Dave for working the camera.