Cheshire Cross Race Report – CT CX Championships
The Connecticut State Cyclocross Championships were held at the Cheshire Town Park, one of my favorite cross venues in the Connecticut series. Expo was there in force with Jon Tarbox, Keith Honda, Jim Honda, Stan Lezon, Joe Candeias, Mark Sondeen, Jesse Quagliaroli and me. Sorry if I missed anyone as I left early.
The master races (40+, 50+ & 60+) went off at 9:00 am with a strong north wind blowing as we were called to line up. There were a lot of chilly Masters waiting to get down to business. The start of the race was a nice long grassy drag strip with a hairpin turn doubling back towards the start line and then off into the woods where the first small climb began. There were 2 separate routes up the hill, a steep sandy run up or a longer rideable section. I had never seen a course that had 2 separate and distinct lines/options. I only saw 1 person opt for the run up which seemed to take more time for the simple reason of dismounting and mounting your bike.
I had an uncharacteristically good start and was in the lead group of 8 guys which had already gapped the main pack after the 1st hairpin turn. As we entered the woods, Boxy was leading the group of 7 trying to chase down Pat Cunningham who had opened a gap on the lead group very quickly. Pat would never be seen again.
Some people say Cheshire CX is like a mountain bike race and I would have to agree that sections of it are. After the first hill climb there is a really fast section of a wide single track winding up and down through the walking trails which is really fun. In one downhill section I was going over 26mph which gives you an idea of the speeds the racers were traveling at. The undulating terrain took us to a wooden bridge with chicken wire stapled to it for traction as we crossed over a brook. After the brook the hecklers were perched on the hardest part of the course, “hecklers hill”. One of the hecklers told us “we love to see you in pain!” and I am sure I didn’t disappoint them based on the pictures Sandol took. Although I look like I am smiling, I can assure you it wasn’t a smile. As we exited the woods after “hecklers hill”, the only set of barriers were placed. The course then headed across a parking lot, up a field with a lot of corners and across a very short sand pit with a gradual turn added to test our bike handling skills. The sand got the better of me a couple of times. After some off camber sections it was back to the grassy drag strip and finish line.
Expo had a good showing in the 50+ race (CAT 1-4) with Jon Tarbox grabbing a podium spot placing 3rd. I placed 8th, Keith Honda placed 9th and Joe Candeias nailing 13th place.