The Northampton International race at Look Park in Massachusetts is one of the best venues of the cyclocross calendar. The race is put on by the godfather of cyclocross and former professional Adam Myerson. For an entire weekend the best of everything that is cyclocross comes together combining a party atmosphere with a challenging race course featuring steep uphill running sections and dangerously fast technical downhills.
Being part of a racing family means waking up early to get the kids ready for the early morning junior races. With the temperatures barely above freezing eight-year-old Owen Lezon lined up both Saturday and Sunday against a large field of juniors both older and bigger than him. Right from the start he was struggling but he bombed the downhills and powered through corners with a big smile as the race announcer and even Adam Myerson cheered him along.
Inspired by his energy I lined up for my races on Saturday and Sunday alongside Aetna-Expo racers Todd Bowden (newly crowned Canadian national champion) Gary Aspnes and Jeremy Brazeal. These short races require constant focus and tremendous energy to keep the bike upright while picking the fastest line through the corners and slower/crashing racers. Jumping from the start Gary and I worked together to find our rhythm and avoid the crashes of the first lap. The competitive field took its toll and racers were quickly spread all over the race course. With Todd finishing near the front of the race both days the rest of us landed in the middle of the pack.
Before leaving on Sunday we made our way to the kids course to watch seven-year-old Ethan race. With a year until he can start racing as a junior he lined up with the other kids and rode with the same smile his brother had.