Well, the first ‘cross race of the 2009 – 2010 season is in the books. Raced today at Nittany Lions in Trexlertown, PA. Check out the race report.
We had an excellent travel day on Friday, making really good time and arriving at the race venue at around 4 p.m. Wow – what a race venue. We raced at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center – home of the velodrome and a beautiful park complete with cycling paths, ball diamonds, cricket fields, skeet shooting, and a track and field course. The variety of options at the venue made for some interesting background noise on race day. There was the noise from the skeet shooting, the announcing at the velodrome and the announcing from the cyclo-cross race (combined with the requisite cowbells and rabid ‘cross fans).
We had a good time riding the course on Friday. Got in a few pretty good laps. Met a few people and just generally had some good sensations. I ran into some trouble with my bike and luckily a super friendly cyclist told us about Cyclodrome – a very helpful bicycle store. We zipped off to the shop and left my bike in the hands of Chip with the promise that it would be ready by noon today… A tad nervous I left the bike and simply told myself that it was out of my control so no point in worrying. Well, Chip and Cyclodrome saved the day – the bike was ready by 11 this morning (turns out the housing on my rear derailleur cable was a bit messed up and had jammed my shifter).
We got to the venue at around 10 or so and hit up the course for some laps and then once we had my bike back in my hot little hands, the late morning/early afternoon was spent riding, eating, chilling out and catching up with old friends. Ran into Jon Safka from www.cyclingphotos.ca. Jon was all over the course today taking photos and cheering me on. Thanks Jon – much appreciated. His pics will be up on Canadian Cyclist later today.
I worked the pit for Marc’s race. He raced at 1:15 and I was on at 2:30 so I went to the pit with my race kit on and was able to cheer him on and stay relaxed for my race. As soon as Marc was done (riding to a very fine 8th place) I hopped on the course for a couple laps. Just what I needed to shake my legs out. Then it was race time. A good day on the bike (finished 9th today). Lots of great highlights from the race and few more lessons learned.
After the race I hit up the Rodale Cycling Loop for my cool down and met a transplanted Canadian – Blair Saunders. Most of the Ottawa crowd should know Blair – he used to race with all the “old” Ottawa guys (Craig Burge, John Large, Pete Meteuzals, and Ross Knight). We had a good time rolling around as he told me lots of racing stories from racing “back in the day” with some of Canada’s finest racers (including Gord Fraser). Great way to wind down from the race.
Then as quick as it started it was over. We were back in our massive Yukon and rolling down the road to our current resting place: Balitmore, MA. Tomorrow we race at Charm City in Baltimore, MA. So far a most excellent weekend. Excellent racing by Marc and myself. Catching up with old friends. Making new friends. Throw in the kindness of strangers (by the way the fellow cyclist who told us about the Cyclodrome, called the shop this morning to make sure our bikes would be ready… This man came out and spent the day at the races and I think he’ll be purchasing a ‘cross bike soon…). Now, it is time for bed. Another good day is coming on Sunday.
I’ve got to say, I didn’t realize how much I missed racing ‘cross until today. Just so much fun out there. The race. The crowds. The friends. The community. Amazing.