Aetna Silk City CX Report

I’ve gotten pretty good at waking up early as of late. Today was a test, though, as I woke up just past 4:30AM (without an alarm) to get to Silk City CX. After my first CX season, one of my conclusions last year was that course recon is fun (scooting around autumn mornings is a win in itself) and super important. I came into this race prepped in a lot of ways. I even stopped being lazy long enough to change my tires to a used set of Challenge Grifo/Fangos I snagged from ebay for half the price of a single new one, per the suggestion of teammate Kolie.

Don't anyone tell you this move is easy, even if Ed makes it look like a breeze

Don’t anyone tell you this move is easy, even if Ed makes it look like a breeze

Now, all my life I’ve known myself to completely forget just about everything of what had just happened after participating in an athletic event, so I’ll try to scrape up some details from memory.

Started second row behind Kolie. Longest holeshot ever. I haven’t been super stoked on holeshots this year- I’ve been looking for top selection, but I don’t need to be first out right. Which is a change, because I used to be a meathead about it. This holshot was a long drag upward on paved road, so I hopped on Kolie’s wheel an floated up.

The first half lap I saw some promising signs. Moving in the top 6 and with Kolie helping gaps form behind, figure my road fitness was getting me inches up. I could make some decent handling work for me too. Have to credit the new tires with a much improved ride over my first set.

I found myself 3rd with the two leaders and a big gap behind. Things were going well until I wiped out in a corner. Ended up not being a big deal, and eventually used the long flat sections to take 1st by the early part of the second lap I believe.

With a gap growing each time I hit a straight, it was my race to lose. Remember that long road start? We were meant to be together. Each time I saw the second man gaining (an Expo rider, the team who put on the race, so he had a lot to gain), I drilled the next straight immediately.

Another funny thing about this was that no one had any idea I was first, including the announcer, who would talk about the 2nd place rider as the leader every single time I passed them. It was a little frustrating at the time but kind of hilarious too. The announcer was great throughout the day though, kept pace all day. He gave me an apologetic hug after the race after he found out I was leading.

Oh yeah, so CX is great because they often discount a second race you want to do. So I brought the single speed IRO mountain bike (built up by Richie at Community Bike Shop, thanks Rich!) down for a test run. It was pretty much what I expected, slow and difficult. I came in dead last! I burned a lot of matches holding back tears when I saw 2 laps to go when I was fully expecting to roll up on the bell lap, haha. But, I was the underdog and had a good time hearing people cheer and heckle. I still blame the bike- 34×17 was too light and my tires need to chill out. Once I get the gear ratio dialed in and less aggressive tires, I’ll take it out again for the Zanconato Single Speed CX series.

Moral of the story is, taking my first CX win (2nd win so far) felt pretty good. I got a kick out of being the guy from Massachusetts to mess up the potential Connecticut rider podium sweep (I have a weird sense of state pride). And the Expo Wheelmen put on a great event I’m very happy I was able to spend the day at with all the great people I’ve come to know and recognize.

Shop ride is cancelled for Saturday 9/30/2023! Stay tuned for more Shop Rides in the Spring of 2024!

More rain, such is New England...

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