Hartford Riverfront Cross Race Report – Travis Burleson

Weather: Low 60s, sunny, N wind 10kts
Kit: Community CX Mesh Skinsuit, Lake MX237 Supercross Shoes, Giro long finger gloves, Specialized Evade Helmet
Bike: (A) Specialized Crux
Bib:  209.  Predicted 10th
Wheelset: NEXT 35
Tires: Tubular Clement MPX (19f/22r)
Warmup: Two course inspections. Sky warmup on the trainer using the B bike with Power Meter.
Course:  Prologue lap:  Start leads onto the road up to the top of a dam.  Steep off camber descent back down in woods/Barriers followed by wooded single track/Barriers./Wooded single track/Grass section contained barriers, several sharp turns, off camber, sand with hard 90degree turn in it,  two 180 turns on the road into the start/finish.  For each lap after, the road ride up to the top of the dam was not used.  Instead, there is a long grass section to 90deg steep run up to the top of the dam.
Fuel:  1c oatmeal with stuff five hours before.  Coffee.  Small PBJ with banana two hours before.  Gel 20min before start.

Drove up from Boston with enough time to pre-ride before the 4/5 race.  I was familiar with the course as I raced it in 2015 but there were some feature changes.  This is probably an easy medium technical race with plenty of speed.  The ground was a little wet during the pre-ride which made the off cambers harder.  They dried by my 11am race.  I did a second pre-ride after the 4/5 race.  In both course inspections, I focused on the back half off cambers and sand.  This part was the most technical part of the course.  The run up did not require practice, the descent off the dam is just steep off camber with some 180deg turns and the woods consisted of single track with no roots or baby heads.   I decided to run the sand and push the bike instead of shouldering it.   It was not long enough to shoulder but too short to suitcase.  I think running was the correct decision.  

The start was delayed a bit.  I was a front row call up and took the far (racer’s left) slot.  I had a good start which put me sixth onto the road/hole shot.  Looking at Strava FlyBy, the first two riders put a gap on us in the descent off the dam.  Just before the descent, there was an off camber dip down one side of the dam.  This might have been a little bottle neck here that allowed them to escape.  They also seemed fast on the descent which dropped into a wet area.  It was easy to cook the descent into the turn and hit the deck.  For the first four laps, I rode behind 206 (Jay Gump).  We were evenly matched and I used him as a rabbit and more importantly, to draft off of when the course headed into the wind once we passed through the finish line and before we got to the run up.  206 seemed stronger but I noticed he was weaker in the technical sections and was not aggressive in passing people.  We started bumping into the other categories in lap four and in lap 5 I decided it was time to move up.  We were not being passed by anyone and it was just the two of us isolated, but it was hard to tell how far we were behind the leaders.  After drafting in the grass flats, we ran up the dam and here I was faster on the bike and was aggressive through traffic.  I kept on the gas through the off cambers on the dam into the descent, and then kept at it.  I had a nice gap and kept using other riders as targets to not let up.   I placed 3rd/33 and had my lowest CX points to date: 291.75.

Lap times are quite consistent with my fastest lap being lap 7.  

Good:  Stayed upright, start, using others to draft, running the sand, cornering

Bad:  Need to be faster running off the bike.  Remounts were a little sloppy and getting on the bike sooner after the remount…..bike down and on it…no need to take two or three more steps.  I should have attached 206 in lap four and not lap 5.  I was riding well and felt strong, but this could because I was using 206 for shelter and picking lines.  20s off second place is large but I could have been more aggressive passing and this gap may not have been so large.  


First Place:  49:01

Second Place:  49:29

My Third Place Lap times: 49:49

  1. (6:31)
  2. (7:15)
  3. (7:15)
  4. (7:15)
  5. (7:13)
  6. (7:13)
  7. (7:07)

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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