Hey friends Seth here, this weekend was the 27th Verge Northampton International Cyclocross Race and we were lucky to get a spot in the sold out race. I have never done a cyclocross race before and I thought it would be fun to let you know how my experience went down.
A few nights before the race I got an email saying that since the projected weather was going to be bitterly cold they were going to push all races back by half an hour. Since my category was the first to race Saturday at 8:30 a.m. I figured 9 a.m. would be the new start time and that was great because then I in theory would get an extra half hour of sleep. Saturday morning rolls around I grab my gear I put out the night before and eagerly get going to Look Park Northampton where the race was being held.
I arrive at Look Park at 8 a.m. a solid hour before the race with a full coffee in my console feeling good that my plan is going off without a hitch. I park my car, put on my change of clothes, and grab my bike to get to the registration table. While I was riding over there I hear over the intercom say "cat mens 4 & 5 staging in 10 minutes" I thought to myself "that couldn't be right because they pushed the races back by half an hour." When I got to the registration table they did in fact inform me that the race was staging in 10 minutes. After a few back and fourths with some very frustrated (with me) registration crew they did let me register and race but that meant I only had about 6 minutes to prep after that so needles to say there was a change of my morning prep plans from a relaxed state to a more now state. I grabbed my bike and got to the starting line. It was a balmy 22 degrees at the start of the race. I was pretty far back in the pack and with the remaining few minutes I came up with my race plan and goals. I looked up ahead in the pack and saw a fella with a rainbow rim on his helmet and I said to myself "I'm going to beat him and in doing so I will warm up and not be last" a fairly simple and attainable plan I thought. About the time I finished that thought the horn sounded and the front line shot out like a rocket. In that moment I thought "new goal, don't get lapped". It was absolutely incredible to see the level of biking for what some might see as the weakest categories.
For those who are unfamiliar with cyclocross as a sport it is a race essentially about taking your road bike on almost every kind of terrain (grass, cement, sand, dirt, gravel), up hills (which usually require you to carry your bike and hike), and obstacles (hurdles, train tracks, and steps for example). The Northampton track has you running 3 laps of this for a full race.
So I'm out there chasing down that rainbow rim fella and we get to a hairpin turn and he hits an ice patch and crashes pretty hard to the point he pulls out of the race. That was a bummer for two reasons 1) you hate to see anyone get hurt and not be able to finish the race and 2) I need a new person to beat. I picked out my new guy strapped in and peddled my ass off. I ended up finishing just under 40 minutes which for me I have no reference point so that's awesome to me and in the end my goals were achieved. I beat the new guy I picked out, I finished a race that was 10 times harder than I thought it was going to be, and I wasn't lapped by the stellar riders that were in the front of the pack.
This race was definitely one of the best I've ever raced and been a part of. Big thank you to the host's of the event who were really friendly, even the folks at the registration tent couldn't resist our charm at some point. All of the other riders were great to talk to and look forward to seeing a lot of them again next year when we come back and really show them that Chronic Trips are a fun community and can be contenders. Another thank you to Hart Strength And Endurance Coaching for keeping our wheels on the ground and to Subtle Trees for the sweet threads. Last but not least thank every one of you for I'm super proud of where Chronic Trips is at this point in time and it's all thanks to you for without you we wouldn't be able to do what we love and get this far. I sincerely hope you follow this happy trail with us into the future so thank you so much!!