I usually take my time getting into the supersuit. Usually around November I am comfortable enough to do it. But MidnightCX in Lancaster was a special race. MRC, Gary David and Russ Campbell kicked off Holy Week in the NECX with their own night cx race! I was sooo stoked for this one. MRC, Gary and Russ are my good friends so there was that. And they had been talking about it for weeks which was getting me all kinds of pumped. Then they added in stop #2 on the Zanconato SSCX series and I was pretty much freaking out. Summer has refused to let her clutches go in New England and it was 70 degrees as MVL and I rolled into the parking lot and set up shop. I had planned on wearing my blanco short sleeve in the race. So I kitted up and we did some pre-laps. It was really cool going to a race with a cat 4 who was new to cross. It kind of was infectious. I was my usual cool self. Mark is bouncing off the walls and asking me all kinds of crazy questions like should we get our numbers and what psi to run. Oh shit. Yeah our #s. So we got a few laps in.
I got in the manvan and started putting on my blanco skinny. I got out of the car stood up and got back in the van. Damn I am not ready for a blanco skinny! Frankly at 45+ my days in a blanco skinny may be a thing of the past. So to honor Smithers I went with the new Belgie Blue LS HUP skinsuit. It was still snug but I felt way less sinsuit (thanks for coining that Kim!) and way more cross racer. I lined up with 100 cat 3/4s. It was so cool being around guys I never race. The start was bananas. Soooo fast and we all were locked in together. I surfed up the right side behind Hoppengarten. I was surprised at how calm everyone was at speed. None of the usual 45+ yelling and chopping that goes on in the start of my usual masters race. A group got away leaving 4-10 of us chasing. We could see them across the tape but the chicanes were so tight that what looked like 10 seconds was really about 20 or 30. The course was awesome. What looked to be sort of boring on the warm up turned into a great track for racing. We stayed together in tight groups which made for some really exciting racing. I rarely get a chance to race in a group of 4 let alone 10 in one of the 45+ races.
I got to work with Jordan Winkler which was awesome. He is such a cool guy and a solid bike racer. Strong as hell, picked awesome lines and just knew what was going on. That was one of the more fun parts of the whole night. I learned a lot riding with him. We were able to move up a bit but it was a tough course to really gap people. You would gain some time then you would come to the triple threat wood chip piles and slow wayyy down. Then you would accelerate like hell to get up to the chicanes. Then go wicked slow again. There really was no way to make up time in either of those spots. Those two sections really were all about not losing time or crashing. With one to go Jordan and I were really going well. We dropped a couple of guys that were right on us the whole race. As we accelerated out of the wood chips two guys came around us from no where. Then we got into the chicanes. We were both hypoxic at this point from all the efforts. We hit some lapped traffic. Jordan came around a guy and then just caught his front wheel and yardsaled. I felt soooo bad. Without even thinking I said "Jordan" out of sympathy. I was able to get around him and just had to hammer as the gap we had now closed. All the way to the finish I felt so bad for him. We were gonna go 10/11 and have a chance at a 2 up HUP/Cambridge sprint! That would have been rad. I ended up 11th and Jordan got 15th. That is how tight that race was. One bobble, one bit of bad luck and you dropped 5 spots.
Hats off to Gary, Russ and MRC. That venue and that race should become a staple of New England CX. And having two night races in one week smack in the middle of the two biggest cx weekends in NE? It will build up into something amazing. Thank you to Gary and Russ for letting single-speed cx be a part of the night. We had 50 racers at the line. And that race was just as fast and hard fought as any of the geared races. Don't let anyone say ss cx racing isn't racing. Ever. Ok maybe when they have a huge chicken costume on. Then its not racing...