Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cheshire Cross, CT state championship

Cheshire cross race this year was my payback from a crappy race last year. Last year I raced at Cheshire about 2 months after I broke my collarbone and separated my shoulder. It was 20 degrees out and since I had not been racing for a while my lungs were not used to the stress and I started coughing up phlem. So much phlem that I choked and threw up after the 3rd lap and quit the race. So ya, I was really stoked to come back this year and kill it. Above is me posing with my prime for getting the hole shot.

I almost slid out on this turn. Photos are by Jen Audia.

Santa was back and more obnoxious then last year by blowing smoke in my face.

The crowd was quite until I was halfway up the climb then they erupted with cheers. It was awesome and I gave them the thumbs up.

Finish line

Lots of friends and family came out to watch. Super cool. It seemed like every corner there was someone yelling my name. They made it so special for me.

Race report:

Let me take you back to a couple of weeks ago: didilloo... didiloo... didiloo... (time machine noise)

After Northampton I was thoroughly shot. The double weekend thing really took it's toll on me and I didn't even want to look at my bike for that whole week. Instead I decided to take a brake and shift my focus to running. Since it has been getting dark at 5pm with the new time change and getting cooler at night I really was having a tough time getting motivated to ride. So running was an alternative because I could stay warmer. During that week I ran early in the mornings and I did 9 miles on Thursday night. I was trying to figure out the Turkey trot course but got lost. Then Sunday I figured out the course and ran the 10k in 47 minutes.

Monday and Thursday I rode about an hour and ran a little in the morning. I confessed to Josh that I hadn't been riding and wasn't sure what to do. I was worried that I was going to suck for the Cheshire and the Easthampton race. But it turned out to be a good thing. A long time ago CB2 told me that your body will tell you if you need a rest and he was right.

Now fast forward to the race in Cheshire. spirrrruuuuut. Ding.

I lined up early to get the front row. Then Hunter (the judge) came over and announced that since there was only a few people signed up for the pro 123 race that they were going to cancel that race and only have the 3/4 race. Then he asked if any one has seen Graham Garber and to let him know that if he is going to race then he has to race in the 3/4 because the 123 race was canceled. (Later I would find out that he was in line to go to the bathroom when someone told him that he needed to line up now! But he was like, " I have to pee!") So we waited for Graham to get to the line and everyone was kinda bummed, including myself, that he was racing with us. "There goes my state championship" I thought.

In case you don't know Graham he's a pro in sheep's clothing. He won the cat 3 race in Northampton with only a 6th row call up. He used to be a cat 1 on the road and used to train 25 hours a week. This guy is the real deal.

Anyway, Graham gets to the line and the lady who told us all that we needed to know about the race before we started casually says "go." And were off. Lot's of guys were caught off guard but not me. I tore up the grass and headed directly for the inside corner. We pop a 180 and as I'm turning I see to my left that Graham was already there but his wheels slid out from under him and he almost crashed into me but I punched it as hard as I could and clicked through a few gears. Hole shot baby!

I lead out for a while until I was caught by Bill Kenny then I passed him back before the swoopy downhill section and tried to open a gap. Then the massive run up that only Josh Wilcox could ride. This hill is really steep and rooty and has 2 logs that are at least 18" tall. Really hard to pull off. In this video it's hard to see what's going on until the end but the sound of the crowd is all that matters. I really love this race mainly for the "Hill people." Cheshire is the best race of the season because people come out and go crazy on this hill. I wish I could have been in the crowd cheering myself on.

So once again Bill passes me on the run up but at the top of the hill drops his chain so around him I went. Later I was thinking how nice of a guy he was for letting me by. He could have blocked the trail or something so I would lose some time. What a nice guy. He is such a nice guy that later I found out that he was doing some kind of charity work instead of going to Easthampton the next day. What a good guy.

As you can see in the video Graham has caught me now and is working the lead. This guy knows how to put that hammer down! The strange thing is that once he opened that gap of about 27 seconds he stayed there. I couldn't gain anything. I did however gain a little bit on the last lap when Alex told me to "dump the tank!" With my response being "It's dumped!"

So even with out a warm up, a full bladder and sliding out on at the start and ending up last Graham Garber wins Cheshire 3/4 and is the State Champion! I got second place and Silver State Champion. Way to to Graham you deserve it!

Another cool thing about this race was to have an announcer as we went by the start finish line. During the race he told me to remember to pick up my beer after the race for winning the hole shot. Pretty cool!

I think the best thing about the race was all of my friends and family coming out to watch and cheer me on. I can't tell you how much that means to me. There were at least 20 people yelling my name around the course. Not to mention Alex and Paul rode their bikes from Winsted to watch and Emily came to watch and pick them up. And Josh and Alex running from spot to spot on the course to keep track of how many seconds I was back from Graham. Josh said later that he might overdid it a little going back and forth from the hill. I'm sure that affected his race the next day in Easthampton. Even Charlie came down with his son to cheer me on! Jen and Nay took some awesome photos that I put up here and my Facebook page. They raced earlier that day and stuck around. Their passion for cyclocross is amazing.

I would like to especially thank my wife Jesse for cheering me on and being so supportive and understanding with all of my racing and riding. You are the best!


  1. You really have to faith in your fitness when you get to the point where you don't want to look at your bike. I'm sure your time off the bike was the best thing for you. I thoroughly enjoyed watching you race. You should be proud of the awesome season you had this year!

    To give credit where credit is due, that was Josh that implored you to "dump the tank".

    I'm not going to be able to get up and watch the Turkey Trot this year but I hope you have a good race and more importantly, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  2. Nice job man!

    Looked like a fun course, sorry I missed it...had to work.

    Ya dude, you can ride your MTB at Ice Weasels.
    I am (if I get to race this year).

  3. I'm not wanting to race again this year but the Ice weasels sounds like fun. and if I do it on my ss it will be more fun and I wouldn't have to worry about getting schooled by reuter, sweeney, and mckittrick. I might even give the fixie a try. We shall see...

    Alex, you don't have to blame everything on Josh. Fess up man. JK

    Thanks again for coming out to watch. I hope your thanksgiving is good too. Isn't Em running at Goshen?