I'll admit it. After a long day at Silk City CX I definitely could have just slept in and skipped another day of racing cyclocross in Connecticut.
But as usually occurs, I ignored that voice in the back of my head and found myself heading over a twisting, at times broken glass covered, walkway over I-95 on the way to the Hartford Riverfront Cyclocross race.
Making a large loop around the riverfront boathouse significant portions of the course where either grass or smooth dirt walking/biking trails. In addition to a single steep climb midway through the course, there was interesting barrier placement, significant portions of the course taped only on one side and a vehicle crossing all thrown into the mix.
As a happily retired race promoter I won't begrudge most of those elements, but the latter was a real issue because the vehicle crossing wasn't staffed and a car drove unimpeded across the course in front of at least one racer. Yikes.
I suppose staging also fits into that mix of the 'unique' as well: as we were hanging out in the finishing straight staging was completed on a first come-first serve basis. It's always a fun discovery rolling up to the start line and realizing you're starting last.
But it wasn't the first and it certainly won't be the last time I have started at the back of the pack. Thankfully while my cyclocross skills (and fitness) are definitely on the mediocre side right now, I do have #sprinterwatts to spare and with a non-technical stretch to start the course I was able to work my way from the back to the top fifteen in the first quarter of a lap.
Unfortunately I was still too far back to make contact with the leaders, but with those first lap gains the rest of the race was a pretty straightforward grind to the finish - grabbing a few spots here and there while managing to avoid the spectacular implosion that plagued me the day prior. In the end I rolled across the line in sixth.
Matthew Vandivort is a New York City based cyclist and sometimes photographer who was also a founding member of To Be Determined. You can follow him online at @photorhetoric or http://photo-rhetoric.com/