We'll be upfront: the Gran Prix of Gloucester is our favorite race in New England. There are other races that we love (here's looking at you Noho) but nothing that can quite match the combination of venue, course and atmosphere that features year in and out at Gloucester.
So with that in mind, and in the spirit of last week's Top 10 list from Charm City here are our favorite ten moments from the 19th edition of the Gran Prix of Gloucester. Stay tuned for a more comprehensive recap of the weekend on the TBD journal in the coming days.
10. Blessings from the Traffic Gods
The Gran Prix of Gloucester is nearly perfect. But for those of us making the drive North from New York City it does have one glaring shortcoming: I-95 can make the drive absolutely hellish. Just ask Clark who endured a 7 hour solo drive from Brooklyn. But somehow the traffic gods were smiling down on Lisa and me as with our late departure we experienced a traffic free four and a half hour drive that meant we were actually able to get more than 5 hours of sleep Friday night.
9. The Fog Rolls in (#NEAF)
Despite on and off again showers throughout the day, Saturday's racing was mostly dry and dusty. Rolling to the course for the early morning Sunday races we discovered slightly different conditions. Or as @ULTRApaully said:
In the end the damp conditions contributed to a course that rode very differently between the two days of races, but more on that front shortly.
8. Free (Rasputitsa) Waffles
We've written before about how Rasputitsa is our favorite event of the newfangled gravel grinding genre. Sure it has snow and dirt and epicness but know what else makes Rasputitsa great? The fact that one of the organizers drove hours from Vermont to Gloucester to serve delicious waffles with powdered sugar. The price? Absolutely free. You truly know the way to our hearts Rasputitsa.
7. Ryan Kelly on the Mic
Somehow, years ago, we fell down an internet rabbit hole that led us to this video that introduced us to one Ryan T Kelly:
Years later he's part of an announcing duo that somehow manages to spend hours roving the course and narrating all of the action across too many fields to count. We cannot imagine there are many more exhausting ways to spend a weekend but it's just one more small part of what makes #GPGcx so memorable:
6. The Best Beer Tent & Expo in the Biz
It's fitting for an event of the caliber of the Gran Prix of Gloucester but even so we can't help but add the race village to our top ten list - it's a ripping good time. From the beer tent to the plethora of delicious food options to vendors like our friends at Garneau it all combines to give the day a great vibe from start to finish. And you better believe the beer tent will cheer like hell even when the worst happens (via @DirtWireTV):
5. The Venue and the Course Design
Starting with the backdrop: you could hardly ask for a better venue than the one that features at the Gran Prix of Gloucester. With expansive views over the open water (except when the fog rolls through), giant rock formations populated by all manner of spectators (aka rock people) and perhaps the most famous finish line vista in cyclocross, Fort Stage Park is an absolutely incredible venue.
And once again the course design really took things up a notch with tweaks small and large that left the course riding differently from last year. And while the weather certainly played a part, the Saturday/Sunday courses also flowed very differently making for a great doubleheader weekend.
4. Classic Battles in the Elite Fields
Saturday's Elite races were everything cross spectators could ask for. The women's race was the most classic of NE cycling battles as Emma White and Ellen Noble went head to head for the 100th time before the former ultimately came out on top. In the men's race there was a long and entertaining battle between Tobin Ortenblad and the Aspire Racing duo of Powers and Petrov with McTubbin ultimately continuing his show of force by taking home the win with a strong move in the finishing corners of the race.
For the past year one of our longest standing team members has been a bit preoccupied with real life, aka getting his mobile bike shop business off the ground. But because he's smart enough not to miss Gloucester no matter where his fitness stands and because CX weekends are first and foremost weekends to hang with the team it was great to have him back out and in action.
Don't get us wrong: we go to Gloucester first and foremost for the bike race. But a trip to Rockport for post race lobster is #2 on our list of reasons not to miss the Gran Prix. The final tally at Roy Moore Lobster Co for three hungry cyclists?
- 5 boiled lobsters
- 1 lobster roll
- 7 oysters
- 2 stuffed clams
- 3 chowders
1. The Organizers and The Community
Last but certainly not least, the top spot in our Gran Prix of Gloucester Top 10 goes to the organizers and the community that surrounds Stage Fort Park. Looking back at the past forty-eight hours in Gloucester we hate to think that a few years ago it was unclear whether the race would be able to continue in its current venue.
We're immensely thankful we were able to return to Stage Fort Park for the 19th edition of the race and for the next 11 months we'll sing Gloucester's praises to anyone willing to listen before heading north once again for the 20th anniversary of the Gran Prix of Gloucester. So again: thank you to the organizers and thank you to the Gloucester community. See you in 2018.
Gran Prix of Gloucester Photo Gallery
Stay tuned to the To Be Determined Facebook Page where we'll have a massive photo dump from the races shortly (UPDATE: LINK TO PHOTOS). We'll also have a more comprehensive wrap up from #GPGcx on the To Be Determined Journal later this week featuring images from TBD's official photographer Daghan Perker.