Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Part Duex - con Mas Personas - Town Hall Cross

The artwork for the back of what turned out to be a coveted t-shirt
I've been anxiously awaiting the coming of this past weekend. Our team has been planning and tweaking our race since October 2, 2010.  The weather had not been cooperating which even added to the anticipation.  A week before the event we had about 100 registered entries, ahead of where we were in 2010 which was good.  Then, midweek, the weather took an awesome turn and things really starting picking up.  By the time registration closed on Thursday night we had 213 preregistered riders (108 in 2010) and an incredible forecast for setup day as well as race day.

I pretty much wrote off my training and racing for the week knowing the tasks that were ahead.  The weeknights of race week were filled with last minute errands, filling up prize bags and setting up our registration files, numbers and waivers.  We had a great crew on Friday to set up the course, and since we'd done it a year ago we were much more organized.  We made some changes to the course to allow for much more parking, and we also made a set of our own team barriers to add to the set that came with our setup kit.  By 2pm or so the course was basically ready, and some local riders were starting to filter in to check it out.
The feared "St Lukes Staircase", a nasty, heart exploding climb!
I got geared up and hit the course to see how it flowed.  After a couple of trips up the climb I knew I needed to put my compact crank / gearing on.  Turned out to be a time-consuming affair that ended at Cutters Bike Shop.  It was all good though after we got the stripped bolt out.

Race morning came early.  It was a cool fall morning, but temps were predicted to climb into the mid 70's with wall to wall sunshine.  There was a layer of dew on the grass which made things slippery, but our 9am field of 75 entrants managed just fine.  They also managed to bring up some mud which was an added bonus to our fast course.

The mood was more of a festival than a race.  Kids running around and screaming with joy as they explored the nature trails of the park and the various playgrounds.  The announcer / DJ kept things rolling right along as people milled about at the St. Luke's nurses tent and the Saucon Valley Relay for Life food stand.  If you needed something for your bike you could hit the Cutters tent for a tune up or head over to the Cycleops tent for a warmup on their trainers.  I just tried to soak it all in.

The racing was great as well.  The course featured nearly 125' of elevation gain per 1 1/4 mile lap, OUCH.  Our team swept three of the top 5 spots in the Cat 4 race and fielded a podium in the Cat3/4 race.  I lined up, without much warmup, for the 11am race.  It was the masters 35+ race which was open to Category 1-4 and contained nearly 30 riders.  Being only my second race of the year and considering my lack of training and sleep the week before, I wasn't looking for much.  I had a PERFECT start and lead the field into the second turn.  I managed to mix it up with the two leaders for the first two laps, but when I saw the 5 lap card I knew I was in trouble.  It was warm, the legs were burning and I had probably pushed a little too hard, much too early. I was very fast in the technical and power sections but really struggled on the climb.  The top 7 really moved away from the rest of the field and we'd fight the rest of the race out amongst ourselves.  I finished a strong 6th, just seconds behind 4th and 5th.  I was happy with that.

Just after my race was the kids "race".  I headed down to the staging area and lead them off.  Some of those little guys gave me a run for the money!
Leading off the kids "race"







I dropped back to grab Autumn and Ashley to lead them across the finish.  We had medals and sweet prizes for all the kids, it was awesome to see the smiles on their faces!
Finishing with Autumn and Ashley

Just after the kids race was the women's race.  We had a great field of about 30 women including Bicycling Magazine's "Fit Chick" Selene Yeager.  These ladies battled hard and we gave cash and prizes to the top 10 finishers which was an added bonus!  Selene wrote a great blog about our race HERE.

Happy faces on the podium!
The final race of the day was our men's elite Cat 1/2/3 race.  2008 Olympian and National Track Champion Bobby Lea showed up to join the field of 15 riders.  He had ridden his bike for well over an hour to GET TO the race, planned to race then ride back home!  Bobby is truly a class act and all around good guy.  After winning the race he handed his winnings to one of our charities, the Relay for Life.  Enough said, you will hear Bobby's name in the professional ranks and be sure to route for him!
Bobby Lea chatting at the registration table.
So when all was said and done we had over 240 entrants this year.  That's nearly 100 more than the inaugural event which is incredible to me.  Our race kicked off the PA Cyclocross Series in grand style and our team is proud of what we accomplished together.  We had the course torn down and wrapped up before 5pm and had some beer in hand to celebrate our successes.  We raised nearly $650 for the Saucon Valley Relay for Life and $550 for the HCM Foundation.

We couldn't have done it without all of our sponsors.  Cutters Bike Shop, St. Lukes Hospital, Specialized, Motorex, Twin-Air, Honey Stinger, Cycleops Power, Fox and The Sufferfest

Photos of the race can be found at http://www.cyclingcaptured.com/share/2011-Town-Hall-Cross

And you can follow all the updates to our race at our FACEBOOK page or on Twitter @townhallcross

Now to get my butt in shape for some more cross, rest the running legs for HAT 50K and Boston Marathon training in Spring 2012!!!

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