Sunday, November 14 was the Bethlehem Cup, the series finale for the NYCROSS.com Cyclocross Series. Held at Elm Avenue Town Park, the Bethlehem Cup was a fairly challenging race course; a water soaked, slick and muddy course.
A fast start on the pavement brought into a spongy, wet, grassy field that had a series of tight switchback turns to the barriers. Once you were over the barriers you entered a short trail with a log crossing and a steep downhill that saw a pretty bad crash immediately on the first lap. I was behind the crash and was able to use caution on the downhill and avoid the riders that were down. Some more gravel trail and more water logged field and we were at the first run-up. A steep muddy run-up with a mud hole as you approach the run. The only thing to do is to throw bike onto your shoulder and work your way up. At the top there was flat gravel trail that eventually went back down on loose stone covered trail. More spongy grass and the next run-up. This time it was a grassy hill with three man-made steps. At the top of the hill the course wound through the park and back to the start/finish.
I was able to complete 5 laps in the 45 minute race. I did finish -1 lap, but some of the guys that lapped me were just crazy fast. A few riders passed me on the second lap and a couple more on the last lap. I ended up with a 10th place finish.
This was my first year racing Masters Cat 1/2/3. Cat 1/2/3 means racing against some elite level riders…Cat 1/2 road and Pro/Cat 1 mountain bike. As a Cat 2 mountain biker, Cat 1/2/3 CX certainly is a challenge for me. I still have three of four ‘cross races left for this season, but I’m already looking forward to the 2011 edition of the NYCROSS.com Cyclocross Series.