I’m finally getting around to my latest race update, the Saratoga Spa:CX cyclocross race. This was also the New York State Cyclocross Championships for most categories.
Spa:CX is held at the Saratoga Race Course “lowlands”. This is the area on the back side of the race track behind the stables. Some hills, some dirt road and sand…a long soft sand pit. A great course layout, a fast course and a fun course to ride. While the Uncle Sam race in Troy is my favorite race weekend, the Spa:CX course is my favorite race course.
We also saw, first hand, how cyclocross racing is just exploding in popularity. In 2009 when I started ‘cross racing the Cat 4 field was ~30 riders. Each of the following years there was in increase in riders with 2012 putting ~80 cat 4 riders on the start line. A pretty big field for a local “grassroots” race. The Cat 3/4 field has seen similar growth over the last few years. While the other races have also seen an increase in riders, this race really shows the popularity of cyclocross.
The call-ups to the start line put me somewhere at mid-pack for the start. And yeah, there were a lot of fast guys behind me. I didn’t pre-ride the course this time around. I did, however, watch the sand pit during the previous race to try to get a handle on the best line to ride. I pride myself on my bike handling and I try to set some goals within a race. And at this race one of my goals was to ride the sand pit each lap. And I almost did. First lap got through it clean. Second lap almost got through it clean. I was cut off by another ride about 3/4 of the way through. And then the last lap, rode through it clean. I actually had a good race. I rode smooth and I rode strong. I got passed by some guys and I passed some guys. I finished 55th out of ~80, but the way I rode, it was probably one of my most satisfying cyclocross races.