Thursday Night Lights CX

Cyclocross season is officially underway with last night’s Thursday Night Lights cyclocross race. Well, cyclocross of sorts. Take out the barriers and run-ups and you have a cyclocross grass crit. And that is what this series is. It is a three race training series designed to brush off the cobwebs. The races are held at Troy’s Prospect Park…the home of the Uncle Sam Cyclocross Gran Prix. I love this venue for ‘cross racing, and being held in the evening under the lights, make the event that much cooler.

I chose to race the Masters race rather than the Cat 4/5. I won’t be in the top end of either field, but I enjoy racing with the masters much more. After a season of ultra-endurance mountain bike racing and riding, I really had no idea how I would feel in a 35-45 minute all out cyclocross sprint. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good. Far better than I thought I might. After a sketchy start with a lot of handlebar banging and using my mountain bike skills to keep upright, I settled in with a steady spin throughout the course. The course was wide open and fast. One turn was a bit tight, but with the right line, not nearly as much breaking was needed.  The leaders completed ~24 laps, and with the short fast course, I completed ~21 laps giving me a 10th place finish in the Masters race. Finishing top 10 in a race like this is very satisfying.

There are two more nights of racing in the Thursday Night Lights series. I intend on being at both. I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the race, more than I have at most races in a long time. Riding far better than I expected has a lot to do with that. But, the race itself was a lot of fun. I would love to see this little ‘cyclocross/grass crit’ series turn into more races like this.

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