After a successful collaboration with the Squara-Coppi squad at this summer’s Giro d’ Coppi, the VeloWorks-Spokes, Etc. team added it’s volunteer support to put on and race Tacchino Ciclocross — that’s Italian for “cyclocross”. The volunteer opportunities and the awesome course brought out the largest group of the season with Thom (49th), Chris (13th), Clay (24th) and Dan (9th) in the Cat 4/5 race, Sean (DNF) and Brian (44th) in the Master’s B field, Kim (10th) in the Women’s Beginner race, Eric in the 45+ (3rd), and MT (15h) in the SS event. After DNF’ing his Masters B race, Sean came back for more abuse in the Master’s A race and placed 26th. Kim scored her first Top 10 and clearly enjoyed her day more than the rest of us.
Upper Marlboro, MD
Conditions: Cool, but sunny. A little slippery early, then turning tacky and fast.
After the 4/5 race in the morning, Sean and Brian set up for the 9AM Masters 35+ 3/4/5 race. Sean started at the front hoping for a top 10 and Brian started from the woods and was hoping to bring his bike back in one piece.
At the whistle, they settled into the race with Sean at the front. Unfortunately, a slip up in the damp morning conditions caused him to go down, resulting in a trip to the pit and an ankle sprain. Despite excellent team assistance in the pit and amazing communication skills, Sean was unable to continue on his second bike.
Brian rode a sensible race, navigating the slippery course and scrapping mid pack. Despite a few (or many) remounting snafus, heckling and an unnamed Canadian teammate throwing banana peels in his path, he kept the bike upright and crossed the finish line slightly before race clean up started.
And then there was beer.
After compounded poor decisions the previous weekend of racing twice despite illness, Eric was hoping to get back on track.
After racing twice last weekend from back row starting positions due to race-day registration, I was happy to back on the front row for Tacchino. Of course, I parlayed that position into my usual sub-par start and rolled through the first half lap about 15th. Nearing the end of the first lap a passed a few chunks of 3-4 riders and targeted a small group battling for 2nd place. By the end of the 2nd lap, four of us has separated from the pack. With a one solo rider out of reach, by the end of the 3rd lap one other rider and I were left to decide the 2nd step on the podium. We each took turns attacking and trying to drop one another, but came to the final stretch together. It was a short sprint, so I was where I wanted to be on the front out of the last turn. He just had more kick and got me by 1/2 a bike in the sprint and I ended up 3rd.. It was a hard race and it was fun to battle like that again after being flat the weekend before.
Tom‘s always-serious and stoic report is below:
The day dawned, clear and cold. Jupiter, Mars and Venus formed a line with the rising crescent moon. An auspicious start to the day’s racing. Thom and I had sent Carr off to forage in the woods, and we dutifully raised the tape on at least 7% of the course as the eager 4/5s swarmed on the wet grass like crickets. Crickets up really really early. Stupid crickets.
Some 6 hours (and one sausage) later, noshit there I was, on the start line of the SS. Despite my best efforts, it was again the Wonky and I against the 23 other racers and a 45-minute race. I dutifully went straight to the back and watched the field ride away. I knew they would be back shortly. The wet grass of the morning races had yielded to the less-wet grass of the PM races, and I found the lines to be “grippy”. Sadly, I could find few of these lines, as the Wonky plied it’s trade through the switchbacks and chicanes.
Emerging into the bright sun of 3 laps to go, I was tempted to eject my sausage, but instead cursed at the brazen Canadian who wished me ill on the surprisingly slick back section. Nice hair, I thought to myself. Shut it, yelled to the interloper.
Mercifully, the race ended a lap early and I was given a beer by the guy who beat me by 25 seconds. I did my best to overtake, but instead I could only partake after the race
All in all, the team had some excellent bonding while working the event and cheering on the teammates who were racing.