For 17 years now, they've been having this race at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, MA. Remember those old ads, "Trust the Gorton's fisherman"? Yeah, right across the harbor from that company.
In that time, I believe I've missed 2 years. One when I lived in Vermont. And last year.
I've seen it grow from a local race (still regionally important) in the Supercup years, to a nationally, maybe internationally, recognized race on the calendar---the New England World Championships, the start of the "holy week" of 'Cross.
I've met heroes here, probably had a few racers drop from hero status because they were jerks (though I can't remember any), I've worked as a course marshal, volunteered as the registration person...and then I got married and became a father (I'm sure lots of the volunteers have kids. They're just more devoted than I am).
This year saw at least one of the days (it's a 2-race-2-day weekend, as are most CX races) won by both national champions---Jeremy Powers for the men, and the mighty Katie Compton for the women. Powers won both days, Compton only on Sunday.
Take the speed of a road bike, and mix it with the dirt of a mountain bike, add about a century of evolution as its own sport, and you end up with an oddly endearing and quickly growing sport. This year saw the first World Cup outside of Europe— in Las Vegas, of all places.
Each of these costs upwards of $5K. Add it up. Also, they're beautiful
|It was dusty. Not really traditional cyclocross weather.|
|the mad scramble over the barriers.|
|This is Katie Compton. She's won the national championship 12 times in a row. Won the World Cup. Come in second numerous times in the world championships. First time I've ever seen her race.|
|Princess of the pits.|
|Only one person can win... but that doesn't mean the spectators can't have fun with the rest of the field. If you're not going to win, you might as well make some money and win some cheers, right? Some racers agree with you- some definitely don't.|
|Mr. Kittykat ears, the drunken leader of the dollar bill placement. That coat must've been so hot- I was in shorts and a t shirt and was pretty warm.|
|Bike shot, but it does show the 'cross remounting technique. Very graceful in motion. Looks kinda funny like this. Look it up on google...|
|The idea is to smoothly get off your bike and then back on, as fast as you possibly can. If you mess it up, though (Search youtube for "Joey is OK").|
|This is the graceful, and FAST, way. Very high commitment, though.|
|Run full speed and jump like this onto your bike. Go give it a try!|
|Just after I took this photo, Richard Sachs walked up and talked to me for a moment. He's quiet and quite shy.|
|National champion Jeremy Powers, from western MA. 6th in the first World Cup of the year. That's pretty unprecedented. It sounds mediocre, but let me assure you, it's not.|
|Only a few pairs of these exist, and guess who has all of them?|
|Beautiful bike. Maybe the one bike I'd want if I could choose anything, anywhere, at any price. Maybe.|
|exit, stage right...|
|Tubular tires contain a tube sewn up inside and must be glued on. Can be ridden flat. Supposed to have the best "feel" of all tires/wheels.|
|Adam Myerson. Great video about his life here.|
|They don't have this kind of spectator seating at all races.|
|Trebon in the lead, Hyde in green behind him, Powers is the stars right behind his shoulder, and Anthony Clark is #14.|
|"I'm not using one of those 1-by chainrings! I never lose chains!"|