Team Belgianwerkx loves cyclocross so it’s no surprise that a few members of the team made the trek down to Rockford, IL on Sunday, May 7 for the third in a trio of spring cyclocross races put on by Rock River Multisport. The weather was fabulously non-crossy but made for a great early season test of fitness for the diehards that toed the line. Congrats to Jason, Arlen, and Joe for on their early start to cyclocross season. Check out Joe’s race report from the second race in the series, Return to the Hill.
When I saw there was an opportunity to race cross in May I jumped at it…probably, a bit prematurely. My initial excitement soon turned to uncertainty. Realizing that whatever spring miles I had logged could never compare to autumn race form. But whatever. I signed up for this race to have some fun and challenge myself.
The weather was sunny and relatively warm on Sunday morning. Not the type of conditions most cyclocross fanatics enjoy (myself included). The course was interesting enough—a mix of flats, climbs with a couple technical sections and a touch of single-track. But the dry conditions and thick grass made for a slow, plodding pace…better for heavier riders and bigger engines. There weren’t enough messy or technical sections to make up ground. That noted, I was glad to have ‘raced’. My form in May is nothing like November but I had a lot of fun being out there — crash free. It was a good opportunity to work on skills that I’ve been building over the last year.
The race organizers did a nice job running the event. The riders were funny and friendly (something I love about cyclocross culture). And the experience has me looking forward to fall before summer has even arrived.
Category 1,2,3 men & singlespeed
The cyclocross season ended last December, and so began the long off-season. Spring in Wisconsin is all about riding in cold weather, weather very reminiscent of fall cyclocross. I always thought spring could be another chance for cyclocross racing, and I certainly do quite a bit of cross training this time of year, but I hadn’t seen any group take up the challenge of hosting an actual race this time of year.
With a newly built Giant TCX and my old Foundry Harrow converted to singlespeed, I was eager to put them to the test. I signed up for the Elite 123 and Singlespeed since they were later in the day and the weather would be a bit warmer. I did two races because driving 88 miles each way for one race just didn’t make sense. I placed third in the 1,2,3 race and fourth in Singlespeed.
The course was definitely a “power” course. This course was on very plush grass with a lot of false-flats and straightaways. With all the recent rain, even the flat, non-grassy sections were power-sapping and slow. The fastest sections were a gradual downhill section of trails and another downhill section near the finish line. The course was not overly technical, with the exception of a very tight and twisty section of off-cambers and a very narrow foot bridge that tried to pinch flat my rear tire multiple times. There was also a set of short barriers (made of 2×4’s staked in place and standing on edge) on the fast approach to the finish line. These high-speed bunny hops challenged ones timing and skill and were just tall enough to cause serious harm to a rim if mis-timed.
Though the course was not overly interesting, it was physically very challenging. Most importantly, the people were very friendly and happy to see guests from North of the border. It was well organized, podiums were prompt, and it was obvious that putting on a fun event was their mission. I will definitely return next year and hope to see other Spring cyclocross events in the future because Every Day Is A Great Day For Cyclocross!