I wrapped up my road season a few weeks ago and had outlined a plan for myself of a few sprint tris, some long fall rides, and maybe a cross race or two. However, due to a few changes in circumstance, I will now be revamping my fall plans to be a race sherpa and cheerleader as well as a few cross races.
My son Stephen had been spending summers with me and schoolyears with his dad in Central NY. We recently reevaluated the situation and have actually brought Stephen back to PA to attend school here and pursue his cycling passion in this very large and active cycling scene in PA/NJ.
This summer was Stephen’s first year of road racing. He completed enough mass start races to earn his Cat 4 upgrade and had some pretty respectable finishes in both junior and men’s fields. This fall his attention has been turned to cyclocross, which combines his roadie power with his natural feel for bike handling (I wish I could say he inherited that from me). We got him set up with an upgraded cross bike and tubeless tires. After working the kinks out of that that setup and getting him some skills practice with my friend Nicole Davison of Veloville USA and my Guy’s Racing teammate Ray Zeimet, he’s out there kicking butt.
Highlights of the early season for Stephen have included two top ten finishes in MAC series Cat 4/5 races with very large fields where he had a back of the pack callup.
Fair Hill CX – 10th of 84
Nittany Lion Cross Day 1 – 9th of 114
Stephen also raced a very competitive juniors field at Nittany Lion Cross day 2. It started pouring rain right as they were staging for his race, so the dry and dusty conditions he experienced during pre-riding were gone and the racers were left to figure out slick handling on the fly. This race was a hard battle between Stephen and Austin of Young Medalists. Both of them have mountain biking experience and were good at handling in the wet conditions. Stephen tried to make a move in the barrier section on the final lap but slipped going over the barriers and fell, knocking his handlebars to an awkward angle so he wasn’t able to sprint to try to catch Austin. He still claimed second with a comfortable margin. A great start to his season and he’s loving the CX scene and racing.
We’ll have double races most weekends through the fall and will also plan to travel to Hartford, CT for CX nationals in Janaury if Stephen continues enjoying and improving in his first season of CX. And I’ll continue to jump into races opportunistically when I am there. I’m not very good at cross, I find the transition from cornering on asphalt on a road bike to cornering on grass/dirt/gravel to be quite difficult. But I can’t get any worse…continuing to race can only improve my technical skills.