Thursday, October 23, 2008


Oh how i look forward to Gloucester. Its such a cool venue, in Stage Fort Park right on the harbor. My wife and i make a weekend out of it, staying overnight at least two nights, getting to the Park early and staying late to watch all the days' races. This year we brought along our two new puppies, Hudson and Ruby. These two are such great travelers and they love to spend the day in the Park doing puppy things, like looking cute and drawing tons of attention from all the CX fans. Ruby also loves other dogs and tugs fiercely on her leash to get closer. Hudson does not like curly haired dogs. Neither do i, so we're good.

Anyway, i loaded up the one spouse, two dogs, three bikes (a road race planned for Monday, too) and the usual pile of bike stuff, clothing, tools, pump, trainer, etc. I got there early to get a good spot to set up the Club tent on Friday late afternoon and to scope out the course. Arriving at the venue, there was the usual flurry of activity going but the course was completely done and a bunch of people were riding. I drove to the little parking nook all the way at the end of the parking lot, just above the staging area, and with the best view of the harbour. Whoa, parked right in our primo spot was a massive Specialized trailer, fifth wheel truck, and several demo tents. Oh well, first come first served. I scoped out the area and there appeared to be room in front of this huge pro set-up. I approached the young man that was in front of the trailer and asked if i could set-up my puny team tent (empblazoned with a lame K-Mart logo or some equivalent), and he said sure, no problem. We became friendly neighbors by the end of the weekend.

Saturday, all the other execs and CBRC dudes had arrived and we had a great gathering under brilliant blue skies in our little grassy camping area. First up was the Cat 4 guys. James, aka the MonkeyMan, and Tim from RPI had great rides, finishing 21 and 26 respectively out of a 120+ guys. I think Tim's starting position was so far back that he was in a different zip code.

My race was at 10 AM and i did the usual pre-ride and warm-up. The course was very similar to previous years so it was very familiar to me. I got a 'call up' of sorts... i think former ECV president, Dan Tieger and Alan Atwood called me up to fill out the front row even though this was my first NECCS, or UCi race of the season. I lined up next to my buddy, Richard Sachs, but there really was not enough room for 10 across, so i slid back to the 2nd row. At the whistle, i got through the front line and got a great start, charging hard up the long, long uphill start. By the turn into the grass i was third. After a slight downhill left turn, I got passed by two guys, for reasons i still do not understand, but after a couple more turns, the course went back uphill slightly and i got both positions back. This was a good test going hard uphill and i felt good and had plenty of punch after the sprint off the line. The course turned again slightly downhill and then along the sea-wall.... flat and fast... and i got by another guy. again, no problem, feeling strong. At the end of this stretch is a stoney uphill section and i took a bad line and i think Eddie Hamel, "the animal" got by me. Everyone is new kits this year and i could not keep track of who was in front of me, except i did recognize National Champ David Rath just a few bike lengths ahead. Anyway, i think i'm in 3rd position and i haven't blown up as i have in previous years, so... so far so good, but man, my heart is pegged. I love this part of the sport. I'm pushing hard across the hard packed grass/gravel area just before the turn to approach the barrier, when BAM, i felt something hit me from behind and then i saw stars. I went down in a microsecond and went down hard. That was it, my race was over, and as it turned out, my collar bone was snapped and my season was over. It hurts on several fronts. So after a trip to Addison Gilbert Emergency Room (which was a race sponsor!) i returned to hang with the rest of the guys and watched some exciting racing both Saturday and Sunday. Walking around a CX race venue with approximately 1000 bike racers, with my arm in a sling, i must have spoke to 70 - 80 people who all had broken collar bone stories. Some more scary that others. Andy J-M's crash included a broken back, and punctured lung, and gnarly scar, and more, so my mishap was NBD. Josie showed me the unnatural bump from her healed collar bone break, and nearly every one i ran into would unzip their jersey and show off their clavical scar or misshappen bump! It was cool. Bottom line advice from nearly everyone was to take the pain killers and take the recovery slow... don't rush it. Sounds like good advice. I'll see if i can post the x-rays.

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