The was the last event on this years bike racing calendar, and the third of three Long Island Cyclocross races. I was not going to be racing this event because I have not raced since I got hurt from the car incident in early November. But I was part of the build team and the officiating crew.
A week before the event, Greg Durovich, the promotor/race director and I meet up at the park and took a ride through the grounds to get a feel for what we wanted to build. After completing our first lap, Greg’s vision came out to be well over two and a half miles. We felt this was a bit too long since this course features a good amount of elevation changes coupled with soft squishy grass which tends to produce slow laps.
We rode the course again, this time cutting it down. On our third lap to dial it in, coming off a curb and quickly hopping the one across the road we had to cross I poorly timed the jump and hit my rear wheel on the curb causing a pinch flat. I did not have spares or anything to get going again but since we were almost done we called it a day. We just revisited the section I flatted to make it safer for the race.
The day before Christmas I got the materials and built a podium set. I thought it would be nice for the event to have a podium. These can separate and stack inside each other so they will take up less storage space. I plan to paint them in the spring when the weather gets better.
On Saturday morning I got to the course early and it gave me some time to take some photos with my phone of the early morning light in the park.
Soon Greg, Matt Maroney and his son arrived followed by Bill Riley and coupled with a bit of help from Roger Young and Thomas Houghton, we had the course built by about three in the afternoon. Tom and I got suited up in our riding gear and we took a few inspection laps, followed by a hot lap. The laps were dialed in at one and a half miles.
I forgot how hard racing cyclocross is. Six weeks of just leisurely riding has put me out of race shape. Also this course does not suit me. This year my better races where the ones with more technical sections than power sections and this course is a very power intense course with fewer technical sections. We had a stairs run up, a small off camber section, a few ninety or one eighty degree turns and instead of a sand pit, a gravel pit. Other than that, the rest was very much powering through soft mushy grass.
Sunday morning I arrived early to setup the podium and the back drop. We had more wind, although not a lot enough to cause problems for the rig I had gotten to hold the backdrop behind the podiums. Once Dan Rogers, who was the Chief Referee, arrived we looked at the issue again and we determined that we would have to have people hold the backdrop up. Also Matt did not come since he was not feeling good, and therefore I had to finish taping up all the walkways we had left open over night.
Michelle Kathleen joined the officiating crew to apprentice her first Cyclocross race. She has officiated at the track a bunch of times this past summer. She was keen on seeing how a Cross race gets officiated. Being a small event, this would be the perfect place with very little pressure.
Due to the small number of riders the race director combined both races. That had us start the event a bit later then originally planned. Dan and Michelle handled the pre race pep talk at the starting line while I was at the finish line getting ready to start all the stop watches.
Once the race was underway and Dan and Michelle and I were huddling under my tent, we explained to Michelle the dot slash method of scoring. She picked up quickly and did a good job tracking the race. The lead rider was lapping just under seven minutes while the main field was closer to the eight minute mark. As expected with the combined races, we had a bunch of lapped riders to keep track of. After the two laps, we decided on six total laps which would put the race finish just a tad over forty minutes, the original time of the race. This time, I did not mess up and put the correct number of laps on the cards of three to go.
The leader came across at forty one minutes and thirty seconds. We did not early pull any of the riders electing them to finish their race. At the end of the race, we worked out the finish order with the riders down a lap. After, with Michelle’s help I separated out the riders into their respective fields. I only got one wrong. Joe Ceglio a day of race registered rider. For some reason with it being hand written on the start list and with the six or so start lists, I ended up putting him in the masters (technically he is a master) field, but he was supposed to be in the one, two, three, four race.
A quick correction and the results were up for the fifteen minute protest period. By then most of the riders had left, and we did not get to do podium shots. No matter, with the rain approaching, we had to get busy to tear down the course. Packing up the cars and getting everything cleaned up kept us there until about four or so in the afternoon.
Lots of things to think about. I would like to write some software to better sort the race results and print them out, I can write some code and it would greatly speed up the results process. I have some ideas I have already started working on some of them.
I would like to see growth in these races, and hopefully better planning and a larger helping body, hopefully a discussion with those involved will come up with a direction and some solutions.
This ends 2019. It is almost time to get the new year of racing, officiating, and event working started.