Monday, November 1, 2010

"The field must have been soft" Canton Cup Race Report

Thank Colin for that title, because that was his commentary on my race. Yes, contrary to everyone's expectations (especially my own) I actually had a great race at the Canton Cup on Saturday. How very uncommon.

I'll start from the beginning, because well, there was a lot of hype going into the race on the twitters. In brief, my friends Kyle, Natan and Craig were all doing their first 'cross race that day, all on borrowed bikes. Also, Green Line Velo teammates AJ and Keith were making one of their infrequent cyclocross appearances and lastly, a whole bunch of the Green Line Velo crew had ridden down to heckle during the race, and the excitement was palpable.

Getting to the race was a pain, because of the Football game at BC and then I had to go pick up Craig at BU, and there was traffic and road closures on Storrow drive and more traffic on 93 south. Leading to a relatively late arrival at the race, with no course preview and barely any warm-up.

Because the race is kind of old school staging was by, who got there first. I muscled my way to front before we lined up, and then we were allowed on course, I muscled a little more and BOOM front row! Sadly, Peter Sullivan crashed his bicycle and an ambulance came for him delaying the start of the race for 10-15 minutes, leaving the field of 108 cat 3/4 men chilly at the line. I heard he's ok though.

(I used MS Paint to show where I started, Photo: DoubleHop)

Anyhow, whistle goes and I get my sprint on, (which I've been mastering on Wednesday Nights at WNSP by winning the hole shot and then summarily blowing up). I managed to find myself in the top 10, I could see the leader, it was a nice place to be and I wanted to stay there so I let off a little bit to sit on wheels as opposed to frantically move up.

As the first lap continued I leap-frogged a bit hear and there around some guys who were slowing down and found myself with Ian. We hung out for a little while as shown here:

(Ian and I hanging out on Lap 1, Photo: DoubleHop)

Shortly after that though, Ian went a little too fast, taking the Hebrew Cup points with him and I decided to play it cool. So I found my self in a chase group with a 2-3 dudes, notably Evan Murphy, who did a ton of work while I wheel-sucked like crazy, only to offer a few scant pulls to relieve his hard efforts.
("In the chase group" Photo: DoubleHop)

At this point I should mention the fans were quite confused, especially Mike Wissell, who upon seeing my top 10 positioning early on in the race asked, (via heckle) "What are you doing up near the front?" I had no response, for I was also confused. Furthermore, when I hit the run-up one lap some of my friends on Ladies First, were almost mute, because I'd been telling them all season to give me no positive encouragement. When one of them violated the agreement with a, "GO Steve!" I reminded her that she was "being too friendly." Elsewhere on the course Green Line Velo teammates told me to stop sucking and I tried my best.
(Still going strong late in the race Photo: DoubleHop)

Right, so the bike race was going swimmingly, I was in a group, sharing the work, having a good ride, and I was hanging on to Evan's wheel for dear life. But, I had noticed that Mashburn was in hot pursuit, always a turn or two behind, and well, he stayed back at about 5-10 seconds for most of the race until the last lap when he passed Evan and I just after the run-up, and I tried to jump on his wheel with no success. Then Evan passed me back, I waited a little bit, and sprinted by him to take 12th.

Yeah, you read it right, I got 12th of 108 recorded finishers. Don't believe me? Go check the race results. Easily my best cyclocross result ever, and my best race result of 2010. YES, things are coming together for next weekend.

By the way, it should go without saying that Kyle, Natan, Craig, and Dave Chiu were all behind me. Whew, I didn't want to be behind any of them.


  1. Nice ride Steve. Shows what happens when racers aren't automatically relegated to the back based on some series points!

  2. nice job Mr. Hopengarten! whats the goal for northampton?

  3. Eric... Uh, No Comment.

    Durrin, Northampton: MORE VERGE POINTS. I was so close last year and I started in the back.