Rapha Super Cross Gloucester
In the cyclocross world it’s known as ‘Holy Week’. Two of the biggest cx events in North America, held on consecutive weekends in the fall. The Elite races would feature some of the best riders in the world, including US and European national champions. There would be some of the biggest fields in amateur cycling, with the 120 strong Cat 4 women’s field selling out both days. LLV was pretty excited to be part of it!
Kyra, Ellen and Kim headed to Gloucester, MA, to race around the beautiful Stage Fort Park. The views from the course were spectacular, and the boulder-edged coves offered inviting swimming. But we were here to race.
On Day 1 the course covered some ripping corners on grassy terrain, a couple of fast gravel flats, a set of barriers, a sand pit and three sets of stairs. Plenty to keep riders entertained and challenged over the 3.5 km course. After watching the men’s 4/5 begin the process of ripping a grassy park into a dust bowl, we lined up, ready to sprint up a long hill to get a good start. The whistle blew and the pace was on. Kim, more accustomed to endurance events, had a good start, then lost front row placing as more powerful riders cranked past. She managed to hold on to finish in 19th, at the back of a bunch of 11 riders that finished within 30 seconds of each other. Mid-race, Ellen blew a front tire and crashed hard onto her knee. She made it to the pits for a replacement (wheel, not knee!) and was able to finish strongly in 43rd. Kyra, coming back from injury, was able to use her technical skills to produce a solid performance to 56th place.
Day 2 saw a few changes to the course, with some direction reversals and removal of a gravel straight and the sand pit. The barriers and three stair run ups remained. A series of steep off-camber turns were a new addition, along with a lot more dust. Some sections of the course were ankle-deep in soft powdery dirt. Arguably, the course was getting better for the mountain bikers, and riders who didn’t really care to see where they were going, or what they were breathing. Ellen had better fortune keeping air in her tires, and after passing Kim towards the end of lap 1, she went on to pass a swag of other racers to score 11th place in a sprint finish. Kim maintained pace to finish one place better than Day 1, in 18th, and Kyra moved up the finish order a bunch of spots to 44th.