2022 CX #6 – Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross – Hot, Hot Hot!

I have wanted to do the Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross in Falmouth MA for a few years now and this year was the year. Like going to travel regattas, going to different cyclocross venues brings a new dimension to the sport, some freshness that keeps it interesting. This event has gotten bigger over the years and this year was not only a UCI C1/C2 weekend like Charm City [fields include high level pro races for the non cyclists], it also included the Pan American continental championship races on Friday. Not that I have anything to do with that, but it does elevate the status of the event.

I’d been watching the weather for a week or two and it exceeded expectations with sunny, breezy 75 degree conditions, almost unheard of for November on the Cape. I was a bit worried about the possible cold temperatures and muddy conditions given that we were staying in the van for the week. Bad weather would not have changed what we did, it only would have made things a little more difficult, especially since I did not have a bike rack on the van and had to keep the bike inside because I was playing delivery boy with Snipes up and back to JibeTech in Rhode Island. It was hard enough as it was to deal with the usual mess from a bike race and sandy conditions in that part of the world.

Lisa and I drove up during the week and visited family in New Bedford for a few days before heading to Falmouth on Friday. I was able to ride a bunch of practice laps in the afternoon to get a good sense of the course (the video below). I’ve never had a personal cheering squad so I did have some race footage I interspersed with the practice lap video. The racing was fun and perhaps slightly more difficult than our Mid Atlantic races, but I continued my string of mid pack finishes with a 28/59 Saturday and 29/45 on Sunday in the 40+ 3/4/5.

A practice lap using a chest mounted GoPro interspersed with race footage from my cheering squad.

The course was really fast and fun, and they made it interesting despite any real elevation change.

Technical off camber and stairs section.
Another off camber section.

I thought I rode pretty well mostly only making a few big mistakes, one each day on the ridable stairs, but it really didn’t cost me anything other than a few gnarly bruises from Sunday where I crashed on the first lap there due to some added sand overnight and my lack of a preride lap that morning. With my squad cheering me on, I finally rode the entire sand section on the last lap on Sunday. There was a 25 mph tailwind down the start finish straight which felt really good and helped me because I didn’t get gassed on a typical uphill slog off the line. It felt like I started reasonably well, but in looking at the video I definitely lose a lot of ground in the first 30 seconds of the race that is hard to get back. So something I perpetually need to work on.

Making up time over the barriers.

The vibe of the event was excellent and it was fun to chat some people up. Lisa really liked the setup because there were spectator stands on various parts of the course that made it interesting to watch. We didn’t hang around much on Saturday as we wanted to make the best of June-like day and head to the outer Cape to visit the old haunts in Provincetown and Wellfleet where we spent so many weeks with my sister and our kids during June when they were young. I also didn’t want to partake in the IPA ritual knowing I had to race on Sunday. We did hang out on Sunday afternoon though and I finally got my IPAs while relaxing post race and watching some racing.

My glam shot.

The trip out to Wellfleet and Provincetown was fun because the weather was so nice and despite that, it wasn’t very crowded. We thought we’d head out to Newcomb Hollow Beach to hang and let me get my yearly “beach marker” but after 10 minutes of being on the beach, the biting flys were chasing us away. I did get the marker done though!

The marker has to always capture the zeitgeist. This year it was CX.
I thought about actually going for a swim since the air and water were no colder than June, but the lack of an available shower made me think better of it.

We hoofed it to Provincetown and did the usual walk around Commercial Street and had a nice drink at the Harbor Lounge – genius marketing with “No Food, Just Drinks” – to chill and enjoy the sights. We ended the day having dinner at Winslows Tavern in Wellflleet, surprisingly only one of two restaurants open this time of year and then back to the Teaticket Walmart to camp for the night. Pro tip, ask at Walmart if you can stay in the lot even if there are no overnight parking signs. Usually it’s ok if it is “off saeson” in popular places where they discourage this.

Lisa enjoying an overpriced frufru cocktail. The view was worth it though.

We headed to Boston to see my sister and her family Sunday afternoon after a few IPAs for me and then to Lancaster PA on Monday on the way home for a food show Lisa was working. The Lancaster area has some really nice bike riding and I figured I’d ride my bike from there as far as I could to Annapolis and Lisa could pick me up when she was on her way home. Turns out the route home was perfect for a ride and I beat her by about 30 minutes just before dark. I did have to pull a Rosie Ruiz though, and rode the MTA light rail from Hunt Valley to Glen Burnie because it would have made the trip about 115 miles (a hair on the aggressive side given the stiffness from racing and driving) and it would have been very slow through Baltimore getting me home after dark.

Since a cold front blew through on Monday, Tuesday was a crisp and cool fall day. Fortunately, the route from Lancaster to York was not too STROADy and once in York, it was all off road on the NCR trail all the way to Hunt Valley and the B&A trail to Annapolis from Glen Burnie.

The Susquehanna River crossing between Lancaster and York.
I love riding the NCR, a beautiful rail trail (or in this part, a rail with trail).
Taking the light rail through Baltimore cut about an hour and a half off the ride and allowed me to beat Lisa home Rosie Ruiz style!

I was pretty tired after a weekend of racing, a long drive home and a 90 mile ride, but it was a nice way to cap off a fantastic week of traveling with Lisa, racing, riding and seeing family.

One more weekend in the 2020 cyclocross season to go at the Capital Cross Classic in December!

Riding Links:

RRFC Saturday: Strava, Results

RRFC Sunday: Strava, Results

Lancaster to Annapolis: Strava

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