Saturday 12/12/15 was March farm cross. A working farm with Christmas trees, an apple orchard and a corn maze and on this day a cyclocross race. After I got my kit on and went to pre-ride the course, I saw the unmistakable green and orange paniagua kit and recognized Joe C. Due to our great team communication neither on of us knew that the other was coming. Our race started at 11 and we did a few laps to get the feel of the course. All dirt and grass. The first section featured a grinding climb through a mature apple orchard. A quick descent and a sharp right wound us back through the farm. Next up was a gnarly descent with hidden rock’s everywhere and mud as thick as molasses. After some more winding through the fields a corn maze with mud everywhere was the next obstacle. Some more back and forth’s to a run up completed the course.
march December sun beat down on our faces and warmed us we were off. Shorts in December??? global warming does have some upside. Joe took a quick lead and held on to it for a lap or so. After coming in hot on a turn Joe rolled his fancy new tubular’s. He was not aware that you need to glue them and thought they would just stay on if you were really careful. I saw the opportunity and took the lead, grinding up the hill through the orchard leaving Joe in the dust, for now. Once Joe finally got his tire back on he came from behind to take the front once again. It was paniagua and paniagua…then it was paniagua some else panigaua, then it was panigaua , a bunch of other people, paniagua. And despite racing with a water bottle cage , a seriously amateur move in cyclocross , Joe crushed it with a gap of around 1 minute for his first CX victory. About freaking time, we almost had to cut him. He is in the process of looking for a buyer for is pool contracting business and is contemplating going full time pro after he removes his water bottle cage. I finished 7th in a field of around 50.
We stuck around for the next race as our sister team LLV had their cx expert Kyra Kenwood competing in the women’s 3/4 race. Knowing that this technical course played to her strong points she got in the zone at the staging area and got the hole shot. She rode with the grace of a ballerina through the mud and floated like a butterfly over the hidden rocks and roots. She finished in forth. woohoo.
Sunday 12/13/15 was Elm City CX. Edgewood park in New Haven, CT was the venue. The course featured grassy fields taped off with twists and turns. A steep loose gravel climb followed by a quick descent and detour through a BMX park. New Haven is nick named elm city but due to the insane amount of acorns on the course perhaps the city fathers should have considered calling it oak city. In case you never took a botany class acorns come from oak tree not elm trees. Those things are like freaking ball bearings.
Record warm temps continued and as the polar ice continued to melt , we enjoyed sunny skies and once again rode in shorts and short sleeves. The Cat 4/5 race went off at 11:00. I took an early lead and Joe C fell back into the pack. A group of 3 including myself lead the first the lap or two. The other 2 leaders faded and Joe and I took the lead. Joe took me on the downhills only to lose ground on the climbs. Joe once again rolled his tubular and I once again saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of a teammates misfortune. Joe skilfully made up lost ground and caught back up with me. We were one bike length separated coming into the final stretch and a sprint finish looked likely. As we rounded the last corner and got back on the pavement I flatted and the race was over. Joe with another first place and I was a bike length behind in second. Another great race for paniagua.
After the race I congratulated Joe. His reaction was bit muted but celebratory nonetheless. I guess the excitement of winning wore off after his first win yesterday. You win one win them all, I thought. Then Joe asked me what place we got. He thought he finished in 5th or 6th. Joe is not great with numbers. On an unrelated note he is offering a name your own price on a new swimming pool. Make him an offer. We shared a very masculine man hug after he realized he won and I got second.
LLV’s Kyra Kenwood was up next in the Womens 3/4 race. Bursting with confidence and energy after yesterdays effort. She took an early lead and lead the race for a half a lap. The acorns got the best of her and having expended all her grace yesterday she took a fall. A quick recovery followed but she lost a few places. She rode well the rest of the race and finished in 5th. Way to go Kyra!
A great weekend of racing. Two firsts and Second place for paniagua. Amazing weather and challenging courses. A strong long island contingent including Wayne Lewis, Chris Joinnides, Roger Young and Andrew Johnson and probably other people I forgot.