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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Md suburbs of Wash. DC

    Charm City Cross Race report

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    Ok, here's the scoop on the first race of the 2006 MABRA cyclocross season (A bit long, but with pictures!):

    I got to Druid Hill Park in Baltimore just after the start of the Men's Masters 35+ category race. The course (yellow lines) was really snaky and took up a huge portion of the park. I was immediately awed watching these guys hoof it over the obstacles near the finish line. Once that category was over, I walked around a bit and checked out the rest of the course while waiting for the Men's B race to begin.

    The 45 minute long Men's B was definitely the most interesting race of the day. There were three riders in the race who wouldn't normally fit that category: Georgia Gould, the current Women's National MTB Champion, racing for Team Luna; Morgan Gerlak, a 14 year old Juniors champion who was making his B category debut racing for AGR/Joe's Bike Shop/Charm City Cross; and Syd Lea, two-time international gold medal winner in the Special Olympics, racing for Team Fuji. With the three of them to cheer for, I was totally drawn into that race.

    Georgia charged into first right off the line and held it for two laps, then got caught up by the guys in second and third. The three of them battled it out for a few more laps, before Georgia again attacked on the next to last lap and pulled back into first. Unfortunately, by the time the racers came back up the hill to the obstacles near the finish, she'd slipped back into third and crossed the line in that position. Morgan hung tight to fourth place for almost the entire race with no other racers nearby to work with. That young boy worked incredibly hard to keep up with the men and proved that he's a tough one. Near the end, he was finally caught and ended up in fifth. In the last photo below, you can see Georgia and Morgan on the right (Morgan had changed out of his racing kit). Syd raced near the end of the pack, coming in 64th out of 78 racers in the category. It was so moving to hear him interviewed by the announcer after the race. Proceeds from the race and a raffle went to the Special Olympics, so it was wonderfully appropriate to have such an athlete compete in the category, and he's obviously a talented rider.

    After a short break, Georgia was up again for the 35 minute Women's A category race. She repeated her initial attack into the lead, before slowly slipping down to 4th, then up to 3rd, then back up into 2nd. Diedre Winfield of Team Bella Bella Kona took advantage of Georgia's fatigue by opening up a huge lead of almost 30 seconds which she held until the end. Interestingly, they began the Men's Masters 55+ and the Juniors just one minute after the women's, so all three categories were on the course at the same time. One of the over-55 men burned up the course and ended up almost catching the 2nd and 3rd place women near the end. That was a hell of a ride.

    I chatted at one point with a rep from Bianchi (who supply frames for the Charm City Cross racing teams) about how cyclocross seems to be poised to explode as the next big thing in cycling. There were over 310 racers registered for today's series, which is apparently a huge number for this sort of event.

    By the time the Men's A category was on the course, I was in cyclocross overload and starving to boot, so I headed off. I'm now a 'cross junkie, though. Next weekend, Sunday 10/1, is the second race in the MABRA series, the Ed Sander Cyclocross race at Lilypons Water Gardens in Buckeystown, Md, and I'm going to catch as much of that one as I can before heading up north of Baltimore for the She Got Bike! festival. This is a great way to begin Autumn!
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    "How about if we all just try to follow these very simple rules of the road? Drive like the person ahead on the bike is your son/daughter. Ride like the cars are ambulances carrying your loved ones to the emergency room. This should cover everything, unless you are a complete sociopath."
    David Desautels, in a letter to velonews.com

    Random babblings and some stuff to look at.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Hunt Valley, MD
    I was at this race (strictly as a spectator.) It was the first 'cross race I've ever seen. What a blast! It looks like a lot of fun (and a WHOLE lot of pain!)



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