Races 1 and 2 of the North Carolina Cyclocross Winter Cup took place January 9 and 10 in Salisbury and Mooresville, North Carolina. The CXHairs.com helmet-cam was in attendance for the event. Thanks to Chris Carraway (NCVC) for strapping on the hardware for the races and giving us a good look at the NCCX series.
We also caught up with Route1Velo’s Thori Wolfe who traveled from DC to NC for the weekend’s races. Before getting to the video, here is Thori’s race report of how things played out at the front of the Masters 45+ field:
“Somewhere into the second or third week of undisciplined gluttony following Capitol Cross and the end of the ‘cross season, my R1V teammate Danny Koniowsky suggested the North Carolina Winter Cross Series. I was starting to feel like a slug, so I checked the calendar and Google map and decided to commit to at least the first weekend. I made the trek last weekend and wasn’t disappointed with the trip. Both races on Saturday and Sunday were low key, local races with relatively small fields and some very talented racers still willing to get out in the 20 degree temps when the only other ‘cross racers taking the discipline seriously live in Northern Europe and are named Nys, Albert, and Stybar. The accents were heavy Carolina. The juxtaposition of Ridley bikes, tubulars on carbon rims, and the southern accents you might otherwise expect at a NASCAR event was pretty awesome. It reminded me of surfing in Cape Cod with a bunch of dudes with heavy Massachusetts accents wave sliding on long boards. In both cases, seemingly incongruous, but it didn’t matter once they got down to what they were there to do.
Saturday’s race was held in a community park nestled up against a pine grove, which added some dimension to your standard taped-off-municipal-park affair. Fast and flat, the ground was frozen with the low temperatures and a fairly steady wind. I raced B Masters 45+. The race coordinators allowed the 35s to go out first with about a 45 second interval start to ahead of my group (the 45s), then followed by the 55s. No need for call-ups, so I jumped up front for the start and off we went. I got settled in with a group of 5 and stayed there for the rest of the race. Two or three teammates from a local road racing club, and a singleton from Inland Construction were controlling the pace, which I was able to handle for a couple laps. Eventually, I was starting to feel the lack of training, and the preceding day’s drive, Negra Modelos and crappy Mexie food and got gapped after we passed a 35 in the single-tracky wooded section. I finished that race 5th and felt pretty good about getting back out and racing after a month off without any serious riding except some sketchy mountain bike rides in the ice and snow. As an aside, Danny (R1V) and Chris (NCVC) showed up, as did C3 stalwarts Jay Morali (C3) and Kevin Dillard (C3). Jay did well in the 35s getting a third place in that race. Not sure how the other MABRA guys did that day. A couple of the local racers commented that they were happy to see some of us from DC down there to support their series.
Sunday’s race was held in Mooresville (race city USA according to the race schwag). It was based around some playing fields, a gravelly parking lot and a short, windy (wine-dee, not win-dee), pine needle-strewn section with one long stretch of stairs as a run up. The same crowd was there from the previous day. The course was relatively short, but with more elevation change from the prior day’s race, plus a long stair run-up. Away we went again, the same five or so guys got joined up in a small pace line and things were moving along pretty comfortably – I felt better this time out after getting out and racing the day before. I knew who the ringers were and figured the only variable was how I was going after getting one race under my belt. About half way around the first lap the Inland racer that was looking very solid the previous day rolled one of his high-end tubulars off his higher-end carbon rims. One less guy to worry about. Then just before the end of the first lap the other ringer (the winner the day before) flatted. Two less guys to worry about. At that point I went around with a small, but steady gap between me and the two front-runners – both of whom beat me the day before. Stayed that way until the end, but I wasn’t able to completely close the gap to 2d place. The group of 35s that started in front of us actually were a factor (again) as you would have to execute some kind of sketchy maneuver to pass while staying in contact with the group you were racing. Seemed to hit me at a bad time both days, but not enough to swing the whole race, so not a big deal. Ended up third on Sunday and feeling better because of the preceding day’s warm up/race. Also there was no mud, and therefore, no chain suck or similar mechanicals I seemed to suffer during the last couple MABRA races. So despite the cold, I certainly welcomed the dry, fast conditions.
This is a pretty cool series. I won’t be doing the five-plus hour drive down again this time around, but it was fun, well-organized and definitely worth at least one weekend’s worth of travel.”
And now for the video. No soundtrack except for the extremely loud wind. My suggestion would be to fire up the iTunes, locate your favorite 20 minute playlist, sit back and enjoy the first several laps of the Salisbury race. Watch at the beginning of video for the late entrance of Danny K. He explains what happened here. The way he starts as a speck on the horizon made me think of this.
Video for race #2 should be up later in the week. For now, here is race #1 from Salisbury.
Thanks for watching.