The 2013 Gran Prix of Gloucester Race Report

It’s done!

But here’s how it started:

Socked in with fog for the drive in.

Socked in with fog for the drive in.

Fog on the course.  You can't even see the Atlantic.

Fog on the course. You can’t even see the Atlantic.

It was a foggy start, but 30 minutes before race time, the fog broke and the sun quickly heated up Stage Fort Park in Gloucester.  I took a practice lap in the fog.  The races were tightly scheduled so I only got one in–but reports from friends who raced Saturday were confirmed:  dry, rocky, bumpy on one whole side of the course.  The rest of it was fast, fast fast. And very dusty.

I was pretty nervous about this race all week.  I spent the night at my parent’s house, sleeping on the couch.  My son was with me and my Mom was taking him to the race.  He was so excited, he couldn’t sleep the night before (when I really needed to).  And on my end, I woke at 4:15AM, mind racing.  I had been to Gloucester so many times, but never as a racer.  I got there in plenty of time, registered, warmed up.  When I finally got on the course, it hit me–I’m doing this, I’m at Gloucester. Gloucester!  This is the biggest race I’ll ever be in.  It’s Gloucester!


I had been trying to keep a lid on my excitement all week.  I never imagined I’d be competing, even at the low level I compete at, at a venue as fantastic as Gloucester.  I never thought it was a dream to race there.  But maybe it was–in the back of my mind–one I never gave myself the freedom to imagine.

We lined up.  There was an issue with the call up–my name was not called in order of the crossresults points list, so I lost a good staging position.  I would have started a couple of rows ahead of where I ended up.  I had a decent start anyway, making up some ground and landing at the end of the top 1/3 of the group.  I hung on to this for about a lap before they (almost) all caught up to me.  As per usual, I’d pick up positions in the technical spots: stairs, barriers, off-camber turns, dicey loose rocky stuff.  I can ride that stuff.  Then an open space would come and they’d  gobble me up.  Many would catch me on the straights and then I’d pass some of them in the technical areas.  Cat, mouse.  But I ended up losing many positions. I wanted to finish in the top 60.  Crossresults predicted I’d finish 57.  I finished 60th, on the spot.  Little did I know, as I was finishing as strong as I could, I had two women 3 seconds behind me (glad I didn’t just coast that last 100 yards).

Good stuff:

  • My dismounts are improving–I’m slightly faster doing this but with more room to improve.
  • My remounts are getting much better.  I definitely picked up time over competitors this way.
  • My stutter-step is all but gone.  This newly acquired bad habit I’ve been working on eliminating.  I did it twice this race. Much better than in earlier races.
  • I trying to rip through turns more and brake less.  This is racing!

Room for improvement:

  • Clearly, my biggest weakness is speed in open areas.  I need interval training.  Hmm.  I mean, I need MORE interval training.

This course was a lot faster and less technical than Silk City–which was more of a mountain bike course than a CX course.  I liked Gloucester, a lot. When you are actually racing CX, you don’t have time to be nervous about where you are or the notoriety of the venue. But I have to share this with you:  there was a section near the pits, with the Atlantic ocean just 100 years away, ships with sails drawn high in the air, the smell of the ocean penetrated my lungs and reminded me;  I was at Gloucester!

And being at Gloucester was enough.

I placed 60th of 86 riders.  83 finished.  100 were registered. I lapped 2 riders.  I did not get lapped. And even though 60th wasn’t the best result, or the result I had aspired for, it doesn’t matter.  I raced my bike at Gloucester today.


SFP Gloucester CX 7

Stage Fort Park Gloucester CX 4 Stage Fort Park Gloucester CX 6SFP Gloucester CX 8Stage Fort Park Gloucester CX 3

Photo credit: Marylou Hansen and Donna Lynn.  The first 2 fog pics were mine–from the iPhone.  Thanks for cheering!


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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling.

2 responses to “The 2013 Gran Prix of Gloucester Race Report”

  1. Samantha (@Samanthacycles) says :

    Looks like so much fun….and lots and lots of hard work!! Sounds like you have much to be happy about. Congrats!

  2. Tim Cary (@tdcary) says :

    Thanks for the report Karen! Great work out there. You are getting better and better.

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