2 Glorious Days in Gloucester – The Craft Gran Prix of Gloucester – 2015

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Gloucester!

There is nothing quite like it. Dry and dusty, the course was a lot harder than last year and a hello of a lot of fun. Here are the highlights.

The off camber just after the hole shot off the pavement.  The ruts started early.

The off camber just after the hole shot off the pavement. The ruts started early.

Day 1

Staging shifted to the first entrance of the park–a departure from the last 2 years. The course was gravely, rocky, and rutted quickly under hundreds of tires. They had a decent run-up and some nicely crafted chicanes that tested technical skills. I was having a good race when I flatted on the last lap with a 1/4 of a lap to go. Heartbreak! I was close enough to the finish and I really didn’t want a DNF after working so hard, so I just kept moving. I shouldered the bike through the last off camber turns before the pavement as riders ticked by one after the other. Sigh. I lost somewhere between 12-15 places. I finished 54th out of 71*, running the bike across the line, edging out another racer in a photo finish with a rider who had the benefit of inflated tires.

One of the best things about a race this size is that you are always racing someone.  I'm the one on the right.

One of the best things about a race this size is that you are always racing someone. I’m the one on the right.

Day 2

Course designers pulled a Missy Elliot and flipped the course & reversed it. Staging was back at the rear of the park. All the good lines from Saturday were shot–the course was beat up and even drier than the day before. There were about a half a dozen lines in any turn and none of them were any good. Crashes were eminent. I rode more conservatively and my heart rate data shows it. I just didn’t want another mechanical. My tires were probably a little more inflated than they should be as I overcompensated with a few more pounds of pressure. I finished 41st of 61 starters.*

This chicane area was treacherous on day 2.  I ran almost all of it as a chosen tactic for the first 2 laps. It proved effective...I passed many women this way and avoided at least 2 crashes.

This chicane area was treacherous on day 2. I ran almost all of it as a chosen tactic for the first 2 laps. It proved effective…I passed many women this way and avoided at least 2 crashes.

I want to thank childhood friend Marylou for showing up for this race faithfully for the last 4 years to take photos. She literally lives across the street from Stage Fort Park and as long as as my race doesn’t interfere with the Patriot’s game I think she’ll always show up. She also invited a second friend, Kelly from SHS who I ran the Warrior Dash with a couple of years ago. It was nice to reconnect with old friends, as well as see all my friends from the cyclocross community and meet people on the KIT team. Also a huge thank you to my Mom, who watched my son and hosted us for the weekend and really made it possible for me to race at all this weekend.

-Karen

*I just want to note the both fields were sold out at the capped limit of 85 racers. Where did everyone go? It was a picture perfect day, not a cloud in the sky and temperatures incredibly reasonable. I know it’s common for a few no shows but wow that was a lot!

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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling. Always looking to see what is around the next bend in the road.

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