Hydra Cross 2019

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cbusick
Tête de la course
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Location: Shrewsbury, MA

Hydra Cross 2019

Post by cbusick » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:17 am

Hydra cross is new this year so I went to check it out. It' in a park Holyoke that follows a bend in the Connecticut river. You don't see the river much, but it's a pretty enough park with a bunch of big old trees that the course weaves it's way through. It starts with a straight wide uphill into a bunch of flat turns around trees and park benches then some nice generally downhill/off camber turns where you can get a little recovery before a big down/up U kind of like the one at Gloucester after on the other side of the street by the ball field. Then a couple off camber turns around trees before a power straight back up on concrete going into some flat turns where you have to duck under low hanging branches. You approach the barriers pretty fast, but go over a bunch of tree roots just before which make getting set a little tricky (you could hear a lot of people hitting the rim on the roots). Then there's two barriers, a U turn and two more barriers. Then a pine needley drop to a quick uturn back up followed by a steeper drop that uturns to a steeper sandy/pine needle climb that was giving some people trouble and lastly an off camber around a big pine tree with a nice fat radial root that turned out to be the most technical/challenging part of the course. This was a popular spot for spectators where you could see all 3 piney down/ups as well as watch people wash out on the root, or comment on the drug deals taking place across the train tracks.

The organizers were really excited about their use of two different color tapes. Yellow Caution tape on your left, and red Danger Lead Paint on your right. But the red tape was pretty muted compared to the Hi-Vis yellow, so my old eyes were having a hard time picking it up during pre-ride and I nearly blew through a few left turns.

The course is fast, pretty fun, not very climby, and the only dismount is for the barriers. Although Rees showed that if you can run, you can smoke a bunch of people as they try and navigate that big pine root. I, however, can't run.

There were only 6 people in the 40+ race, the first race, first wave of the day. Behind us was a healthy sized group of 50+ and 60+ racers. My main goal was to not be passed by Dave Corrigan who was starting 2 minutes behind me in the 60+. Initially there were only 4 of us on the line, then one other made it 5. Things were critical. Apparently you only get cross results points if there are 6 or more racers in your field. If we didn't hit that bar, what was the point of racing at all? Arthur from Horst saw his teammate Andris across the park and started yelling at him to get to the start, after which we all started yelling. Now we had 6, and everyone was relieved.

At the hole shot it was Arthur Roti, Matt Zarotny then Me ripping through the turns. Then as we went by the pit I rolled a little pine stick with my front wheel and slammed into the ground hard enough to get a bunch of "oooooh, are you OK?" from the people in the area. I got back up, saw that the bike was OK, and took off, now in last (6th) place. After about 1/2 lap of getting my confidence back in the corners I started gaining again. Picked off 5th place on the power section, then 4th place going by the start finish, and finally 3rd place by chopping him (but not really that badly) on one of the left turns I thought I would blow through. At this point I could see 1st and 2nd battling it out, but since they were still together and throwing punches at each other there wasn't much hope of them easing up for me to rejoin. At that point I started getting over taken by the 50+ leaders and I just kept an eye out for 4th place who tried to catch me on the 4th lap before fading back.

I don't know what this counts as. Yay! 3rd place, I'm on the podium! Or meh, another mid-pack finish..
In the same spirit I won two 1/2 4 pacs of craft beer and a pepsi water bottle. Later the promoter asked if I had tried the beer, and I said, "yeah, I had one, it's pretty good, certainly hoppy" He said, "Did you notice anything about it? Like the fact that it's non-alcoholic? I gave the guy the job of finding some beer for the podium, there are so many good brew options around here and he came back with this Athletic Brewing Company's non-alcholic beer" Katie said, "Ah, that's why I saw someone trying to give it away to some kids.."

Weird thing is, I kindof like it...


It was fun, a good race to start the season.
-Chris Busick

strat
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Re: Hydra Cross 2019

Post by strat » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:48 am

Nice write up Busick....so why is it called Hydra Cross? After the serpentine water monster in Greek mythology...the CT river is right there!!?

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