Cross of The Corn 2015, Race Report

Hello everyone,

Left to Right: Nate, Eric, and Dan taking a post race break in the corn box!
Left to Right: Nate, Eric, and Dan taking a post race break in the corn box!

I recently posted how excited I was about the PACX series starting.  The first race of the season comes to us early in Pennsylvania with the Cross of The Corn race held in Aspers, PA.  This race is built around the Fields of Adventure Farm in Aspers, PA. It is one the furthest west cyclocross races of the PACX series.  Since the course is built on a farm, it has a rugged feel to it.  This is not your smooth grass track cyclocross course that some of the cyclocross racers in PA love.  Our team placed well in the CAT 4/5 race and I did my best to hold on to some very strong riders in the Masters 35+ race.  I have some pictures and video in the writeup.

Eric on the Podium
Eric on the Podium

Stoudts Brewery/JB Mountain Bike Racing had a strong showing.  Four of us were there to test our legs.  Eric Ciabattoni commanded a strong lead in the CAT 4/5 race from the beginning even with a mid pack start.  He held onto his lead for the win.  The stack for the CAT 4/5’s was a bit of a disappointment.  Last season, the start was solely by pre-registration.  All three of our racers were put mid pack even though they registered first.  I think the only thing you should get in the 4/5’s is a pair of pink socks for winning and lined up by order of registration.  This encourages 4/5’s to register early and is just good business for the promoter as he can see early on how many people will be attending the race.  The biggest field is always the 4/5 field, so you might as well incentivize the pre-registration call up.

I ended up 8 out of 8 in the Masters 35+ group.  It is pretty much what I expected as riders with road and mountain bike fitness are at their peak.  I’ve just started building my fitness back up, so I don’t expect to be strong until November.  There were just some really strong racers out there and I had a hard time keeping up.  I shot a video of the race using my GoPro.  The video is here.

I also need to work on pinning my number and my barriers.  What a mess!

This cyclocross bicycle is perfect for racing!
This cyclocross bicycle is perfect for racing!

Even though my new cyclocross bike had a slow engine, the new Santa Cruz Stigmata did a flawless job.  The stigmata handled perfectly.  The tubeless setup on the i19 rims worked just like I hoped they would.  I ran 30psi front and 35psi back and I could have gone lower.  I hooked up in every corner and had no traction issues anywhere.  I had confidence that the Stigmata would hold every turn that I took.  The hydraulic disc brakes were perfect.  I didn’t have forearm cramps like I did with my previous bike with the death grip on the Canti-lever brakes.  The braking only needed one finger to modulate and you could smoothly apply the brakes at will.  The only thing you have to watch out for is too much braking.  I did brake a little hard with the rear on one turn but I saved it.  I love this cyclocross bike!

You can see the course in the video I posted above.  It’s on a farm so I expected it to be bumpy and it sure was bumpy.  I’m fine with courses like this.  It is good to keep courses mixed up in the PACX series or any series for that matter.  If we all raced the same courses, that would make for a boring series.  I know a lot of cyclocross racers in Eastern PA like their smooth grass tracks, but it is good to get out on a tough course at times too.  This isn’t my favorite course in the series but it isn’t my least favorite either.  I applaud the race promoter for mixing it up this year.  He made some very good changes to the course.  The road was opened up at the start so we could avoid a hazard.  There were more Corn rows which really gives you the feeling of going faster than you probably are.  He kept the steep hill but added in some more turns in “Snake Alley.”  The only suggestions I would have is to add a log somewhere on the course.  I love it when we have to negotiate a log; run it or bunny hop it.  I would have gotten rid of the mud bog during the one stretch.  I’m fine with a muddy area or even throwing out some sprinklers to make things difficult in an area.  However, I just kept wondering how much cow shit I was getting on me as I stepped into a mud bog on a farm.

That’s it folks.  First race of the season is in the book.  I wish the podium pictures would upload to my blog but for some reason wordpress is not letting me do that right now.  If I can get them to work I’ll add them in later.  Great job to everyone!

Embrace the suck!

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