Written by Nicole Pisani Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00
Farm Cross was my first race since May of last year. Since then, we had baby Eleanor who’s now 8 months old. Needless to say, my grand return to racing was more of a gentle, dip my toes in the water experience than a dive right in. The overall goal was to finish the race and have fun while doing so. Mission accomplished.
The race was held at a pretty farm abutting Mirror Lake in West Newfield, ME. There were tractors to zip around, barns to roll through, freshly mowed hills to run up, followed by sweeping descents into fragrant, tilled soil; and the comfort of no cars to dodge made for a relaxing atmosphere. Part of me would have been perfectly happy kicking my feet up on the tractor and cheering the other racers on, but I got in line with some fast guys. I was the only woman in the cross race however, there were women there who raced earlier in the day in the Duathlon and trail run races.
The sun popped out just as we were starting, just enough to heat us up, as if a fast start to a race wasn’t enough. So my pace slowed to a happy chugga-chugga speed. It was as if the Cross Gods were saying “See, a 3 minute warm-up just isn’t enough, don’t do that again” which I vowed not to.
We raced for 6 or so laps (I lost track) and meandered through the course on the farmland, up off-camber double track, and on single track that weaved through a grouping of birch trees. Eventually, after some zig-zagging through tape and churning through a short sand section, we ended up back on the gravel road we started and then finished on.
I knew there would be a small field since Suckerbrook was on the same day. But it didn’t matter, because for every racer there were at least 2 spectators, and the course offered 4+ times to see those howling family members and friends on every lap. And as quick as those fast guys gapped me at the start, the serene farm setting turned into a totally different place of huffing and puffing supported by smiling, rowdy, heckling cheerers.
By the time the bell rang for the last lap, the aromas from the grilling venison burgers were calling my name. A warm meal and cold beer awaited every rider as part of their entry. And prizes were - even more beer, cash, Clif bars, and maple products from a neighboring farm.
It was a fun, organized event and I hope to see more Maine Bikeman team members at the event next year supporting our local community. Best of luck to all of Team Bikeman this cyclocross season! Race fast and have a good time.
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