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Orchard Cross at Applecrest Farm

Team Bikeman - Race Reports

I haven’t raced cyclocross since 2016, and Orchard Cross is the race I’ve missed the most. I just got my new Kona Jake the Snake frame built up at the end of September, so this race was my first opportunity to get back into it and test the bike out.

We checked out the course the evening before and it was surprisingly dry considering the rain we’d had just the day before. All that would change on race day, though. There was some light rain in the early morning that made the course a little damp for my two practice laps early in the morning. But rain was just starting to fall as I lined up for start.

Not having raced in a few years meant starting in the second to last row of the Cat 4/5 50+ race, so my race didn’t get off to a fast start. But, after about a half lap I was able to start moving up. This was my first CX race with disc brakes and Carver wheels set up tubeless, and I really enjoyed the combination. I was able to stay on the hoods and still slow down when I needed to and had plenty of grip through the corners, which were getting muddier and muddier each lap. In the end I finished 27 out of 39 in my race and also managed to pass 14 riders in the 40+ race that started a minute ahead of us.

The cold rain was really coming down by the time my race ended so I made a beeline to the van to get into warm, dry clothes. Conditions got downright miserable for the rest of the day, so I was very happy I got my race in early. We still stayed to cheer people on for the next couple of races despite the cold, wet, sloppy conditions (even for spectating). The only disappointment of the day was that Applecrest Farm was sold out of cider donuts, something my wife and I had really been looking forward to. It seems they underestimated how many crazy people will actually turn out for a CX race in 45 degree pouring rain. Here’s to better weather next year!

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