Hard day in Hiram

Butternut Hill CX presented by Bike Authority / Team Lake Effect Racing was hosted graciously at Rosalie and Tom Franek's tree farm in Hiram. The property is located just North of Hiram on beautiful rolling terrain through spruce and fir trees which made for some great racing. The day before the race, we put the final touches on the course and did a few laps to see how the flow was going to be. It was good, nice dry conditions and warm temperatures and we were all saying that it would be really nice if this nice weather would hold out til after the race tomorrow, since they were calling for rain, but still mild temps. Well I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of rain pelting the side of my house and knew instantly that we were going to be in for some tough conditions, but hey, like I said before, cross racing is all about racing in all kinds of weather.

 My race went off at Noon and it had been raining all morning so the course was now pretty rutted up and sloppy, so picking lines and bike handling were key especially with the off camber sections and 180's. I chose to run the muddy off camber's and some of the 180's in the back of the course and it worked out much better and faster, for me anyway. I was in a hard battle right from the start and it never let up. There were no recovery sections on the course either so that made it even harder. Dave Bartels and I were once again fighting it out in good fashion, I was on his wheel and vise versa until a slight bobble caused a gap and I was able to get away. I managed to catch my team-mate Chris Riccardi and we were holding strong together until I washed out on a corner in the upper pine tree section on the 3rd. lap and Chris rode away. That was okay because he was sitting 2nd 45+ and I was 3rd. I remounted quickly but just a slight bobble opens a big gap that is hard to close, especially on this course. I did manage to close the gap back to Chris and he and I were together again on the last lap. I looked back a few times and could see Dave and Derek Wilford (Team Spin) gaining and I told Chris we have to go, these guys are coming. I got around Chris just before the rooted run-up near the road and was on the back of Chris Huck's (Snakebite Racing) wheel now but there wasn't really any room to get by him at this point. He hammered it on the slight downhill leading to the front pine tree section and I could't come around anywhere through there so I thought I would wait to try to sprint it out at the finish. It did come down to a sprint but Chris got me on another sprint finish... Last time it was Dave this time Chris, Nope, not a sprinter am I, but it's great racing.

TLE rounded out the Masters 45+ podium again with Joe Pollato taking the win, myself 2nd. and Chris Riccardi 3rd., great racing again guys! Congrats to all that raced, it was probably one of the hardest ever.
Also a huge Thank You to the Franek's for the use of their property and their hospitality and all of our team-mates and volunteers that came out to help set-up and tear down, this race wouldn't have happened without everyone. See you all this weekend in Broadview Heights for the last NEOCX race of the season.

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