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A thick, constant snowfall was the major player of this year’s Solstice Cross in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Starting just before the first race took off, the snow didn’t stop, transforming the course and its surrounding landscape into a winter wonderland for spectators, and a slippery mosh-pit for racers. This was classic cyclocross racing, and for the last race of an eventful season, one couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Calling Your Bluff
As the snow began to fall during the Men’s Cat 4/5 race, the venue was buzzing–finally some of that white stuff on the ground! By the start of the next race, however, it was clear that the rapidly falling snow would become a major factor on the course. A group of racers in the staging area laughed as one of the officials remarked, “These are the conditions you cyclecross riders love to brag about racing in!” True enough–this was the day to prove it!
“These are the conditions you cyclecross riders love to brag about racing in!”
The well-loved course, home to the Fifth Street CX series, was ready for the off-season, and the more well-worn sections were quick to turn slick at the first sign of moisture. Riders paid special attention to the many off-camber turns, often resorting to running sections that–under normal circumstances–are usually ridden. This was one of those races where even the most skilled riders walked away with muddy outfits.
Having superior bike-handling skills was enough for most racers to ‘get by’ for the first half of the day, but by noon, the conditions were downright ‘messy’. The ultra-packable snow stuck to just about everything–derailleurs, brakes, clips–and racers were doing everything they could to shed it. Reports were even heard of some riders using antifreeze and Armor All on their equipment to beat the snow! All the same, it was a common site to see frustrated riders kicking their pedals in anger, just trying to clip-in.
A Moment of Silence
One year ago this week, Frank Wigmore–an active and beloved member of Guy’s Racing Club and the regional cycling scene–passed away after experiencing a cardiac event before a race. To celebrate Frank’s involvement in the sport and to commemorate his passing, Kevin Justice (Bike Line/Trek) offered a brief eulogy before the Men’s Masters race, before leading the field in a moment of silence. Both racers and officials were unified in Frank’s remembrance, and the moment served as a reminder of the wonderful community and friendships that racers find in this local cycling scene.
It’s a Wrap!!
Solstice Cross offered the final opportunity for PACX points this year, and racers were certainly aware of this as they started their races. While some categories like the Men’s Cat 3/4 was long-ago clinched by Young Medalists’ Austin Banks, other categories like the Men’s Elite series title was still up for grabs. Mike Festa (Philadelphia Ciclismo) battled it out to the end, finally ceding the championship to Andrew Wulfkuhle of 717cycling pb RSI Panels. These PACX titles were hard-fought, and we’ll be sure to publish a follow-up post on the overall series in the near future!
Plenty to Talk About
For more info and media specific to each of the day’s races, scroll below! Our goal is to grow our ‘coverage’ for each race, and to bring more and more high quality content to showcase all of our region’s amazing racers! Enjoy!