Monday, November 7, 2011

Just What I Needed at Ed Sander

We took last week off from races to relax and do stuff around the house; funny it came when it did, because that’s usually the weekend Steve takes off anyway when he’s racing. The cross season is so short that you want to suck every minute out of it, but on the other hand by the time it’s halfway done you are tired and borderline burnt out and need a break.

So Sunday was the annual Ed Sander race at the Lilypons Gardens near Frederick, MD. Moved from its traditional end of September weekend, this year we got to enjoy the gardens in full autumn splendor. In addition, this year featured an almost all-new course, which was a complete surprise to me since I hadn’t checked out any of the preview maps. But I think the changes were all really positive, and as much as I missed the fun of heckling riders on the back 9, this new set up was much more spectator friendly and the new uphill finish on the pavement was a lot of fun to watch (and looked really hard to ride!).

While our teammate Jon Hicks was tearing it up and winning his race out in Cincinnati, our other cat 3/4 masters racers were running an impressive race right here. Four members of Sportif Cpaching Group/BPB placed in the top 25, with Cory Smith on the podium in fourth place. And actually as I’m looking at the results, I see that it was a day full of fourth place finishes for the team – Allyson Tufano finished fourth in the Elite Women’s race as did Jay Morali in the Elite Master’s Men race! Overall, the team continues to improve and post impressive results. It’s really exciting to see it growing!

Overall I was really impressed with the changes to the course and the improved spectator friendliness. I know I said no pictures, I but the team tents were so well positioned to watch folks coming up that hill towards the finish line that I couldn’t help myself! Here’s a small photoset from the day.

I also got to meet some interesting people at the race. I had seen one guy around at a few races wearing a kit promoting the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. As a young adult cancer survivor, I was curious what was up, and asked him about it. Apparently he is a coach who helps young adult cancer survivors getting into athletic pursuits. They are going to have a tent with more information at Rockburn in two weeks, so please stop by and check them out, I know I’m going to. I never took advantage of their services personally when I was in treatment, but I know that they do a lot of great things.

And upon overhearing my conversation, the wife of one of our team members, who also races herself, told me about the Challenged Athletes Foundation. I have heard of them in passing, but haven’t checked them out before. Apparently they help disabled athletes (such as me) get the equipment they need to compete. Since I just purchased my first cyclocross bike this weekend (!!!), this couldn’t have been better timing. I’ll definitely be checking them out and would suggest you do the same.

Really great day overall, thanks to NCVC for such a great experience, and for those AMAZING waffles!

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