I raced Cobbs Hill Cross in Rochester, NY on 10/10. Rochester never has super huge fields, which makes me nervous because it can make your result fairly skewed if there are ten really strong guys in a 20 man field. This year, Cobbs Hill was categorized instead of open, and there were 41 racers in the 3/4 field. DEFINITELY a record for the course.
At the start, I got in the third row because of my excellent scrum abilities. A few jokes later the whistle blows and we're off. Around the first corner and I make a good amount of passes, elbows out, looking wide. A guy in front of me goes down on the right and causes a bottle neck, but I squeak through clean. Going past the pit, another crash that I squeeze around clean and there is a 5 man lead group that I am chasing. I catch them through the technical turns and I am in 6th going into the single track. Out of the woods and along a slight incline power stretch of gravel and one guy pops off. This year, instead of riding up to the reservoir, the promoters force a run up by placing a barrier at the bottom of a water run off that is completely eroded beyond belief. The barriers up north are not the same size as in MABRA land, and coming in hot I bonk the barrier with my wheel. Front brake is locked up, run up the hill, put chain on, can't figure out brake.... ah crap I'll unhook it. Climb up the hill and descend without a front brake, through the finish in about twelfth. Pass two on the barriers, get to the pit and grab Mitch's bike. It has SPDs, I ride Crank Brothers, but I'll make it work while Jen figures out the brake. Get about 20m out of the pit and realize the front has about 25psi and the rear has about 12-15. GREAT. Fall back a LOT on the half lap on that bike, sitting in about 30 of 41, steam coming out of the ears. An excellent pit hand off from Jen and I'm back on the Rock Lobster and chasing... hard. Coming through the finish in 21st and see 5 to go. Can't stop, won't stop.
I put out maximum effort for all five laps. Two laps of chasing and I can see the leader ahead of me coming off the hill before I was going into it I'm sitting in about 15th, and now we're starting to lap a lot of riders. Going through the finish with 1 to go, Jen says I'm in 11th, and I can see a group of five riders about 60 meters ahead. Bridge, gap. Going into the hill there are three more riders about 30m ahead. Descend without fear, because hey, I have TWO brakes now (and this is why my futurewife is better than yours). I am blacking out all lap, I can't see straight, everything hurts, and I pass all 3 riders in the last turn and out sprint them into the finish, thinking I just finished 5th-7th. I check the results and they have me in 11th.
Regardless of what my official result was, I had an amazing time. My niece and nephew were ringing cowbells for me, and my nephew and I shared a chocolate milk post race. I left everything on the course, I didn't give up when I got frustrated, and I am happy with my result, whether it is 11/41 or 5/41.
I would also like to say how much I LOVE our new kits. You go to a race where nobody knows you and nobody knows your team, and they are able to see from afar that you ride for TOMS, they yell 'COME ON TOMS!' at you. Good, clean design. I really like that people don't have to try to figure out who we are when we show up some place. Good job Adam and Jen.
I am going up to Rochester for Halloween to race at Parma Cross and hang out with my family, since there is nothing happening in PA that weekend. Anybody care to join me?
-Report by Ryan D
Editor's note: Len & Karen Sorbello at www.FotoReg.com were kind enough to share these photos with us. Check out their stuff, its beautiful.