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NBX GP of Cross 2019
By Clay Parker Jones profile image Clay Parker Jones
3 min read

NBX GP of Cross 2019

One of my last CX races ever was probably my all-time favorite.

We don’t talk enough about how rewarding the actual cyclocross race is. If you let it, a minute of time between the tape can be as fulfilling as a real result, let alone the road trip, the diner breakfasts, the small towns, and the post-race hangs. 

Here’s my hypothesis: as you go faster, the risks don’t go up that much, but the rewards go up exponentially. Especially on a course like NBX, you can feel like a human-powered roller coaster, linking turns like they were designed to be linked. 

In a way that goes way beyond road racing, and in a different way than gravel racing or just big road rides, cyclocross gives back more than you put into it. This is a never-finished, one-million-piece puzzle that everyone gets to play with. Not just the people at the front. Not just the people with the fitness to compete for the podium. That thing where you find the perfect piece that everyone’s been looking for the whole day — everyone’s having one of those moments at least once per lap. 

As I rolled back to the car after finishing 35th out of 56, I saw John D’Agostino congratulating Adam Kollender on a great race. Adam was stoked — as stoked as I’ve seen a person be after a race, and even more stoked than Rebecca Fahringer seemed to be when she locked down her NINTH win of the season later on that day (she’d get another on Sunday). No knock on Rebecca intended at all — it’s just awesome that finishing 38th in a Cat3 race can be so goddamn thrilling. 

“This is so fun!” — Adam, literally jumping up and down in a grass parking lot in Rhode Island. 

Adam figured it out. 

And then there was Friend of the Program™ Dan Cooper, who broke a headset spacer mid-race and finished! with a headset loose enough that it would end any road race and most road rides. Imagine a FutureShock or IsoSpeed setup, but with nothing holding it in place. 

Dan already knows. 

As for myself, exactly two weeks ago as of the start of Saturday’s race, I was getting my shoulder x-rayed after separating it in a bad crash (my worst ever!) at The Best Small Cyclocross Race 2018 and 2019 winner, Keith Garrison’s Rainey Park Cross. I probably shouldn’t have raced, but I did anyway. I ditched my call up and started at the back, passed some people, took handups, tried to ride the sand, and won my group. It was the absolute best time I’d had on a bike since…I can’t recall.

It’s been a long year, and I needed a reminder. 

Cross is what got me into bike racing, and it’s what will keep me doing it long after I shouldn’t be.

Trying and failing to ride the sand
In the distance: a donut
I have the donut
I eat the donut
By Clay Parker Jones profile image Clay Parker Jones
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