Swashbuckler Cross 2014 was the first race of a two-day get-out-of-town weekender with the Bell’s crew. The race is held on the PA Renaissance fairgrounds which is an interesting yet somehow appropriate venue for cyclocross and I was pumped to check it out. The course featured a very long sand pit, some stairs, lots of gravel and an awkward flyover.
The start was a short uphill paved section into a few dirt/stone turns that filtered out to a slightly uphill left turn on the gravel. I felt confident about the short prologue but missed my clip-in and hit the first turn about 20 places back. I was having trouble passing anywhere but the straight sections, luckily there were quite a few and I was able to catch back up to some familiar faces.
I rode with Shaun G. from BikeLine for a while, went hard through the sand on the next-to-last lap and was able to put a nice gap on him. I came through the start/finish for the bell lap and the announcer told me I was in 2nd, about thirty seconds behind Ressler. I was feeling pleased with 2nd and knew that unless Ressler had some serious trouble, I wouldn’t catch him, so I played it safe and just focused on not making any mistakes.
Overall this was one of my favorite events this season. The venue looked great, the course had some fun sections, and there was plenty of beer and hanging out – I definitely plan to race this one again in 2015.