Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cross Over

The 2010 Cyclocross season in Calgary is over. It was the second season I involved myself in this particular kind of fall foolishness and finishing off with the Brian Kullman Memorial and Beans ‘n Barley races this past weekend was, like, gnarly.

The lovely and talented Pam (tlatP) came and marshalled a corner for me Saturday morning while I raced Sport. Keith’s Montgomery Jr High course packs a tonne of tough into a very confined space. There are very few flowy parts, lots of tight, technical turns, sidehills transitioning into 120° uphill corners, the requisite barriers, a 3 kilometre long set of concrete stairs and The Hill. The Hill rises about 4 metres at an angle just under vertical. There is about 60 metres of flat in front of it to build momentum. I don’t think anyone rode it successfully until the Elite race, where about ¾ of the field made it up consistently. That’s just unfair. The Sport group got to race it all with a patchy layer of frost on the ground, just to add to the challenge. Memorable bits were when I nearly bunny-hopped the dude lying clipped in in the middle of the tight uphill corner on lap umpteen, Thomas upgrading to Expert with his strong race and Darcy body slamming in the flat near the pits. (I didn’t witness Darcy’s styin’ move, but I hear it was epic.)

I got to take over tlatP’s corner for the subsequent races and learned lots by observation. Katy Curtis (3rd) and Pepper Harlton (4th) did serious damage to many egos in the Expert race. Shawna (6th), Jenn (9th) and Marcy (14th) flew the Speed Theory colours proudly in a sizeable women’s field. At least one of the women produced an expert and graceful snot rocket just after climbing The Hill. Were I not a happily married fella I would have lost my heart to her for that single demonstration of biking prowess. I later learned that I never want to race in a field that includes Shawn Bunnin. After the first lap, he rode away from a big number of strong Elite dudes and just kept adding to the gap throughout the race. Keith manfully held him off from lapping him at the end. His reward was another lap.

Saturday was such fun that Sunday could have easily been a letdown. It wasn’t though. Terrascape put on a great race in a cool little park in Shaganappi. This course was more of a power course with lots of wiggly/flowy straightish sections, the Big Air bump and most notably, the Knobby Gobbler. The Knobby Gobbler is a segment with a steep runup through pocket gopher bumps followed by an immediate remount and descent into a short section of singletrack uphill with a fine layering of pea gravel. I think this is where I did most of the crotch damage. On the upside, my style points for remount at the hill top increased with every lap. I lost about 10 placings on the first lap by overcooking a 180° corner and getting caught up in the barriers. Over the next 5 laps I managed to claw back about 5 placings before strategically overtaking my last competitor on the low side of a climb into the volleyball court. That felt good. Sadly I didn’t finish 11th (special prize placing), but Harley did, so that’s cool, and I did finish ahead of one of my team mates so I have minor bragging rights.

I got to see the start of the Women’s race before having to head off to a hockey game (I hope someone enjoyed my beer and chilli). It was a spectacle. 21 women started, with about 18 of them in costume. Linda Green’s horse was neighing and bucking throughout the starter’s instructions and she wasn’t even shushed. I left during the second lap without observing any of the enticing behaviour I’d witnessed the day prior, more’s the pity. Can anyone report on the remainder of Sunday’s racing?

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