Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
It has been a totally amazing experience to race with Speed Theory here in Calgary. From my first bike race ever, the Crankmasters' Moment Of Truth, when I met Trev and decided to join the team, to now, has been an awesome experience, and I want to thank every one of you with whom I raced, trained, got pumped up with, and hung out with...all that has been a huge part of why it's been so fun.
So many memories from the last three seasons of racing. A few standouts:
- Definitely seeing the ST crew for the first time at that Crankmasters TT, all cheering each other on, and thinking, I want to be part of that!
- Meeting Stephen on a cool-down ride after my second race. I was nervously riding in a double-paceline and he said "Buddy, you have to get used to riding close in a group" and he put his arm around my shoulders. I freaked out! haha He and I got in a three-man breakaway in the next race.
- Learning new pain thresholds at many Tuesday night crits and cross with German, Bayly, Carson, and lots of others
- C4 Wednesday night series races with Trev, Stephen and Alex (OMG, I'm in a break with cat 2 racers!)
- Lots of KOM battles with Wooley and Welchie, and the associated trash talk
- 300km randonneuring ride/race with Stephen and Trev in Tucson, and bonking with 100km to go
- Training camps in Victoria and Penticton (IMC course followed by Apex! Mt Baldy! Wheelers ride!)
- Epic rides with Stappie, Keith and other hard men...always involving at least 6 hours in the saddle and lots of gravel
- Banff bike fest - living and racing like a pro for 4 days, every year
- Nationals! with Trev, Godfrey, et al
And so many others.
Of course a big thanks to the Speed Theory gents, Jared and Paul, for both the direct support, and indirectly by providing the foundation for the team.
Far out - can't believe I'm trading the desk for the saddle next year! A solid winter of training, then off to Montreal late winter some time. Hopefully I'll learn French before I starve to death - although regardless, without my fat IT paycheck, I foresee lots of canned beans in my future... Lots of time to see you all before I leave, but after that, hopefully I'll catch up with a bunch of you at Nationals, or any time you're out east. And I'll be sure to get in touch when I am back in town down the road.
Pedal hard, and keep the rubber side down.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Races started early on Saturday morning, with the Master Women and Master C men starting at 9am. It was cool, dark and frosty which did nothing for motivation just to do the warm up! But it was the day we had all been waiting for, so it was time to find some. By the time the race started, the ground became soupy, adding some technical factors into the race course, which makes it my kind of course! Most people had watched the You Tube video of the course, and most were disappointed with what we thought would be handed to us on race day. Much to our surprise, it was nothing like the video and ended up being better than expected. It was still not nearly as fun as the courses we are used to, but I think this goes to show why Alberta did so well out there. Ours are definitely tougher. There was one section in particular that had a ton of twists and turns that went up or down the slope. When looking at it from a distance, you could see that ZM Cycle & Fitness (the race organizers) had incorporated their logo into the course, and it was the shape of the Z and the M. They only used blue tape in this section and yellow on the rest of the course, so it was quite clear that this was what they did! People struggled in this section with all the steep ups and downs with twists and turns, which made it my favorite part of the course. There were also a couple steep hills that people either had to run or ride, depending on the time of day and if it was greasy or tacky. My race was shorter than the normal 40 minutes, and was 35 minutes which meant going even harder than normal. It was a large field of around 17 women at the start line, and not knowing who you were lining up with made it even more exciting, which made it even more important not to miss your call up. I am so glad I didn’t miss mine, as the start was fast, uphill and fairly narrow. My goal for Nationals was a Top 5 finish, and I achieved that goal with 4th place. Keith B and Charles B were in the next group at 10am and they had strong races as well in a large field of 55 racers at the start line! We were then able to enjoy the rest of the day in the sunshine watching the rest of the races, and cheering for Alberta.
Sunday was a regular Ontario race, same venue and course, called Nationals Revenge. The energy was pretty low, as everyone was coming off of a Nationals high from the day before. Alberta still managed to get revenge and saw many back in the top 10 and on the podium. The women had a smaller field of 7 racers, and I got my podium finish of 2nd place, and a really cool Silver medal. I also got my choice of a prize…a bike pump or a light fixture (??????) It was almost like they realized last minute they didn’t have enough prizes and stopped at Home Depot on their way to the race that morning. Results can be found here
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I have to say this was by far the best race of the season, just because of the energy and fun that was buzzing at Shaganappi Park on Halloween Day. Terrascape Racing did a fantastic job at organizing another fun race, which seems to be getting bigger each year. It was so cool to see so many costumes out, the women’s field in particular. I think it’s safe to say that if you weren’t dressed up, you felt out of place. Which is funny since I worried I would feel out of my place by dressing up. Lucky for me I didn’t worry too much, as my Strawberry Shortcake costume got me best dressed in the Women’s category, and a $25 gift card to a local shop. With 21 women at the start line, it was the largest number of women I have seen yet a cross race. Thankfully, my points in the series earned me my first ‘call up’ on both days so I didn’t have to work my way through the large field of women on either day. Marcy was dressed up as a zombie, as was Thomas. Jennifer R was Wonder Woman, and Tanya H was a Cross racer in a skin suit. Tanya earned the special 11th place jersey which had special meaning to Jeff Neilsen of Terrascape, and saw that the 11th place finishers in each category received their jersey.
Of special note, Katy Curtis schooled the boys again in Expert with a 2nd place finish, and this time showing them that a skinsuit doesn’t always make you faster, but perhaps a Tim Horton’s uniform does. Pepper Harlton held them off as well with a 4th place finish. Also in the Expert category, there was a little tomfoolery with CP Walsh and Tim Brezsnyak putting on a performance for the spectators who were enjoying beer and chili on the sidelines. In the Elite field there were a few people dressed up as well, showing everyone that even the fast guys have a less serious side to them. We had an Elf, a non-breathable 3-piece suit, and the best costume of the day, was a robot made out of a cardboard box and miscellaneous items found at Home Depot. The fact he even raced in it earned him props, and not only did he get best costume, he also got the Big Air prize in that category.
Great way to wrap up the season of ABA races, and the last ABA race is the River Bend Cross Madness in Red Deer put on by CABC. Tech guide is found here: http://www.albertabicycle.ab.ca/uploads/files/Red%20Deer%20Cross%20-%20Tech%20Guide%20-%202010.pdf
Awesome photos courtesy of Bill Quinney can be found here:
This weekend Keith Bayly, Charles Bougie and I are Toronto bound for Cyclocross Nationals competing in the Masters categories on Saturday as well as Sunday’s UCI race. Stay tuned for a Nationals race report!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The 2010 Cyclocross season in
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?