This past weekend (November 4th) was our Provincial Cyclocross Championships being hosted by Barrie Cycling. The event was located at the Barrie Sports Complex which was nice, we actually had washrooms and they had a campfire going by registration! The course was very flat with a lot of fun, fast corners with the odd slower section. There was also a pretty cool run-up over a big pile of dirt with a steep ride down the back side, followed by a few corners on some soft dirt and a ten foot long soupy mud puddle (see pictures link below). Being it was so cold out, I actually enjoyed my trainer for the first time as I warmed up on it before my race. At the start line we were seeded into grid spaces based on random call-ups which seemed pretty pointless (I wouldn’t have said that if my random placing had put me near the front). Soon after the whistle sounded and we were off! Finally, I had a solid start with a fast clip into my pedal. The combined Elite & Under 23 field tore off down the start-finish straightaway and towards the first corner. I kept my placing within the pack and waited for things to settle down and string out a bit. As we entered the first technical section, sure enough, someone ate it and collected another rider. I was lucky enough to not get held up and made my way onto the next set of straightaway’s. I really felt great on that first lap and rode really aggressively. I was passing people coming into corners and chasing them down on the straights. By mid-way through that lap I had put for 4-5 guys behind me that have beaten me in the past and I knew I wanted to keep pushing to make sure they didn’t get back to me. By the second lap the last guy I had passed put in a hard effort and caught my wheel. It was a tough decision to keep pulling with him there because he was getting such a good draft off of me, but I also didn’t want to get involved with any posturing and let someone else catch up. He eventually made his way by but I kept the pressure on and slowly pulled out my advantage over the rider behind me. About mid way through the second last lap I had a momentary lapse of focus and went down on a fast corner. It’s amazing how just a second of inattention can put you on a poor line and headed into the grass. Luckily my chain stayed on and I only lost 10-15 seconds. The rest of my race was spent being careful not to make any other silly mistakes while still pushing as hard as I could. Coming onto the start-finish straight for the last time I jumped out of the saddle and went hard right through the line. My goal coming into this was to crack the top-ten, I was really excited to see that I finished ninth and am just outside of that top Elite group of riders who just seem to be on a higher level then everyone else. It was also cool to see that when they split out the Under 23’s I had actually finished 6th in the Elite Men’s race! Next up is the Fireman’s Park Race’s on November 24th & 25th. It’s never too late to try your first Cyclocross race (that’s true until the seasons over!) and I encourage anyone thinking about it to do it! Jeff Moote put on an awesome race last year and I know he’s stepping it up for this years event!
November 7, 2012