September 27, 2016

Cowbell CX OCup #1 Race Report

Cowbell CX OCup #1 on Sunday, September 25 in St. Catharines. Race report by Robert Daniells:

I had been torn between riding Tour De Hans and the first ocup for a few weeks, my wife ended having her work schedule change and as she has family in St Catharines the decision was made for me, turns out to be a good choice.

Being the ever prepared I stayed with family the night before the race, this obviously made me late in the morning as I rolled up 40 minutes before the start. I head to sign in to find out that apparently I have suddenly become old enough to ride masters, but I stayed in the elite field so I can pretend that I’m not aging. By the time I had registered pinned the numbers on and made a 3rd attempt to get my timing tip to stay attached I was ready for my warm up lap.

I roll past the start line as people are already lining up and begin my warm up lap. I get to the back side of the course and realize that the lap is a lot longer than anticipated, so I duck under the tap and miss the last 3rd of the course. I roll back to the start of the course to see a huge field lined up, the combined field for M3 and E4 was close to 80. I figured that I would be best starting at the back and not causing huge backups with my disastrous cornering. I get the shout that a place as been saved for me with the rest of the WCC contingent, so I squeeze between folks and move up. The atmosphere is much more relaxed than a road race as everyone is chatting and waiting for the start.

Off we go for lap one, my start was good and I keep my place in the field by squeezing Steven Lake and making sure he is behind me, that’s 2 races in a row after Kelso. Steven you need to start in front of me next time, it saves me the watching you blow by. I see Mark go down in front of me on the second corner and the majority of the WCC guys are still close together. We get to a little technical steep down and up off camber set of corners resulting in a bottle neck forcing a good portion of the field to run. I think Kevin was the only one of us through on the bike as he rides off into the distance, looks like between that and a few other bottle necks on the next few corners some of us lost a minute in the first lap. At some point in the first lap both Mark and Steven came past me leaving me last placed WCC, feeling like I was going backwards fast. I managed to keep Mark in sight for a couple of laps and could see Alain gradually coming towards me. Lap 3 didn’t go so well I had a minor collision and a couple of bad corners and let mark get out of reach of me.

By the end of Lap 3 Alain was in sight, at this point we had a lot of fun with me closing the gaps on the less technical sections that made it easier to put out some power, followed by my giving up my gains on the corners. Much to Alain’s amusement my wife, sister in-law and nephew decided that they should cheer for Alain (I suppose its in the spirt of CX heckling). Coming across the finish line for the penultimate time I finally get on Alain’s wheel. In his true spirit he decided to give me a lead out on the one long straightaway over the start line, so I decided that the best option was to refuse this, knowing that my heart rate would plummet on the next 3 corners and that I needed the small gap to stay out of the way. I was nearly passed a couple of times by Alain until we hit the back section that had a couple of longer straight sections. Approaching the last 3rd of a course I saw a guy go down hard, rolling his tubulars, he then promptly got up to run behind me managing to finish just after my self and Alain. I was glad to finish, not be lapped, and to hopefully learn something in the process.

Alain handed me a post race beverage, and we then all traded stories and proceeded to wait for the next set of races. This was nearly more fun than our own race, a combination of heckling and cheering on fellow racers.

For those that are on the fence about cross, come give it a shot and have some type 2 fun. Its good to have a change of pace from the summer season.

Finally, well done to all those WCC riders, I think we all managed to finish.
For some reason Kevin went back to complete a second race in SS category, which in itself deserves recognition, I road into St Catharines after the race and realized that 40 minutes of CX can make the legs complain.

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