Tuesday, 25 October 2011

CX Race Prep: The best tools for the conditions

My season has been full of ups and downs:

  • 1st, Win at Aldor Acres
  • 25th, Flat at New Brighton
  • 3rd at Vanier
  • 6th, Flat at EV GP of Cross
  • 13th, Slow start and poor tire choice for Pumpkin Cross

I am 2 for 5 in terms of key results. I push my gear hard, but expect it to respond. The Maxxis Raze were the tire of choice for the first 4 races. 2 successes on them, 2 blown beads resulting in a pit and wheel change. 

Basically I am 50% on those tires. They work very well in the dry grass, or dirt conditions. They have worked for me in the wet before as well. What was terrible this weekend was trying the Vitorria XG Cross Pro tires on the muddy, wet course of Pumpkin Cross. They did not pick up at all, and I had little traction at 50 psi in the grass. The last part is my fault. I wanted to avoid, at all costs, another flat. So, I pumped them up hard. It felt like I was pulling a truck at that PSI.

I look back to the last two weeks of training and I feel I was tired and perhaps over-trained for this race last Sunday. Going into it without a killer instinct, high confidence, and a boatload of determination left me without any motivation to race hard. Even my race prep was rushed, things forgotten at home, and I strayed from my pre-race meals, indulging in things that do not help before a race.

I will go back to the Maxxis for the next race, as they have brought me success in the past. I will keep pressure to 45 or so, and not stray from my pre-race meals and prep. The bike cleaned up nicely, but tonight I noticed the ticking from the rear was a loose rear QR lever. I raced Sunday with that thing not fully tightened. It gets worse two days later, after I thought all was over.

I have 3 races left. I will pull out another good result somewhere. I will make South Surrey another solid race like in 2009.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Local Ride Pumpkin Cross 2011 (or how to start at the front and go backwards fast)

Pumpkin Cross 2011 has just wrapped up, and for me it was less than a stellar result. The skies were blue, the sun ablaze, the temperature balmy, the course sloppy, slippery and slick. And me? I was completely average. Perhaps mediocre is a better word to describe the finish today. The effort was maximal, all that I could muster. Let me break it down for you. Read on!
The effort was there. I am pooped right out from this one. 

The Maple Ridge Equi-Sport Center hosted the many racers today, on a course that was completely flat, with a few step ups here and there, a number of 180s, soooo much wet grass and wide mud bogs, some horse jumps, and a maze of trees to test our skills. Mother nature was kind on us with weather, but the ground was a mess. Local Ride did this event right, and it is right up there with all the other CX races in Vancouver for how well organized it is.
Check out the horse legs on the horse jump.

In 2009, I finished 4th or 5th at this race. Elite mountain biker Greg Day took the win at that race smashing the field on the second lap, sandbagging his way to a win in the 3/4 catagory.

Today was another story. John Irvine, Mike Murphy, Ryan Newsome, Continental stinky jersey, and myself lined up in the front row. I missed my call up due to an extended pre-ride of the course. Catherine Pendrel was honored at the beginning of the race for her World MTB Championship win, taking home a pumpkin pie. For us, the only thing the CBC commissaire gave us was an abrupt whistle to start the race after he moved us down to the start 300 feet from the commentators tent.
Such a cool thing to race with a world champ.
I had a difficult time clipping into my pedals as I started, taking me nearly 10 spots before I was locked in and good to go. After that, I just bled positions. A fast first lap was taxing, and I maintained my position for that lap, until my 50psi tires managed to spin on the beat down flat bogs and soft grass. I thought I was going to just turn it on and kick it up a gear and claw back to the front. Thus, the switch was not working today. I did not have the jam to even flick the switch and turn it on. At all. At any point in the race, I could not go fast. Chalk this one up as an-off day.

This course was not a dirt crit, such as Aldor Acres and Vanier, where you could throw your bike into the corners and know that everything was going to hook up perfectly. Today was a course suited to a rider who could throw down some big watts and keep fighting in the slow and mucky conditions. John Irvine blew the race up with a crazy fast start and was powereing his way to victory of lap one when he rolled his tubular in the maze and  quickly pulled out before he could complete the lap. I kept fighting my bike to keep it upright, and lost time out of the corners where I came to a near dead stops, my back wheel slipping and sliding through the trees. Names over the loudspeakers were pumped over the grounds, and I kept on hearing the leaders like Mike Murphy, Keith Wilson, and Ryan Newsome. I was too far away from the action to be motivated to get up there, or to know what was actually going on.
Gene Simmons chasing me down.
When Gene Simmons passed me, I fought to keep on his wheel, but my body just was not having it. No matter how much determination I had, it was not enough to overcome my level of fatigue that this course threw at me. I could not respond to the level put down off the top, and continued to go backwards as the race wore on. "Lighten up and had some fun", I thought, and began wheelie dropping the horse jumps.

Catherine Pendrel caught me just before the end of the race on the last half of the lap, and we rode it in together. It was movtivating to follow her wheel. Today, I left my fast at home, and was just plain tired. Tired enough to not even look up at the lap counter to see where the heck I was in the race at any time, and tired enough to chase down anyone who passed me.

My choice of tires was the Vittoria XG Cross Pro Clincher, a step away from Maxxis this week in order to not blow the bead yet again. I will come back to them, but you see, me and the Raze have not been seeing eye to eye lately. We need a bit of a break. So I pumped the Vittoria's up to 50psi and tried to ride through the slop and slippy grass with very little traction. Mistake numero uno.

Mistake two, three, four, and five were: not getting my head into the race from the start, not watching the clock for when I needed to be at the race, not bringing underwear for after the race(--thanks to Winners for being open at 10am on a Sunday morning), and not showing up for my call up. Mentality plays a big part in sport. I look at the Canucks some days and think "They were not mentally prepared for this game tonight". It happens to all of us, and today the vampire bite of lack of mental prep sunk it's teeth deep into my brain.

The preliminary results are up and I am listed as 1 lap down, number 216. My number is 210. This sucks as it is a BC Cup and results should be accurate, but really, I was in the top 15 So the fight for 15th is on.
Happy that mess is over.

Today, I did not have CX racing in me. The next race for me is the joint Might Riders/Daryl Evans South Surrey Bike Park Race. We have teamed up with Mighty Riders, the punk rock-rebellious-Occupy Vancouver-meat eating-tattooed-street fighting-barefoot-Pabst guzzling-middle finger to the man-many wardrobed (how many jersey designs does this team have?)-car pooling-East Van-CX loving team to bring you a course I love and won on in 2009. I have hope to redeem myself and my season, as there are just a few of these local races left. Do I still have confidence in myself? Should I sleep more and ride less? Am I overtrained? Did I just pump my tires up to 60psi? Doubts, you all need to eff off and let me get my fast back. Two of the next 3 local races are DE's. I might announce the BC Cup finals and rip that race a new one, off of the course. We shall see.

Taking stock midway through the season, things looked good after the first race, mechanicals characterize the 2nd and 4th race. Highlights? The win at Aldor Acres, 3rd at Vanier, then the mechanicals. Who knows where I would have placed without the two flats.  Today was a bummer for me. Hopefully this was the anomaly race for the season.

Unofficially: Pumpkin Cross--1 Lap down.
Officially: Pumpkin Cross--13th Place.
Corrections to the results have been made! They can be found here.
Thank you Local Ride for a great day and fun racing. See you next year at Pumpkin Cross 2012!
Next time around, this will be me.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Cycling Photos: A post race scavenger hunt

After I am done sweating and gritting it out with a maximal effort, looking for a good result, my post race hobby is to dig up results and any photos from the event. We have a few photog's who make it out to the races to shoot the pain and suffering that many of us go through on a weekly basis. Those same photographers have been know to handle themselves on a cyclocross bike from time to time. Of the pics that show up on this blog, I am ever impressed just how talented these guys are, and how they manage to shoot in some difficult conditions, turning out week after week some really beautiful shots . Doing some blog hopping tonight of my fellow racer/photographers, I came across these two from the Escape Velocity GP of Cyclocross in Coquitlam from Thanksgiving weekend: 

Third place is lonely when not very many show up to race....Photo: Doug Brons 
I should be able to lean the bike over more, but the corners were slick, and abundant...Photo: D.B.
Doug Brons has a keen eye for the camera, and he knows cycling. I remember yelling to Doug while I was redlining on lap 3 that "I want some pics this week!". The man obliged, and over a week and a half later, these two show up on blog here. I suppose if you ask or yell nicely, you can get what you want. Thanks to Doug and the people who make it out to these races, process the shots, and share them for the good of the sport in our corner of the world.

This weekend is Pumpkin Cross. I am ready for the rain and wind and looking for some hardman style racing.  World Champion Catherine Pendrel is putting on the second annual Cacti Cross in Kamloops on the 30th, and then Mighty Riders and Daryl Evans Racing team up on the 12th to put on a dynamite race back at the South Surrey Bike Park, our 4th year running, if I am not mistaken. Check out the site here. Perhaps we will see some of these photographers in Kamloops and over the bridges in Surrey? I hope so.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Running in 2012: The early season plan

Without a CX race this weekend, I managed to do a bit of CX'íng and trail running. Saturday was CX specific drills at the South Surrey Athletic Field with Jeff. Practice included riding the course for the BC Cup Cyclocross Finals, and hitting practice for cornering and barriers. And Sunday, I got my run on.

Sunday took Sean and me on a long run at 7:30am. Long is relative this time of year, as I am building for the Marathon in May, and the Chuckanut 50 in March. So a 14 km run is the extent of my travels, as I look forward to getting faster for the upcoming year. Pretty soon, 14km will be halfway through for a long run. Until it becomes only a third of the way through. Having done my first marathon in 2011, the marathon distance now seems very doable.

I like to start the early part of the year, winter and spring, focusing on running. The Spring Series road cycling races put on by Escape Velocity are fine if you like road racing in winter conditions--cold, wet, and sometimes snowy. Props to them for putting them on each year. Don't get me wrong, I dig racing in the cold, wet, rain, and snow, but just not on my road bike. Give me my CX bike or a good pair of runners when the weather turns for the worst. The wear and tear on my swag road parts and wheels is costly, the racing is sketchy, and the payoff is not my bag. I like to focus on running because I feel it is actually a better workout throughout the winter and wet, early spring. 

Running can be (is) less treacherous than early season road racing and riding, more adventurous (to some), and kinda like mountain biking, but without the bike. Did I mention I like to run primarily on trails? I do. Trail running is the most challenging, forgiving on the body, and fun. I would much rather hop fallen trees, pound the dirt and mud, and keep my mind working to cover every obstacle safely and quickly, rather than concentrating on the sidewalk or yet another lap of the block. I did that for a few years in the morning before work. 3 laps of Boundary Park 3 times a week for one year, and I was finished with that. That is when my brother introduced me to the Petzl MYO XP Belt. A killer light that allows me to trail run for the last 4 years in the dark of autumn, winter, and spring at 5:45am. One of my most used pieces of running gear--I love the thing. I have been through a couple of them as they crapped out under warranty, but still, it is the best light to run with for the money. This little gadget has allowed me to squeeze out a 10km run before my family is even up, twice a week. 

Sean and I used to run 3 times weekdays, with a long run on Sundays, but the M-W-F wake-ups were getting to be tough as the week wore on. Now it is twice a week, and a long run on Sunday when we can stomach/coordinate it. Do I like running better than cycling? I just plain and simple like to be outdoors in the woods. When I am on my cross bike, I love cross more than anything. When I am on the road bike in the summer on a scorching day, that is my favorite. Running is the best when I am running.   

So the goals for 2012 are being set. The Peninsula Runners Trail Series is now posted on the website, and that is one of the most fun, challenging, and best of the local run series. I am looking to throw down some personal bests for 2012 on some tough trail courses starting on New Year’s Day. 

The First Half Half Marathon is a must do. I have done all but one since 2004, and my half marathon times have been coming down each year that I do it. This run is one of the best organized races around, sort of like the BMO Vancouver Marathon on a much smaller scale. 

After the trail series and First Half, I am attempting my first ultra marathon in the Chuckanut 50. I am looking forward to this being a hard training run for the BMO Vancouver Marathon. At this point, I do not know what I am getting myself into with this one, but I bet it will prove to be a kick in the pants. 

And following the Chuckanut 50, I will try my hand at the Dirty Feet Trail Race half marathon in Bachelor Heights, Kamloops, for the second time. Phil and Grace Hiom put on a great series here after just over a year of organizing some of the best (interior) races around.

All this running sets me up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on Sunday, May 6th. After all the aforementioned races, I will have enough miles under my belt to try for a BQ at the BMO. My 10km PB suggests that I have it in me, but anything can go right or wrong on race day. My CX season has been all over the map with regards to good luck and prep, and bad luck and prep. The experience of the BMO last year will help. On a new course for 2012? That may be a bit tougher to deal with.

So there it is. Some respite from CX racing this weekend. Pumpkin Cross put on by Local Ride is right around the corner on Sunday, and I still have a costume to organize. I am happy that they got rid of the course from 2008 with that massive run-up, and make us go over horse jumps now.

Looking forward for some redemption heading into the last half of the Cyclocross season. 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Escape Velocity Lions Park Cyclocross: Thanksgiving Report

Escape velocity put on yet another edition of the Lions Park Race, last seen in 2009. That year, I raced to a 4th place finish in the now defunct B category, collecting a set of sunglasses and $20 in prize money. This year I wanted to better my previous finish, and thought that I would have a good chance based on my recent results. Having placed well at two of the last 3 races, I  went into this race with no expectations. I did my race day rituals as normal, warmed-up as always, and then thought that I could lay it all down on the course. Since there was only 5 days since the last race at Vanier, not six as usually, attending one Canucks home opener with my good friend Andy (turning that evening into a late night), and having one day less of recovery may have made for a bit of a slower race (Does that really actually make a difference? Possibly). What did make a difference on this race day was the lack of bodies at the Lions Park cyclocross race.

 EV decided to separate the masters 3s and 4s, the 4s starting one minute after the 3s. This made for a small field of 3s. Only 6 of us toed the line today in the Masters 3 category, a far cry from the nearly 60 at the last weeks Vanier race. The Lions park course was much like that of 2009: the same start and finish area was employed, the pea gravel was still there, the south side roots and trees were all there. It was déjà vu of 2009 right down to the weather: overcast and about 14 degrees. The course was not muddy, nor wet, but the many slightly damp 180 degree turns made for many out of the corner accelerations/ sprints. 4 warm-up laps of the course and I was good to go, if not a little underwhelmed by the turnout.

At the gun, Tyler, Tony and I took off to distance ourselves from the other three riders, Jeff being one of them. We managed to hit 40km/h on the grass of the park, but could not smash the group on the first lap. We all stayed together coming through the start finish area when I hit a root and decked it after the first lap. My front tire washed out and I went down on my right side, handlebars all twisted up. Niels Steiner was following and nearly ran right over top of me.

This crash gave both Tony and Tyler some daylight to fly, and sent me back to 5th place. Over the next lap I chased hard and managed to bridge up to the two lead riders, putting in close to 30 seconds on Niels and Jeff, and locking down third. On lap 5 I tried to overtake Tony on the outside going into a right hand 180 after hanging on his wheel for two laps. He managed to shut me down there, and pedal ahead, perhaps feeling the pressure to ramp it up.

By lap 6 of nine, the gap reformed between me and the two leaders. I had trouble maintaining my speed through the pea gravel, and lost a bit of time each lap from going out really hard at the start. This is where my week of training and late nights began to take their toll on me. With just before two to go, I noticed the dreaded “Fwummp!” from my rear wheel. I had blown yet another bead. Luckily I was right at the pits, if not slightly past it, and ran back against the course to change my wheel.

The wheel change was terribly slow. I had some trouble reattaching the brake straddle cable. During my slow change, Niels and Jeff both passed by. I managed to get going again, and had to hammer to try and regain my 3rd place. That did not happen, and I was forced to be happy with 5th or 6th place, 30 or so seconds behind Jeff. Once the flat happened, I lost much of the impetus to exert my maximal effort.  Deflation!

It was a little disappointing to have such a small field on Saturday. It was encouraging to have Niels, Jeff, Tony, and Tyler, some of the diehard CX racers around supporting the race. When they showed up, it did not really matter than there were no other races. Those guys are racers that I love to to toe to toe with and see who comes out on top. The race was still a fun go. Tyler mentioned that after the first two laps, he thought he was done and that he would blow up. The fact that he continued to push on shows that everybody’s elastic could snap at any time, it is just how long is a rider going to push on through the difficult times to make it snap for everyone else. Tyler did that today. He snapped our elastics first. 

When my elastic snapped, I kinda threw in the towel. Collecting two or more points from this race would have bumped me up to the Masters 1-2 category. In the back of my mind, I believe that I did not want to collect them at this race, and was content to stay in the Master 3-4 for another race. Tyler may not be so lucky because of his two second place finishes, and now a first, he may be upgraded. Maybe I am making excuses for myself and my inability to keep up today. As Ryan Trebon said in a recent interview with Colt on Cyclingdirt, "You are only as good as your last race". I made a few mistakes during this race and had a hard time settling in.

After the first race, I believed that I could win more than 3 races this year. This is proving to be hard, as each race day plays out differently, with different circumstances. I have been blessed with two high finished, and doomed with two flat tires taking me all out of contention. Perhaps I need tubulars? My bike prep has been better since New Brighton, my fitness is really good having raced 3 weekends in a row. No amount of training can really simulate a race situation and the stress you put on your body and bike. I will use the last three weeks to be super for Pumkin Cross.

A new Maxxis Mud Wrestler adorns my rear wheel right now. I will take next weekend off of racing, put in 13 days of hard training, and show up at Pumpkin Cross on the 23rd. I love that race, and my race prep for that one is to find a costume that will let me ride fast.

To add insult to injury, I did not start my watch, so I have no data to share from this race. What a day. 

Results and Pics to follow. In the meantime, check out these totally unrelated videos. Thank you for reading!

And, although it is old by now, check out Joey.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Reflections on Vanier

Now that the full race results are up, it is interesting to see just whom attended last Sunday. New Brighton's winner, Tony Bachler, pulled in for 7th place. Alex Cojacaru, whom I race with at the front of Aldor Acres, was 11th. These results are indicative of the fact 1: They had poor start positions at Vanier, and 2: that the Masters 3/4 catagory is very deep and competitve. After the first race, I thought to myself that I could win at least 2 more races this year. That will be a difficult task given just how many solid riders there showing up to these things.

John Irvine and I started front row, and finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Three races in, and this catagory is the biggest with 59 riders at Vanier. The citizen class was a huge field as well, with just over 40 or so. It is so good to see so many riders taking up CX. My brother in Kamloops and a crew of his friends have picked it up there, with weekly training sessions. Kamloops is the perfect place for CX--miles of terrain to ride forever, and great parks to hold the races in.

Perhaps what has kept CX turnouts low in previous years towards the end of the season (like November as the season is over here by early December) are the poor-weather race mornings, and the fact that buying a CX bike is adding another bike to the stable, on top of a road bike and mountain bike, two tools that most riders have to enjoy biking. This mutant-hybrid-Cyclocross-bike-thing is something that might be seen as extravagant by most. However, it doubles as a great commuter bike, fun winter bike, and great bike for riding the trails of the Watershed any time of year. Plus, the season starts in August (for some), and runs through to February.Or it doesn't have to stop. So, really it is not a short season. Unless you live in Kamloops, and have snow to contend with.

One hour on the bike on the gravel paths, park trails, or road is something to combat the seasonal affective disorder bringing us down during the dreary months of the sun setting before 5 pm. It is time that we flip the bird to our warm beds on a dark Novembruary morning, get our bootie covers on and ride. Make our way out of the heart of Vancouver to attend races in Bellingham, Vancouver Island, and other far away places like Maple Ridge, Vernon, and Kamloops. Attend clinics like the School of Cross put on by Aaron Schooler in September, or Kevin Noiles Bicicletta Clinic. Or attend Gentleman's Race.

Cyclocross is the most fun and friendly style of bike racing. For spectators is it one of the best types of racing to watch. One thing is for sure: cyclocross is growing in BC. Get on the CX train!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Vanier Cyclocross 2011: The strongest/ smoothest man wins.

Me ascending the steps in third place, chasing. Graeme Joseph Photo Credit.

The 2011 Vanier CX race presented by Trek Red Truck/Steed Cycles/ West Coast Racing was held under sunny turning to overcast skies in the shadow of the Burrard Bridge. I attended the gala event for the Langley Lodge Saturday night with my brother in law, Sean, and thus thwarted my own plans for a lovely, restful, non-alcoholic beverage consuming evening. I still woke Sunday feeling pretty good after 8 hrs of sleep. Pre-race meal included 3 glasses of water and a cup of oatmeal, some energy candy, and a bottle of gatorade. Standard fare as per usual.

Each year the course at Vanier evolves. The year's start was consistent with previous years, but many of the 180 degree turns have changed slightly each year. Much of the race (perhaps 90%) is on grass, allowing for it to suit a rider who can generate a tonne of power. It undulates with little kickers and knolls here and there. New this year was the addition of 4 small railway ties placed about fifty feet before the stairs. This proved to slow me down, though I never needed to dismount to cross the ties. The last couple of days have been dry in the lower mainland, so it proved to be very, very fast. 

It was great to be called up first, not on points, but for being pro-active and registering before everyone else. The commisaire said that she did not have the list of upgade points, so those who had high placings in the previous two races were shut out for a prime start. I wanted to improve on my 24th place-flat tire finish from last week, and my 6th place finish at Vanier from 2009 when Brian Postlewaithe pipped me with 100m to go.

The field was HUGE, lined up 8 across and nearly 7 rows deep. This was something to behold. The Masters 3-4 catagory is a healthy catagory. Perhaps the weather and location had something to do with that today. Absent was Tyler Dumont, who finished 2nd in both Aldor Acres and New Brighton. With so many racers it meant that there was going to be traffic and congestion as it bottlenecked going into the stairs 200m in. 
With my front row call up, and the Cycling BC commisairre starting the race without a countdown, just simply a "GO!", I got caught with a poor clip in pulled in for sixth position on lap one. Tobin Copley, John Irvine, and a few other riders got in front of me as I pushed as hard as I could to get to the stairs with the front group. John was the quickest to the stairs, putting the beat down on everyone and riding solo off of the front from the gun. He was always within about 100 feet or so of me for the whole race, but tracking him down proved to be difficult.
It seemed like I was closing the gap on him, riding in second with a few riders in tow, until Simon Pulfrey from Steed Cycles caught up to me on perhaps Lap 4. I don't know where he started, but we all know who he is. He is the rider rocking the Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er Full Susser. And he can ride! I think today his ability to rail the corners with so much traction made a huge difference on that bike. Riding with him, I kept thinking probably what everyone was thinking--"don't let this guy get away--don't let him beat you," but he is just sooo strong. 

Simon Pulfrey (Steed Cycles) just over my left shoulder. I did not see him coming. Man, my arms are long!
The race for me came down to the last 2 laps. With  2 to go, I was with Simon when he made a move by the start finish. I rode with him for a short while until he gapped me. I saw him make the catch of John on the second to last lap. At this point, my goal was simply to go as hard as I could to make myself puke, drip snot rockets out of my nose, and foam at the mouth. I figured that this was the only way I was going to make up any ground on those two. Alas, I never did puke, nor did I catch Simon or John. 
This is where cyclocross became fear inducing. I did not want to lose the race, I wanted to win, naturally. I tried my damnedest to catch them. But when that seemed to be out of reach on the last lap, I began looking over my shoulder to see a hard charging Ryan Newsome of Local Ride Racing. Fear became the motivator to win 3rd place today. I could not catch the other two, and that getting caught by Ryan was going to be my reality if I didn't stomp the pedals. Ryan did not catch me, I would not let that happen. I managed to roll across the line for a 3rd place finish today. A tough course on a fast day with the largest field yet. 

Move data from Movescount. This is why I love CX. And Suunto.
Some raceday blunders: today I got wrapped up in the course tape on the top side by the museum parking lot on two different laps. I managed to get it under my bars and decided to show it who was boss, tearing that stuff right off of the stakes they were attached to. Also, I was not in the easier gears crossing the barriers on probably 4 laps, so remounting became a slow process to get myself back up to speed. Something that Schooler taught me, something that I should know/ remember, but pooched it numerous (perhaps 4 or 5) times today on the 180 hills and barriers.  It took me at least an extra 5 seconds to get back to top speed. Losing 20 seconds like that, and some of the course tape took their toll on my ability to catch John and Simon.
Just an average workout for me, really. I had extra mayo on my fries. That explains the high HR. 
Perhaps we should all be embarrassed to be beat by a dude rocking a 29'er. I suppose that the strongest rider won. Correction: the strongest rider did win. He was the fastest and smoothest, end of story. I doubt that I could ride that quickly on my hardtail. Simon seems like a really great guy after talking to him post race. If I were him, I would feel a sweet, smug satisfaction tonight. This win would be very gratifying. He rode like a star out there today. However, he is now officially marked for the upcoming races. I bet that many of the racers will not be letting him out of their sight.

I think I have to push a little harder in the heart rate department to get something more out of my blood pumping organ. Can I spell 194 bpm? I wonder if it is possible. Is that the key to winning? Nope. Is being smoother? Yep. Talking to Paul Berry of Spoke in Motion (Kamloops), he observed that very fact, just as I have stated in previous posts. Cross is about efficiency. I was not the smoothest today. Next week is another race, at Lions Park in Coquitlam. I placed 5th at that race in 09. Perhaps like today, I can move up 3 spots? 2nd sounds good, but it will be another hard battle. Glen Reitsma told me that I looked calm, composed, and smooth--totally contrary to to what I was feeling. It is funny how one can look like they got it all together on the outside, but on the inside they are losing their s**t. That is what cross was today.

3 races in, it is really cool to see the community that we are developing with CX that is unlike any other type of bike racing. Talking to Simon, John, Mike Berkenpas, Scott Sportsman, Tobin Copley, Niels Steiner, and many others riders from different teams is making this to be a super fun season. Knowing other racers and having a blast is one of the best things about cross. It is a hard go, but in order to grow it, we need to be as welcoming to each person we meet at these races. These are extreme-stress inducing races, but when all is said and done, it is great to hang out with so many people who love it.

Thanks to Sven Sturm, Mike Tunnah, Matt Klymson, Cycling BC, the City of Vancouver, and all the volunteers who executed a great race today. Very well done. CX is growing, and the hard work we all put in to supporting the local scene only helps.

Vanier: 3rd
New Brighton: 24th
Aldor Acres: 1st

Full Race Results
Find a picture of yourself at Daryl Evans Racing flickr site.
More pics by Graemej here.
ssportsman's race report and pics.