Saturday, 15 December 2012

Closing out the year in hot water--Shoes and the Dirty Feet Challenge

I have an admission to make, publicly.

I have a problem.

I am addicted......

2013: Looking ahead, and the plan to get faster.

After this year's CX wake up call, it seems appropriate to look back on what whent wrong, make some changes and then get ready to hammer out a new year of goals and a plan to go with them in order to achieve my expectations.

Looking back, the successes this year happen to be all running related.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

2012 BC CUP Cyclocross Finals Report: The last race of the year I did not do....again.

AW hitting the run-ups. Photo: Matt Law

The last race of the season was a race that did not include me going elbow to elbow with my fellow mud wrestlers. I opted to announce the race, as I have for the last three years. Ever since I was unable to ride in the 2010 cyclocross season due to my fractured shoulder and broken body, I have continued to call the Daryl Evans BC CUP Finals. This year I was torn: should I try to salvage my season, do double duty trying to do both, or just call the race. My choice was more or less made for me.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Remembrance Day: Hershey Harriers 8km Cross Country in Stanley Park

I spent this Remembrance Day not in Victory Square, but just across Coal Harbour at the Brockton Oval. This year I threw my hat in the ring for my 3rd 8k race of the season: The Hershey Harriers Remembrance Day run.

Having never ran in the trails of Stanley Park, I was quite looking forward to what this run had to offer: 32 minutes of heart and mind blowing effort, some steady climbs, fast descents, and a well organized race in the crown jewel of Vancouver.

I showed up just after 10 am and made my way to the Brockton Rugby Club for registration. After picking up my race bib, I took a steady warmup on course where I ran with Drew Nicholson, winner of the Bear Creek Cross Country, Surrey Marathon, and Turkey Trot to make it a three win streak for him. It was good talking with him and seeing that as far as warmups go, we were running the same tempo in order to get ready for the race. He was in the open catagory, I was challenging the masters. Both race starts were separated by 10 minutes.

At 11:01, we had a moment of silence on start line as the cannons rang throughout the city. With the Last Post played, we were off. I settled into a group in the top 5 or so, but immediately backed off as per Mike Murphy's instructions from the Provincial Championships. Rachel Ruus, her coach/husband type guy, and Catherine Watkins. We held together until the second uphill, when Catherine put the gas on and dusted the three of us, which would prove to be the winning move for the women's overall. I was steady with the other two, making up some good speed on the downhill, and managing to hold on to them on the flats. With 2.5kms to go, a gap formed, and I fell off the Ruus train. I knew that Darbara Ghuman was hot on my heels, and I would have to work hard to push for the run into the finish. Still, I stayed steady and came in at 31:39. Not my fastest time, but it would prove to earn me 2nd place in the 35-39 catagory, and I went home with a medal. I came in front of Tom Craik, a guy that I admire and respect very much. He likes to Run Now....
One of the best parts of the day was cooling down with Mike Murphy, Will, and Winner Catherine. A good end to the race.

Awards were a bit of a mess as the computer did not separate athletes into age cats, so it had to be done manually. This was okay for the food that the HH club provided. And I got to speak with Mike and his buddy Will. All told, this was a solid race day. A good run put together on that day!

Post Canadian CX Champs: the aftermath.

The last few days have been all about recovery. My choking performances at the CX champs can be boiled down to a couple of things: not enough CX specific training, too much running, and not enough rest. I like my 11 pm bedtimes, but man does it make waking up in the morning for the 5 am runs hard.

I think that compiling a place where photos can be found for the event are important. So here goes:

Daryl Evans Flickr
Doug Brons
John Denniston
Formula Photo

Human Suitcase. Photo Credit: Stefon.

Steve Pukesh
Jamie Cameron
Dave Harvey
Pedalmags RR

Some other shots from the day....

Tyler and me punching at each other.

Still punching at the BC GP of CX.

Jeff and me at Nats.

Owner and HUGE supporter of Team Daryl Evans,  the man himself! Thanks for everything, Daryl!

Aaron, me, Jeff Hanninen, and Matt Drown. Happy but spent.

Finding my pedal.
Bounding the barriers.

Monday, 19 November 2012

2012 Canadian National Cyclocross Championships Weekend.

Me and the mud. Photo: The incomparable Doug Brons.

What a crazy, tiring, emotional, exhausting couple of days.

This past weekend my cycling team, Daryl Evans Racing, was the title sponsor of the 2012 Canadian Cyclocross Championships. So naturally, myself and other team members were tasked with making sure that many aspects of the course were in shape for the weekend of racing mayhem. One might call it volunteering. I consider it an obligation, and a good one at that. For our small team, lead by Jeff Hanninen, I consider this obligation one of the best CX experiences that we have had the privilege to be a part of. Jeff was (as he has been since our first CX race here in 2007), designated as course designer and venue expert by Cycling BC. Since many Daryl Evans team members know this venue and the course so well, setup and teardown is becoming a snap--with much less direction from Jeff than in those first few years. It is a familiar racetrack, which has had few changes over its six iterations. Those changes have been made only to run a better course.

As an athlete/volunteer, trying to host an event and race a double weekend is taxing. Probably double taxing considering the weight and scope of this event. Fatigue sets in early even before the first race, and it is a matter of survival. At least, that is what it felt like for me trying to race the two days, stay late after the first race, show up early for the second, and stay late for cleanup on Sunday. All told, that left me with little in the tank.

Some positives and negatives for me came out of this racing weekend, day one, and some from day two.

Positive: Jeff Hanninen, Frank Ammirati, and Daryl Evans.

Jeff was our fearless leader. Frank was the backbone, and unsung hero of this weekend. And Daryl has been an amazing supporter of our team for the past 4 or 5 years now. It was really great to see him out there on both days.

I can't say how happy I am to be part of this cycling team, and how proud I am of our guys who race, push each other on training rides, and give up their time to make these events as great as they are. We are fast becoming known as a team that puts on a great race, which in turn, forces every other cycling club to up their game. And that is evident in many of the CX races that I have been to this year in the lower mainland. Just the amount work, time, heart, money, blood, sweat, and pending divorce papers go into making these races as special as they are is amazing. Hopefully our team showed that we can make a truly great event happen, even in late November when the weather is poor. 

As for Cycling BC, I have been critical of them in the past based on the Abbotsford Cyclocross race back in September. They were a good group to deal with and very friendly. For an event of this magnitude, it would have been great to have some media coverage and more volunteers to set up and take down the course. We  were really short on hands for the venue. Organizing these two things a long way out will make the event that much smoother, and make it feel like a real deal.  Results were posted in a very timely fashion--way faster than any other team has posted this year post-race. It helps that they all had timing chips. Without dealing with them directly, it is hard to be too critical. However, I did receive Bob Welbourn's number instead of my own for the BCGP of CX on Sunday.  As of Wednesday, that had not been corrected on the official results.  So it appears that I had a DNS, and that Bob finished third to last. I have contacted them about it, and CBC has told me that they are looking into it.  

Positive: The Start.

I was called to the front row for the Canadian Championship Race, Masters 30-39. Very cool. My early registration helped that effort, and I felt the pressure from being up there wearing the number 305. That is about the only positive from the race for myself.

Negative: Crashing. 

I crashed on lap two twice. First one saw me go down hard into the barriers Joey style, and land on my right shoulder. I checked out just fine, and got back on my bike to heckles. Coming out of a 90 degree turn at the south side of the park I went down in a washout. Both times I bent my shifter inward, the shifter stuffed full of mud and grass. To add insult to crashes, my chain broke on the last lap. I pulled the plug on the race rather than run the rest of the course, as I should have after watching Aaron Schooler do it on Sunday. I think that was the bullet in my cyclocross race season. It has been a slow, painful ordeal as I have tried to find form and fitness, but nothing has come for me. The running has never been better. But cycling?.....yeeeshhhh.

This season has been a hard one to deal with. High expectations, but no finish. I remember playing high school basketball and going into grade twelve feeling entitled to more playing time. My coach thought otherwise, and I sat for many of the first games that season until something clicked in my head and heart, and I started to play with fire and passion in my game. I played like it meant something. After that, things started to fall into place. The trust of my coach, team mates, and my confidence went up.

Last year the CX season meant something. This one, I think I felt like I could just do the same and the competition would be the same. I was so wrong. Learning experience. Dig deeper, train harder. Push further. Ride faster. Probably the most important thing is to be ultra competitve. Martin Bojenson and I have talked about what it means to lead a race, the effort needed, and how to put a strong CX race together. Simple, but at this point, I do not want to think about racing bikes for a while.

Positive: 6 racers that are top drawer, in my mind. All inspiring performances.

Bob Welbourn for the win!! Photo: John Denniston,
Bob Welbourn winning an emotional Master's 40-49 catagory to become National Champion. To quote my team mate Mike Dolling:

Bob started from the third row, rode up to the lead group, got a flat with three laps to go and dropped to tenth, managed to change a wheel and fight his way back to first place right at the end of the final lap.  That is an incredible performance in such a tough field.

Wow!! I could not be happier for a man most deserving. He is a true champion!! Much admiration and respect for one of the best guys around. I bought him a beer, and will do it again.

Chris McNeil and Martin Bojesen coming 2nd and 3rd, respectively in the M30-39 race. These two guys are rocketships and both know they are fast. They work and train hard for it in Kamloops, they push each other to the limit. On the flipside, they are humble, cool under pressure, and gentlemen to boot. The top step is right there for them, and next year it is even more of a possibility with Nats being back here in BC again. Well done boys! Martin--let your kids wear that medal. Kamloops represent!

Trevor Pearson. So close to having a junior national champ in our back yard, but a bit of a crash prevented him from taking the win. Coming off of a broken wrist, he had to miss provincials but was on fire during the championship race. 400m to go, and it slipped through his hands. Heartbreaking, but again, another fine BC performance for a young guy who handled his winning second place with grace. Well done Trevor!! He will be a force in the coming years if he keeps up with cycling. Coached by Andrew Pinfold, the kid is learning and racing very well.

Emily Sportsman. She picked up 3rd in the Female 30-39 Catagory. With a better start, and some more training (C'mon Em! Get on your bike some more!), she may well have won the whole thing. Awesome to see the athletes with kids killing it out there. Emily, Bob, and Martin.

Aaron Schooler. The guy is racing in 3rd, has a mech when his disc brake pads fall out, drops back beyond 8th, chases hard and earns fifth and a spot at worlds. Wow. Gutsy performance. He wanted it so badly. I should take note about his heart and his perseverance. Great job Aaron!!

Frank the Tank/the Streaker AKA Geoff Kabush. Superstar. He rode away from everyone. He showed everyone why he is 2011 2nd overall USGP, and one of the best rider all around. His performance was epic as he shattered the field.

Positive: Beer at a Cyclocross Race. And neutral support.

Dale Thiessen and me with the Red Racer girl.
I am officially a fan of Red Racer Brewing. This stuff was sooo good on a chilly day. Flavorful, cold--A great drinking beer. Super great of them to sponsor this race. Thanks so much again! Next purchase at the CBWS will be for some Red Racer. It is important to have local sponsors like you (and the Bike Gallery providing the wrenching) to help make this a budding pro event. If we could only get some media exposure, things would be even better.

Positive: The prize money for women.

Thanks to a last minute change, CBC wised up and became a progressive cycling body--one of the cycling worlds first--something that all others should take note of. Elite Females were paid out prize money on par with Elite Males. Well done! Thanks to Daryl Evans Mechanical Ltd. for kicking in the money for the purse prizes as well.

Negative: Crashing out my arch rival and all around good guy, Tyler Dumont, in the mud.

Tyler. Oh Tyler. I was tired. I was spent. I would never do anything to crash you out. Too much respect for you. We have had some good battles, but I was worried about your well being. I am glad to have had a bit of a sprint with you for the finish, but truth be told, my heart was not in the BC GP of CX race. The weekend took it's toll on me. We have next year to punch each other in the face with our bike rides. And all winter. I'm sorry for the mishap. Perhaps I may avoid your physiotherapy for the near future, so you don't sabotage my legs or something.....You are the best.

Negative: Racing with the dude who was wayyyy to uptight in the battle for 20th or something. 

He got all cuss mouth all the time on everyone he attempted to pass. This guy must be a wannabe pro roadie, wearing the green kit and 1999 Jan Ulrich Rudy's from Calgary, or someplace not in BC. I had never seen the guy, and don't care to. A simple internet search solves the problem of who his is, and he probably kisses his mom with that mouth. I got tired of his tongue lashing and rode away from him. Until my chain broke.....So much for former Provincial Road champions from Alberta.

Listen man when racing remember: in the Masters Category, we are not getting paid to do this, and 22nd place doesn't look that good at all in the grand scheme of things. Save your F-Bombs for work, for when the Flames lose to the Canucks (I totally can't use the Stamps losing to the Lions, not after yesterday) and your own family. Don't curse out on course, especially around kids and family. Especially when I pass way wide left and cut back to the yellow line, giving you tonnes of room to NOT DRAFT. Grow up, grow some, have fun, and learn how to race with class. The world has enough Mike Sayers. You have been racing long enough. Perhaps it brings out the worst in you. Take a page out of the aforementioned athletes. You make your Synergy Racing club look bad, and it makes for poor sportsmanship, JJ.

I will buy you a beer if we can talk about staying positive. And anger management.

It is, after all, just a bike race.

Results: Cycling BC

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The 2012 BC Cross Country Championships Race Report

Saturday October 24th was the BC Cross Country Championships at Clearbrook park, Abbotsford. Being a Master catagory racer in XC running meant that our championship was the first one of the day, before the course was all chewed up and before the rains had a chance to unleash hell, as they did later in the morning.

Since I last checked in, I have done zero workouts on the bike or in my running shoes. That is a first for me, as this week showed a goose egg for any physical activity, and much sleeping and as my kids at school say, "chilling". I think that "chilling" actually translates to being lazy, drinking beer, and losing fitness. At least that is what it is from my experience. I really don't like chilling. I would rather have been "killing" it out there, but life took prescedence this week, and the weather and lack of sunlight has kept me indoors.

Racing back to back Championship weekends, this time fully rested, was something I committed to a few weeks back as part of a grand plan to sadly, not do Pumpkin Cross due to the fact that I will be away from my family for three days this November as Daryl Evans Racing helps organize the National CX Championships. I have to get some credit somewhere, and these autumn days I could do an event on both the Saturday and Sunday. If not in the Canada, then in the States. I wonder what the hell I did when I did not have children, and how come I was not doing races like this when I had all the time in the world.

Clearbrook Park hosted our course today, and Valley Royals Track and Field club, along with BC Athletics hosted the race. The course was a relatively flat 2.08 km loop, with a few key features: The long opening straight into a paved-cracked path slope that was composed of many foot soaking puddles. That lead us along the powerline cut east over the first cut-grass knoll, around a 180 to head west, back to a 15m hill under the poweline stands, into a quick downhill, right turn. The last third of the course was a false flat grass downhill loop that lead us back to the start finish area. Fast, save for the climbs, but also a somewhat tough course to maintain such high pace.

I met up with Dharbara Ghuman and Mike Murphy at the start. Mike informed me that he had been sick all week with a stomach flu, and he was coming off a number of days that he could not eat nor hold down food. He said he was working at an 8th of a tank, and I told him his 8th is me at full gas. I was absolutely correct with that comparison.

Picking up my race bib late, and taking a short 15 minute warmup in my jogging pants and jacket, I returned to my car to drop off my clothes and run back to toe the line. The gun went off, I went off. Right into running in second position, then first in the first 200meters. Waayyy too fast for this race. I decided to back off to mortal/Josh speed, and calm things down. In doing so, the front of the race went by me, 5 people, then 6, then a group of 4. I ran the first two laps at a quick pace then backed off on the third.

I was around 10th place by lap three, trying to catch the group of four which contained the first female, who I assume was the very quick Rachel Ruus. On the back side of the course after the hill climb, I managed to take advantage of the quick grass and increase my speed after a short recovery from the climb each lap. At one point I looked at my HRM and it read 186 bpm. That was a good thing, as it has been tough for me to get the heart rate up really high as of late. The two weeks of rest have helped.

Getting back to normal. I have not hit 195 bpm since 2009. 

My race came down to a late sprint to the line against Gary Duncan, a man in hte 55-59 age cat. whom I only knew from the sound of his feet. In the finishing stretch, I could hear him charging behind me, so I kicked. I thought that was good enough, but no. He kicked again. Then again. This was one long 100m finishing stretch, so it seemed. Crossing the finish line, we were tied, passing over it at exactly the same time as far as I could tell. He is a very, very quick older gentleman.

We could not talk except to shake hands due to the effort, both of us spent from our surge to the line. I told him good job and he did the same. To see the results after I had changed, it turns out I had a finish time of 32:11.39. Not bad for taking two weeks off and running as hard as I can go. My sprint competitor's time was 32:11.40. I pipped him by 1/10th of a second. As far as I was concerned, he got me. The scoring and timing of BC Athletics knows best, I guess....Former Olympian Arthur Boileau took the 55-59 age cat. with a time of 31:32.

Reviewing my move, that finishing sprint had me running at 25 kph, and it jacked my heart rate up to 197 bpm! I have not seen a number that high since 2008, when I first started cyclocross racing. Things are returning to normal with my body, but I am still dealing with the ankle/achilles pains.

2nd in my age cat... only four of us running.

I think my official finish in the race was 14th place. I managed to fend off Darbara, who beat me at Bear Creek by 4 seconds. He was very fast a month ago, but perhaps my rest along with his racing the Whistler Relay last week combines for a bit of fatigue. We chatted and I found out he is going to Boston this coming year, again, as he has done it in the past. He qualified this year with a time just a shade under 3 hours. That is very cool! I want to be in his shoes! That is the goal for the BMO Vancouver. It was great meeting him, as we are evenly matched competitors. I still have more to give, and the two weeks off may not have helped in having the fastest race I could have.

One of the best parts of the race is that the results were ready within a half hour of the finish, something that Cycling BC needs to take a look at. CBC needs to follow the lead of the athletics governing body in BC and computerize everything, and bring timing equipment, software, and cameras to CX events, and have the results posted with a half hour of the race, and posted to the web within a few hours. This would make racers very, very happy.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

BC Cyclocross Championships 2012: CX at it's finest!

Doug captures me looking like a giant on a children's bike.
2012 BC CX Champs, Mahon Park. Photo: Doug Brons

Yesterday was the 2012 BC Cyclocross Championships presented by Atomic Racing at Mahon Park in North Vancouver. Much like last year, the course was nearly the same, save for some minor changes. Key features remained: the infamous mud pit, the three sets of stairs, the gravel soccer infield. Jeff Van Mulligan and Atomic racing put on a fabulous race, again, one that lives up to being a true cyclocross event, and not the smokin' fast dirt crits that we have seen at all the races to this point in the lower mainland.

The Flanders CX gods have not been particularly warm to me this cyclocross race season. A sub par dismal showing yesterday has me re-assessing my situation to this point, halfway into the race calendar. Perhaps I am tempting them with my adulterous ways, always flirting with distance running and neglecting to get on my bike. Perhaps they are trying to teach me a lesson about my late night ways, and lack of early weeknight bedtimes and before the crack of dawn trail runs. Or maybe I am being punished for buying a second bike, and not keeping my bikefit an exact replica of my old steed from last season. Whatever the case, this season is going down as a forgettable racing year, and I am only 4 races into it, and have another 4 to go. Maybe I am being to hard on myself. Things can turn around, right? I suppose I can fool myself into believing that, but at this point, it is all I have to hold on to.

Those same cyclocross gods whom have bestowed the bad karma on my race season gifted us a very cold wet raceday to behold. One where the winner would more than earning their victory and be crowned with the title of provincial champion after coming out on top of the field in sloppy, mucky conditions.

Somehow, I managed to earn myself a front row call up based on my early registration--I think I was one of the first people on the confirmation list. I looked around for Matt Drown who has had a much better season than me to see where he was, and I thought why wasn't he in front of me? This call up was a blessing and a curse--happy to line up with Jason Fluckiger, my brother Aaron, team manager Jeff Hanninen, Martin Bojesen* (--MB started third row), Mike McArthur, and Jamie Cameron, yet nervous to keep things together in the opening laps of the race. This race would also prove to be the first time that Aaron and I would go head to head in years. This race was a proving ground to show which brother would be the finer CX racer of the both of us.

Called up for the start, but it would not matter....
At the gun, again, like the last 3 races, my legs had no jam in them. My 6th place going into the first corner transformed into 10th, 14th, and 16th in the opening 18 minutes of the race. The huge mud puddles, slippery off camber grass turns and climbs, the sloppy mud hole on the backside of the course, along with the small amount of climbing that this course offered was enough to make me suck. I was ahead of Aaron for the first two laps, when he caught me and we stuck together for a while, until I had a slight mechanical coming out to the mud pit. My shoe ratchet came loose, forcing me to stop in the mud, tighten it a bit too much, then I had to loosen it off after a few pedal strokes. At this time, Aaron took off from me, calling for me to stay on his wheel. I dropped all the way back to 23nd place, into a battle with all around good guy and my former UBC team member from 1999, Niels Steiner. We traded punches in our own little provincial championship's race-within-a-race. Somewhere during my chase of Niels I took a bacon handup. WOW!! Highlight of the race. That was amazing. The taste of breakfast during a CX race lingered in my mouth for a few laps. It wasn't my own breakfast coming back up on me. Magical.

Aaron and Niels battling just in front of me.

Aaron making the catch, then subsequently passing me. 
Niels and I hung out together for the last 3 laps of 6. By lap 5, after the bacon, I ran out of brakes and had a tough time on any of the downhill sections of the course. With Salomon Flight Crew member Tom Craik quid pro quo-íng the heckling I dished out to him earlier in the day, and in front of other mud pit spectators, I careened into the left side fence post while letting out an "Oh S#it" howl, narrowly avoiding ending my day by slamming into it with my bike and body. I opted the next two laps to run it. It really came down to the last straight onto the finishing track stretch to the finish line. I managed to swing around him before the track, and sprint up to claim 22nd. A disappointing 22nd, after last years 12th place. Niels had a considerably higher placing last year, 10th place in 2011.

Martin, Chris, and Jason after the finish. Chris 1st, Martin 2nd, Jason 4th.
At the front of the race, 2011 Provincial CX Masters Champ Jamie Cameron had to settle for 3rd, behind the Kamloops crew, with Chris McNeil taking a sprint finish over Martin Bojesen. Again, that was a battle of shots with Chris hiding in wait while Martin and Jamie traded blows. Chris capitalized on a couple of timely mistakes, and rode a clean  (although this was a mudbath/mudwrestling) race to the win. My teammate Jason Fluckiger came 4th for the second year in a row. Great ride Jason!!

My number was not visible due to a crash and a the pins coming off of my jersey and my number flapping in the wind, so no lap times for me.

Post race, I met up with Dale Ewenchook and Rick Rodland, both very nice guys. Dale mentioned to me about his ride on Lummi island with one of my solid Saturday morning riding partners, Marko Diotte. Both Dale and Rick ride for Alliance, and bringing up Tyler Dumont was my way of meeting some more powerhouse riders. Dale managed to take the 50+ Championship race, gracefully, I might add. Thanks to Jeff Hanninen and the support of Daryl Evans Mechanical for making things go, huge ups to Jeff Van Mulligan and Atomic Racing for putting on a helluva race--hot showers and food = Respect! You guys did an awesome job, and thanks to the District of North Vancouver for letting us make some fun in your park--This is the best sport around, and without support from the municipalities, we do not have venues to race in like this.

What was left after the race. A thing of beauty. Photo: Jamie Cameron
So goes the CX season....

Some data from the race:

Things still are not where they should be. I can push my average higher....or I used to be able to.

So, after a bike wash, warm shower, and sandwich at Mahon Park, I came home to disassemble my crankset and BB to check out how much water had gotten into my frame. Pulling the cups out of the shell, a stream of chocolate-milk colored water poured out. I am pretty happy to have done that little bit of maintenance, and not at the end of the season, after riding in all the cold, wet weather we can expect to come. It would be a bit of a shock to have 400ml of dirtwater come out of the BB shell in a months time. I suppose that is what the drain holes are for, but they don't drain out everything.

Trying to find some mojo for me legs at the next race, I have already devised the perfect plan:

I have pushed my saddle forward 1cm.

Brilliant, eh?

I think that perhaps coming back to a more traditional fit that I had last year will help me feel more comfortable over the top tube, make me more efficient with my pedal stroke, bring me closer to the bars so that I am not hanging out so much over my rear wheel, and improve bike handling.

Balance over the bike. Time, and rides, will tell.

For now I have to ride.

Congrats to all the champions! Much deserved on this day. For the record:

Dale Ewenchook                50-59 Champion
Bob Welbourn                    40-49 Champion
Tyler Trace                         Elite Men's Champion
Sandra Walter                     Elite Women's Champion

Check out these beauty pics: Doug, Amir,

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Monday, 1 October 2012

Day 2: 2012 Vanier Cyclcross Race Report

Day 2: Vanier CX presented by Trek Red Truck and West Coast Racing

Day 2 of the double header was another dry sufferfest. Another grass crit course in Vancouver, Vanier was much like in years previous: a beautiful setting that hosts a fast, bumpy, start into the stairs, past the neutral support, up the false flat climb, through the trees, descend to the infield, maze through the 180s, climb back up to the museum, descent into the barriers, past the Bard on the Beach tent teardown, then loop back to the start/ finish. Both M1/2 and M3/4 had to go through 7 laps. Aaron had a strong start in M3/4, eventually settling into second wheel, but Vincent Marcotte was too smooth and too strong, making his ridelook effortless, and he rode away from the entire field to claim his first CX win.

AW Trying to nail down a win, only to come up a bit short to Vincent Marcotte.
One year ago in M3/4, I was third to Simon Pulfrey (1st on a full suspension Specialized, no less--still in awe of that ride) and John Irvine, two fast moving powerful racer. This year, Aaron came in third, continuing to add to his great season of a 2nd in Abby and a win at New Brighton. He is learning that CX is a different beast on a different day, and that if you win one day, things can change overnight. Unless you are Bob Welbourn. 

Bob is another clean, smooth CX racer, and all he does is win. That is just like Bob: dressed in the brand new all black (Sunday's Best Racing kit) like the guys in the video, except Bob actually wins. I don't really know if Ludacris or DJ Khaled enter bike races. I bet not. Bob would school them both.

And speaking of the lovely Bob Welbourn, I must say that up close, he is not as sexy as I originally thought back at Abby CX. Up close, the guy is a quite slender, fair haired handsome fella, and all around great guy. I had to get a pic with him, as he was the winner of my M1/2 race beating superhorses Chris McNeil and Martin Bojeson after spending the day before racing the big guns of Elite 1/2 at New Brighton. Those three are pretty amazing CX'ers. I say they should hold a CX clinic, or coach, or something. Think about it boys.  

With Bob after his win. Congratulations, sexy beast!

I tried to start front row, but racers settled in front of Ryan Newsome, Matt Drown, Mike Murphy and myself. Next thing I know I am third row. The start was fast, congested, bottlenecked, and redlined. I managed to get on the Drown, Murphy, Irvine train for the first 3 or 4 laps. Niels Steiner and myself battled hard, but then I came to my senses and tried to drop him realizing, for the second day in a row, that he was on his single speed, and that be damned if I was not going to use my gears to pull away from him. Then, the race broke apart, and went away from me, as my teammate Jon Taylor kindly noted to me from the sidelines. Tyler Dumont was nipping at my wheel all race, one corner separated, as things managed to stretch then slightly come back together. At this time, I do not know the results, but I am hopeful that I was top 12 or 14 not last place, an improvement over the first race of the season. One thing I would have utilized more during this race was my big ring. I seemed to forget that I had one, and used it maybe once on the course. Perhaps that is where a bit more torque and speed might come from.

**Update: The results. They are grim. See 21st place. It is like my first year of CX all over again....

21st place. Uggghh.  I think I will retire from running effective, immediately.
Like at New Brighton the day before, I just could not get my HR up close enough to 180bpm, something that I need to do to get the extra horse-power back in my legs. I was doing every friggin' thing to go faster and faster today, totally at the limit, but not where I was last year. In fact, I was only 20 seconds slower than my brother's 3rd place time in M3/4. That is still a bit of time, but not nearly enough to make much of a difference in the M1/2 cat. Check the body results. I need to get those extra 10 bpm going for the next few races, and perhaps a set of tubulars. And a carbon frame. And a power tap. All three will make me faster. Maybe. I will just keep telling myself that, and shelling out more money for masters bike races, and bike parts. The details:

I managed to catch up with some good friends, and like Bob, got to snap some pics with my longtime friend and ex-basketball team-mate/ex-Kamloops neighbor/ fellow father of twins, Ryan Kazakoff: One of the most soft spoken, fiercest competitors I know. He had a great result in M3/4, and once he dials in his tubulars, and figures out how to ride in corners (coming from a tri-background--sorry Ryan, the tri-truth should be known) he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Ryan "Ironman" Kazakoff and me.  

Also soft spoken and fierce, what would my blogpost be without a pic of me and Tyler Dumont. This guy scares me with how fast he can be. Our wives think there is something more going on between us, but I assure you, we like to kick the hell out of each other as racers, and have some good chats. That is all, really. This time I beat him cleanly. Although it is the second race that I have "beaten" Tyler this year even if the last one was only on paper. And the result of a Cycling BC screw up the results, altogether, from Abby CX. 

Kelly, we are really just friends.

Lastly, I managed to meet up with Mike Murphy, winner of the 2012 Meet Your Maker, and fellow CX'er from 2011. He was on form racing his tubulars more than a shade faster than me. Like Bob, the guy has some tiny legs, but sooooo much power coming out of them. Also a father of twins, we racers need to meet up and form a club or something. My saving grace as I get older, is that I look to guys like Mike, Bob and Tyler and see that there is no way that they are slowing down as they age. They only get quicker as they are into their 40s. Being 36, there is nothing to fear with turning 40, like I once thought in my immature pre-35 years.

Mike"MYM50 Champ" Murphy and me, post race. This guy is an animal runner and biker. I bet he can swim too.

All told, I came away from Vanier with a mini-leatherman, water bottle, some tasty food, good pics and a bit of a tan on my legs and arms. The only injuries that I sustained were from Sven whipping bottles and mini-tools at the crowd.

Thanks to Sven Sturm and Trek Red Truck, Matt Klymson, Mike Tunnah and the West Coast Racing crew, and to Kim Steed and Steed Cycles for the kids race. These types of well supported races with the atmosphere that these races had this past weekend make CX the most fun type of racing around. If only we could get 300 people out to them, and spectators, we would be well on our way to bigger events. Bring your friends and families out to them next time. CX is the best season of all! Now is time for some rest as this race pushed me over 50 hours of exercise/races for the month of September, the most I have done in any single month this year.

Although I love to do it, the running is not helping the bike racing in the least. If I want to get better, I should really focus on one discipline. But they are both so much fun. I am tired and looking to recover and get stronger for the BC CX championships.... and some cross country running. Yet again, sabotaging myself....

Pics from both days:
Doug Brons
Daryl Evans Racing Photostream by Jeff Hanninen
Amir Shahrestani

Results to follow.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Day 1: 2012 New Brighton CX presented by V.CX.C Race Report

Draft Report. check back for the full report by Tuesday:

Riding alonside Aaron Schooler. Sand hurts. Photocredit: Luckybiker.
New Brighton CX presented by the V.CX.C went off as the first race of a double header weekend in Vancouver on September 29th and 30th. These two races are only cyclocross events due to a bylaw that prohibits any bicycle races in the city of Vancouver proper between October and May. Kind of an strange, archaic bylaw, but that is how it goes. I guess nationals will never be in Vancouver, as was the case with the initial planning this year.

Matt Hornland and V.CX.C made some changes to the previous courses established by Team Wedgewood, making this iterition of New Brighton a more compact grass crit course, eliminating the road section altogether. V.CX.C utilized more grass within the park by creating more off camber twists and turns. The long sand pit that is a key feature to New Brighton was kept, only this time with only one go per lap across it. In my opinion, the course changes were for the better, even if the previous course played to my strengths.

The double weekend was a huge success as both events were well attended by nearly 200 racers and many other spectators. For the uninformed or curious, I think that what CX feels like while racing can best be described by the guy in this picture:

Mike Dolling. Really one of the best guys you will meet. Photo: Amir Shahrestani
 Yes, although he looks scary, he is actually having fun. Riding in sand, no less, which is not fun. The beautiful mug on this racer is none other than my team-mate hardman/englishman Mike Dolling. I think Amir nailed the shot here, and it is one of the coolest CX pic I have seen. Well done Amir!! Check out his shots here.

The look on Mike's face is one that everyone experiences while racing. We had great weather, so he should not be grumpy about that. There was no moisture in the unusually desert climate of the Lower Mainland this Summer and Fall, so really, why so down Mike? I will tell you why: because it is hard. It hurts. You get to taste your own lungs in your throat. Your muscles cramp. You go cross-eyed. You puke in your mouth and swallow it. And part of you dies. But then it is over. You recharge, you come back another weekend and do it all over again, no matter how bad it sucked, how many bike parts you break, and how hard you puked and bled during or afterwards. It is the most fun on a bike.

I have said this before, but in M3/4 I am used to riding up at the front. Now I ride at the back with a full gas effort silently saying "wait for me", and destroying myself in the process. It is a learning experience, one that is slow, but getting better. This weekends effort was consistent, I am getting the fast twitch working again, and am trying to put together a good race. It has not happened yet, but it will. My day started with a lame warmup because I was too busy watching my brother Aaron kick some ace in the Master 3/4 catagory, pulling out his first CX win ever!! Way to go little broder. Super proud of him and how he is racing: Smart and smooth. Some raw unedited video of not how he did it, but him doing it:

The other part of my warmup included crashing into the barriers because of a stubborn pedal that would not allow me to unclip, thus throwing me into the second barrier, surgically repaired shoulder first. I pulled my own personal Joey move, only I was going a teeny bit slower. "Captain" Morgan "Project B/ owner of the cutest dog in the world" Taylor was on hand to heckle me with a pre-programmed Benny Hill theme through the megaphone. I must work on barriers this season more. Shoulder intact, I picked up my bike and kept on going only now smelling like sweet, sweet grass.

Cornering and not crashing, although it looks like I will. Photo: Jeff Hanninen
My race me sucking the tail of the group again, and trying to gain positions and claw up to the Kamloops crew, eventual winner Chris McNeil, with Martin Bojesen in second. Kamloops has it going on with a strong, STRONG cycling community up there. They finished nearly 3 minutes ahead of me, so clawing up to them was never going to happen. Instead, I got to race against Keith Wilson, team-mate Peter Holzuter, and some other friendlies. Pete and I battled after he had a heart attack and had to take a dirt nap in the sand to get his HR back down from 238 bpm. This happens to him from time to time, and he knows how to deal with it by crawling into the fetal position and flexing his core. He lost many positions, but fought valiantly to catch me and take the sprint to the line. Atta boy Pete!! Way to deal with your own physical nightmares, and still finish, pipping me. Matt Drown rolled a tubular, having some bad luck on the course today after a couple of solid results from the first two races.

Yet another Matt, Matt Hornland and the crew put on a great course and a great race for Day 1. Aaron, Peter, and Myself were all left feeling tuckered out that evening. Better than a win, was getting this pic from my brother, showing off my sexy side. A side that I never knew I had, simply because I don't check myself out from behind (although I should start):

Running and biking give you muscles. Photo: Aaron Weiss
Riding sand is not my strong suit, and I definitely need some practice to keep my momentum going. I rode it cleanly probably 3 times of 7. I managed to lose time each lap going across it. Time that in a CX race, you cannot make up. Chalk up at least 7 errors in the sand. Not smooth at all. However, I did manage to get in front of these two guys, even if they were lapping me in the Elite 1/2 field give a two minute head start:

The only time I will be in front of Bob Welbourn this season. Photo: J.H.

The only time I will be in front of Andrew Pinfold this season. Not the only time he will pass me. Photo J.H.

The effort felt more consistent today, only I did not race very aggressively, had a slow starting effort, lost positions, and had a hard day trying to regain them. No crashes other than in warm-up. The body metrics tell the story of my own personal heart-attacks. Something that I love about CX is the flatline around 170bpm:

Body values are looking better. Good CX effort than in Abby.

The vuvuzela guy was funny and annoying at the same time. And extremely loud.

Getting Vuvazala-ed with a smile on. Photo: A.W.
Looking at the results, it is clear that I am not on form, although I am hammering the s#it out of myself during these races. My starts are slower than last year, something that I was strong at. The results are what they are. A bit of a disappointment, but hey, this is the next level up, and I am learning. I just have to get my head and heart in the game with my legs, all at the same time.

What I really missed was the bacon hand-ups in the race, something I will look forward too for next time. Only now, the price of pork is going through the roof, the weather is sure to change, and less CX'ers will be out to the upcoming races. Stay will us for a little longer, shoulder season-cousin of summer!

Thanks to all the volunteers, mother nature for the weather, and the VCXC/ Mighty Riders for putting this one on. Great job!

Railing corners. Photo: J.H.
Next up Day 2!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bear Creek Park XC Race: 8km XC PB!

Bear Creek XC presented by South Fraser Track and Field went off today, marking my first shorter distance trail run since the Fraser Valley Trail Series, and Nadia's first footrace ever. The race was made up of 3 long loops and 2 short loops around the track, ending with an ambiguous button hooking course back onto the track for the last 100m, culminating in 8kms. The day was a good one for me, as it confirms I have recovered from the MYM 50, and look forward to cranking up the tempo runs through the winter. However, some other health concerns have reared up since the MYM.

So far this month (by the autumnal equinox today) I have managed to get in 38 hours of training and racing. Those hours are nearly evenly split between biking and running. It helps that twelve of those hours are the MYM 50. Although last week's cyclocross race was a bust, this week's cross country race in Bear Creek Park was much better. I don't know if I am getting better at running, and beginning to suck at cycling, but it appears that may be the case based on today and last week's result.

Last year, my CX season was off to a flying start. I was placing well and I could punch through the levels of pain to find new sources of energy to kick again and again--something that I am having difficulty doing this year when training on the bike.

Today at Bear Creek Park, I managed to start fast with the front group, remain steady on the run, keeping my kilometer splits within about 10 seconds of each other, save for the first km. The front two comprise of Drew Nicholson, 28, a beast of a runner, and 19 year old Travis Fraser of Douglas College, leaving us to a group of 5 to follow behind them. Having local fast veteran runner Rob Lang there was a bit of extra incentive to run fast, as I have never beaten him in a race before. Things went well over the course of the 3 long loops, as our group swelled, I dropped back to 7th or 8th, then tried to push ahead to make up some positions. Running with triathlete Mikey Ross, we paced each other trying to pick off those in front. With 1 short loop to go, and the family cheering, I kicked away from him and managed to gain sole position of 5th place, trying to run down a quick Darbara Ghuman, giving up on third place altogether. The last lap was quick, but not my quickest coming into the finish. I sealed up 5th, with a time of 30:46. Only 4 seconds behind Darbara. My fastest 8kms ever, running a 3:51 min/km pace.

Speed data and splits.
A bunch of other data from the race.
After running the Sandcastle in June, a race that I was quicker for, even with all of its climbs and descents, I seem to be coming back into form. But, cross country is different than road running, and although this course was pancake flat with an average of 6m of climbing and descending per kilometer, it is still off road. At times, I felt like backing way off and just resting due to the high exertion. The first km felt easy, the middle 4km  to 6km was a slug, and the last km was a good punch. With an 8k race, it is over so fast. I was running at the limit. I took 1st in my age catagory, in the 30-39, which is pretty cool, even though there was only 3 of us in that catagory today. This placing gives me 30 points for the series so far, and completing 4 more races with top finishes could have me winning the points series. Unfortunately, I am focussing on finishing DFL in every CX race this season, so winning the cross-country catagory for 30-39 is on the back burner.

Post race meal had me succumbing to the boysie's asking politely for golden arches, where we scarfed grease food. I went home spent and passed out from the intensity of the race.

As for those health concerns I mentioned at the top, I have been experiencing night sweats for the month of September. Perhaps a sign that I am overtraining, and not getting enough rest. My sleep at night is less than adequate at about 6 to 7 hours of rest on the nights before my early morning runs, and 7 to 8 hours when I have a morning off of running. Sleep is something that I love, and need more of in order to get quicker, stay healthy and feel better. Something to shoot for.

Gear notes:

I ran in my Sugoi notch short, Sugoi BC tank and NM compression sleeveless, along with my Sole socks and New Balance MT110s. Nutrition took the form of Oatmeal, water, 2 eggs for breakfast, a gel pre-race, sportlegs. Post race was a bottle of Scratch and some gummis before lunch.

Of note, Sean noticed my severe right foot heel pronation. The Asics are my gold-standard go to shoe. The NB 110s have been great, but perhaps not the perfect shoe for my pronation. I have not had any injuries due to the footstrike or pronation, but would like to prevent anything like that from happening. Even my Crossmax do not feel the greatest, with a bump in the arch, but with the right sock, they are pretty good for a high mileage trail shoe.

I am looking forward, oddly enough, to the rain and getting out my Gore Tex lined NB 910 trail shoe, and trying out a set of Gore Tex XT Wings for the winter.

Bring on New Brighton and Vanier!! CX season is underway, everywhere!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Movin' on up or How I learned to race well in Masters 3/4 and DFL in BC CUP #1 M 1/2

Looking like I am having fun, off camber and all. Photo Credit: Doug Brons 
Yesterday was a beautiful day for a CX race and a great time to meet up with some old friends, teammates, and fellow cross racers from the last few years. We all take this seriously, but enjoy cyclocross enough for what it is: fun. However, there are a few things that would have made it better. We can  look at those in my race report card for the Abby CX a bit later. First, let's talk about what it is like to race in a new category.

Due to the MYM 50, I had to miss the first CX race of the season at Aldor Acres. I am not at all upset about that, however, getting to race cross is something I love (as stated in my last post), and today came with some high expectations for myself, and not enough gas in the tank to meet said expectations.

Now I know that the big boys race fast. I have raced many of them in years past, and fancy myself an able CX racer. It took me a couple of years to understand CX at the Men's 3/4 level, a year off in 2010 with a shoulder injury, and last year racing at the front of the Master 3/4 cat. Those 3 years of racing taught me very much. I remember what it was like to start racing CX back in 2008, and it feels like that all over again in the M 1/2 catagory. My second ever cross race in Crescent Park resulted in me finishing close to DFL. Tyler Dumont and I feel pretty much the same way from this one, after comparing notes. The 1/2 catagory is fast and we don't want to be last.
Me and Tyler, before the race. Enjoying each other's company and growing tumors from the power lines.
But now, the education starts again if I would like to get quicker. I remember all the things that are needed to put together a strong placing in a cyclocross race: Have a fast start, try to crack the race open from the gun, hammer for a good 13-17 minutes, back off a bit, pedal out of the corners, hammer the straights, then build up the rest of the race with a flourish at the finish. That is how I like to finish--digging so deep that my eyes are rolling in my skull, and I am seeing purple spots for a while. If this is the case, I am happy with my effort, and my effort will usually read 181 BPM average for the race. The placing? Well, I am now used to higher placings from my previous catagory--top tens and top fives.

HR was dropping out as the race progressed. Usually I stay consistent. Not today.

Which is why this year, I am happy to try my luck in Master's 1/2. The new level will test me against the fastest of the local guys 30+, and hopefully I will improve my riding and fitness for racing against them. Today had to be one of the toughest races I have attempted, and the toughest course I have ever done.

The race was tough for a couple of reasons: I had zero in my start, my legs just had no get up and go in them. Dave Neubeck suggested that is in part due to the 50 miler, which I may tend to agree with. My old buddy from the neighborhood in Kamloops, Ryan Kazakoff (*who rolled his tubular and DNF'ed, something I think he has never done before ever, as he was supremely disappointed in himself from what I could see--take heart buddy, these races are tough!) came down for the race--great to see him, and he asked me if I had recovered from it. At time this AM, I told him that I thought I had. I really did not think that the 50mi run would play into this race 2 weeks later. Honestly, I feel pretty darn recovered from it.

But starting the race, I realized that this course would be curtains for me right from the gun. The whistle blew,  I settled in to a mule train of other masters riders, and then proceeded to go backwards, pooped right out the back of the race within the first lap. 3 laps in, I managed to get passed by Elite rider Kevin Calhoun, and a little while later the head of our race, Bob "Lovely Lady" Welbourn (*I held the course tape for him to cross in warm-up. He called me a gentleman, I replied "Anything for a lovely lady". He fingered me. We laughed about it), caught and lapped me. Secretly I had prayed for this to happen because I wanted to be out of this race sooner than I could finish all of the laps--that is how much I loved it.

I know what type of cross racer I am. Mud Pits, tall grass, deep gravel, overhead power lines--I hate. Rain, climbs, running sections, dust, twisty stuff, off camber, fast lines and straights--I love. Today had all that I hate, so naturally, I guess one is supposed to practice their weaknesses.

And suck I did. The whole race. I threw in the towel around lap seven or so, trying to ride with some fire in me belly, but really I just wanted it to end. The race was over for me early on, even though I still fought it out to the finish. I can't say that there is anything more notable from the race to mention.

I was DFL of the finishers. CBC messed up and I was behind Tyler. Also, Kaz did not start this race, he DNF'd in 3/4.

So now the work begins. Intervals. Lots of them. More racing. Less brakes. Faster cornering. All the things that I tried to do to other racers in 3/4, were done to me in yesterday's race. Chapeau, fellow riders. Hopefully it does not take me 3 years to be a contender in M1/2.

Shout outs go to Doug Brons--dude, you are amazing, Scott Sportsman for his single speed effort, Bob Welbourn and Kevin Calhoun for lapping me (Kevin did it twice he was in a class all his own), Paul Craig and the Local Ride hooligans for heckling me with chants of "Fred Flintstone" on the demi-run up, and most proudly to my brother, who beat everyone in M3/4 save for John "The Beast" Irvine. 2nd place is pretty good for your fourth CX race ever AW!! Very happy for that one.

Broder Aaron on his way to 2nd in M3/4. Doug Brons Photo
Check out the fine work of Doug Brons here:

Abby CX course/race report card: 

Cycling BC tried their hand at organizing this race, and yes, they succeeded in making a challenging course, one that tested our ability to:

One: ride technically challenging terrain in the form of potholed tall grass along with everybody's favorite, a  BC Hydro service with road soft, deep gravel. The weather was HOT, and the course was dry and dusty.

Two: test our abilities to fend off the development of the possibility of getting cancer later in life by having us race under 500kv power lines. There is a reason that they do not/should not build houses underneath those things. DE team member Peter Holzuter DNS'ed the race because of his heart condition, and the danger of racing under those lines. I do not blame him at all for that call. It just sucks that he made the trip from Kamloops, to then pull the pin after looking at the course and those power lines.

These two made the course nearly dangerous. I joked that I should have brought my full suspension for this race. Perhaps that would have been a good thing on this one.  A lead suit would have probably helped as well to shield from the carcinogens and electro-magnetic field.

I experience it everyday on my commute to work: when riding underneath those lines, I cannot touch any metal part of my bike with my body or hands (thank goodness for carbon-soled shoes). When I do, my hands can feel the shock, and when seated, I get shocked between my thighs (hubba-hubba). It freaks me out. And I felt that today, too, on the course. The electric shock in my legs racing under the power lines when my inner thigh touched my Race Face Deus seat clamp. It is especially bad when there is moisture in the air, or rain, which is most of the year for my commute. Not healthy.

Along with a shorter than normal 1.98km course, the fact that:

  • The role call (not call ups, because CBC did not want to use last season's BC Cup points tally) was a mess, 
  • The results at the end were wrong in many categories listing riders who had gotten lapped as podium finishers (In Masters 3/4--my brother Aaron came 2nd, and he was listed as 3rd. A challenge on that resulted in him taking his rightful place), 
  • A lack of porta-potties within a reasonable distance to the race course, 
  • Poor/ Lack of communication regarding parking, team tent areas, on the Cycling BC website, or elsewhere
  • No race announcing, music, or PA system
  • Length of the race (we were told it was 45 mins for M1/2, and they had us racing for an hour) and proper start times (an inconsistency on the CCN website and the confirmation that they send out with the receipt confirming your registration and payment--was it 11:15 or 12:15? We did not know until the day of)
Organizing a race is not an easy thing to do, and thanks to Cycling BC we had a race yesterday. But it was a disappointment. Add everything up, and this one is a C- or D, considering all of the other courses and settings we have been treated to over the years. The next two at Vanier and New Brighton are arguably the two most scenic races in the lower mainland. We are spoiled with those two. It makes me wonder, why did they even bother? What was in it for them?

The consensus among the racers is that Cycling BC does not support CX or mountain biking. And the general feeling in talking to the racers is one of dissatisfaction, to be polite, about the direction and attitude Cycling BC has taken towards supporting some of the cycling discipline in this province. The CX race calendar was not even published on the Cycling BC website until sometime in August. REALLY?!!? C'mon guys, get it together. It has been better in the past. What gives? We have a national championships cyclocross event coming up in November that needs to be a strongly supported event.

We can see the success of the Cross on the Rock, and by next year, Vancouver Super-Prestige will be in full swing to take over all of the organization to perhaps leave Cycling BC out of it all together. We have enough clubs and CX enthusiasts as it is to make a go of it. How can Seattle and Portland draw up to 10 times the participants that we in Canada can. Perhaps I just answered my own question--we are in Canada. But it does not have to be this way.
Many of the mountain bike and running races I have been to have had better organization of much more participants, and more atmosphere than this race. Perhaps I need to start announcing for all the Lower Mainland cyclocross season. I bet I could drum up some atmosphere.

At lease the day ended better than the race. Even if I was still the lantern rouge within my family.