Sunday, November 15, 2009

2009 Ontario Cyclocross Provincials - Mooney's Bay

Will took a tonne of great photos. See them here.

It was a hard race today. Lots of opportunity to really put the hurt on. I think at least a few spent some time in the hurt locker. Make no mistake, today's course at Mooney's Bay was far more brutalizing than yesterday's Anvil.

Greg Rein, one of the builders of the Anvil course. He really knows how to ride cross. I'd like to follow him sometime...if I can hold on AND see (Photo: Steve).

With over 200 riders competing today, the stage was set for some great racing. Jamie and I showed up just after the start of race #2, and had a few opportunities to cheer Anna and Mike on. I don't know what spots they wound up in just yet.

Anna O'Brien, perhaps wishing she had a team-mate to work with (Photo: Will).

Mike Abraham, definitely leaving it all on the course (Photo: Will).

Once the race was wrapped up we got on course for our preride and confirmed our suspicion: lots of wide open straights and lots of climbing. The approach into the straight line ascending the toboggan hill was modified with a chicane, in tended to force riders to run. But that didn't stop some of the Elite men from riding straight up anyhow. Nuts. I suppose I could have ridden it with a 36 rather than a 42...maybe not. I had to run, not a strength for me. Rodd would have taken out many on that climb had he been able attend.

Rob was remounting and riding the last pitch. Brute. Brad lends a hand. All these black and whites are by Steve, aka, Colonel. Nicely done (Photo: Steve).

Beyond the hill, the other feature of note was the sand. Out toward the water and 180 degrees around the lifeguard station back. Out was fine, but getting around the turn clean was beyond my ability today. I heard some of the guys were pulling it off; this is extremely impressive. Perhaps we should always use the sand there so us hacks can learn how to ride it well?

Rob and Dave were on course before long, and of course Neil as well. Before long we were standing alongside out cheering contingent - Will, Angela, Kent, Kim, Brad and his munchkins, my wife and daughter, Jamie's parents, and my dad. Noisemakers in hand, they readied themselves for the job at hand.

Kent. Superfan (Photo: Steve).

Thankfully, we didn't have to start with the Seniors. It was much simpler to know who we were racing. Neil was already off, which left the other four of us to mix it up with the Masters A group. Go! Pretty fast start, but not blazing. I managed to get up in the top five or so and relax a bit before hitting the hill. My 'run' was more of a low shuffle, but I didn't seem to lose ground. I slid out on one of the switchbacks, but was encouraged to find I did not lose a spot. Racing. The first lap was, as usual, pretty intense, but riders strung out pretty quickly. I rode in the first group for a while, then it broke up. Mistakes were made, but nothing horrible. I managed to stay focused on the job and aggressive. The cheering helped immensly, as it always does. My gals were superfans, up the hilld, down across, up.... My daughter apparently indicated she felt like puking from the intensity of running all over the hill. No matter, she wanted to stick to the plan. That's my girl! They couldn't tell whether I could see or hear them as I was too focused to spare a glance, but I assured them I saw them everywhere. Kent was also particularly vocal - he is also a superfan - and he urged me on really hard: "G0 gettem, downhill style!" I took his cue and caught my guys on a descent. I love doing that, it doesn't cost anything.

Neil, always fast (Photo: Steve).

Me, sometimes fast (Photo: Steve).

David Stachon. Back at it after a leg injury. Nice riding Dave! (Photo: Will)

Rob Parniak, Tall Tree's all round hammer. He even crushes it on the TT bike! Nice teamwork with Jamie Rob!

Jamie, getting into this whole racing up, down and across thing (Photo: Steve).

Jamie, wicked suffering face at the top of the hill (Photo: Will)

Is Jamie running? Fo shizzle! (Photo: Steve)

Rob, possibly in the hurt closet (Photo: Will)

Our posse consisted of numerous Superfans. Check Angela's style: MORE COWBELL! (Photo: Will)

You can be certain all the fans screaming encouragement helped Neil brutalize himself all the way up this every lap. Powa! (Photo: Will)

This is what I look like when I am trying to run. On the first pitch I did the old man shuffle: keep the feet low, one, two, one, two.... (Photo: Steve)

Nice light on this one. Jamie is working hard, nice suffering face. (photo:Will)

What, you didn't know cross is all about aerodynamics? Oh yeah, it totally is. Why do you think so many riders use the deep dish rims? Aero. I embrace this truth here, and really tuck in at 12kph. I might try an aero helmet to attain further gains next year. Rob can lend me his. PRO. (Photo: Will)

I was rolling well behind a Cyclery Senior for a while, but failed to notice him slowing down. I was in 3rd or 4th at this point. Once I realized we'd slowed way down I took off, but the damage was done. A chase group of three - two masters and one senior - had narrowed the gap to striking distance. I wound up riding with an out of towner ZYM...? for at least a lap, then a team mate of his got into the mix somewhere. The latter was riding strong on the last lap and I knew I would have trouble with him at the finish. I tailed him, then passed over the barriers and led up the back of the hill, down, and around. On the final turn he went wide, I went low, and we uncorked the sprint. He went hard, and I put everything into it, but my gears skipped around a bit and I had to navigate around a Senior, so it did not work out. He took me by at least a bike length. I'd been having issues with my shifting since sliding out, which I might have resolved if I'd taken more time with them twiddling my in-line barrel. Mistake. I also should have been more aware of the traffic ahead. Mistake. I also should have let him lead me in to the sprint instead of vice versa. Mistake. All mistakes to learn from. That's cross for ya.

So I wound up 7th, 5th Ontarian. Neil was 6th, I think 5th Ontarian, Jamie 18th or so, and Rob right around there too. I think Dave was back a bit. Tough course, but a great effort by all the Tall Tree riders today. I think we are all looking forward to next weeks mellow Double Cross ride next weekend! Then we'll be back to Mooney's for one more beat down. After that, if we're lucky, we might be able to put in a few backroads rides before winter blankets us with snow. Only time will tell.

Here are some photos I found from today. More to follow.

And here are a bunch from Almonte by Aaron Fillion and Jen:


smivies said...

Yes, it was a nice sprint Matt, sorry to hear about your gears. I was surprised to see you still back there after I didn't think I was going to do all that work AND lead you into the sprint, did you? As for mistakes, we almost bridged up to 5th place with that late surge, should have attacked earlier.... See you at Mooney's Bay in 2 weeks.

Matt Surch said...

Hey there Mr. Smith, thanks for reading! I too was surprised to see we bridged so close to the others. Goes to show, you never know what's happening up ahead, you just have to keep it pinned. I in fact don't think you would have been silly enough to let me take a lead out from you. Your slowdown over the barriers was very clever; nice move! It was a pleasure racing with you, you are a great sportsman. I look forward to our next foray at Mooney's.

Madmountainmike said...

Yes pain was the name of the game ! I finished 12th just 0.3 behind Sean Wright, just not enough sprint power in my spindly little legs ! Looking at the finish times for the MA race I figure I would have been 12th there as well based on lap times and adding about 30 seconds for the sand section.
Funny - only 1 minute separating 12the from 6th in the MB race but almost 4 minutes in the MA race.
(And who the hell knew Steve Proulx was an old fart MB this year !)

the original big ring said...


check it out:

urban cross . . . fun, fun, fun.