Monday, November 30, 2009

The Final Showdown: Mooney's Bay Cross

Sunday, the big show. I'd hoped for snow and rain all week, in the way only a sadistic cross racer would. Or so you might think. In fact, I hoped for rain and snow so the racing would hurt LESS. Yes, that's the secret of the slop: you can only go so fast when you are trying not to eat it on every turn. Thus, you get to recover in between things like straights and, oh, I don't know, basterd hills you have to 'run' up. Yeah, sure, I'll likely crash in the slop, but I'll have fun doing it.

It didn't rain or snow. As a consolation, it was beautiful out. The sun warmed my emerald clad back as I cast my gaze across the land, sending out silent encouragement to my cyclocross bretheren as they squeezed every last drop out of their bodies on the uphill finish. Or something like that. Race 1 saw Brad, Will, Martin, and Will's bra, Noah, thrown down. Brad decided he would "not [in fact] pay to rock the one-cog," and instead busted out gears to take on the course. The others had gears on their bicycles as well, and too attacked the course with abandon. Then Martin flatted...on lap one. No sweat, he'd fix er up and rock the second race. That's how we roll; versatile.

Photos below come courtesy of Coolfish Andy, and Gilles. Thanks guys, great shooting! Their sets can be found here and here.

Will cannot be accused of not trying. Look at his face, he's trying hard. Next year he'll be back, swine flu free and crushing it!

Our cheering section was not quite as well developed here as provincials, but our numbers did grow for the second race. Lily rocked the trumpet like a pro, and Thom improvised a stellar dual cowbell technique that was acoustically stunning. Lovely! Jamie has not yet developed his rabid fan skills, but will likely do so...eventually.

Will would likely have been ripping this harder if he wasn't trying to choke his heart down.

Brad would make a good fighter pilot. Look at him, he's totally relaxed, but riding fast.

Tanya seems to know the secret to cyclocross, because she's always smiling. What is it? Tell us. Is it an extra special chamois creme?

Noah shredded the course on his kids wheels. I normally don't use that turn of phrase, but when I caught him in my sights one time, it looked like he was riding a bmx or something for a second. Then I realized it was Noah on the 26s. Even the wee kids ride 700s, so these wheels look really small with narrow tires.

The beginning of race 2.

I've noticed Anna also smiles a lot. Does she also know the secret?

She must, look at this. Anna is running AND smiling. QQF? And why is this underlined?

Neil doesn't so much smile as not look like he is not hurting much. Does he mask it really well, or is he just that fast? Either way, I should find out, cause it might be something simple like chamois creme.

Rodd does look like he enduring pain. He came up from behind again. I should consider this tact sometime, but probably won't.

Martin, aka, Wolverine, shreds the course. He noted the pace was marginally faster than the first race usually is. But I'm thinking that with the right chamois creme, or perhaps even embro, he'll be right in there.

Jamie probably did not have magic chamois creme or embro on. You can tell by the knee warmers. Nevertheless, he did work himself hard and rode a great race. He used to never show his suffering face, but now he does all the time. I like it!

Look at that, that's totally running. Nice going Jamie!

I have no idea what Rodd is doing here. Possible sign language. This is the point where I am still hanging on. Then he gets away. I'd waited for him earlier on, when I felt crap, thinking I'd be able to stay on fine. Nope.

I think Mike had a good race. He seemed to ride strong and place well. I'm starting to find out that he always pins it. Nice.

Oops, this should have come earlier. Nice clouds, and Neil going fast.


Yes, I'm right on Shawn, just where I want to be. This is going awesome. Oh no, he's getting away....


As you can se below, I crashed. But not here, yet. I'm unclipping to moto the turn. I crash on the exit, as my back wheel slides out on the dirt path up the hill (my wife was standing there and filled me in, cause I had no idea how exactly this happened). I'm thinking a little less rake on my fork would have allowed me to pull this off. Either that, or perhaps DZ Nutz instead of Mad Alchemy Pro Chamois, as the former has way more tingle effect to keep you on your toes.

Shwoop. I actually slid on my shoulder too a split second earlier, tearing my number. I love the grass in the air. Action. After this is felt really horrendous in the lungs and slowed down a lot. Damn, I had to win and make sure Drew Rapoch got no points in order to take 5th overall! So close! Rodd got away I decided it was time to get back into it and give'r.

Thom is out of the frame, but he's surely yelling a split to me here, urging me on (I'm only showing so many of me because I am the one doing all the crashing and suffering. promise). My wife, daughter, and mother-in-law were also nearby screaming it up. Danielle reminded me I was on my last lap of the season, so I worked it extra hard.

Mike was definitely also putting in 100% here.

Thom kept on giving me splits to Rodd, but I couldn't see him. I could see the Cyclety rider, Jeff Faulds, up ahead though. I'd been chasing him, maintaining a gap for a while, but I managed to bridge on the last lap. As I tailed him around the final turn, there was Rodd up ahead. My primary concern was to try to drag race Faulds, but we both passed Rodd.

This one captures the story. This was the first time I've caught and passed Rodd after he's caught and passed me. Barely pulled it off. I look forward to improving to the point where we can work together in the races.

Neil's svelte set-up.

Sexy, right? This is called sex lacing, and Will did it. Probably right around 1995. Stiffer was the word. Noah rocked it sexy style for sure.

My Secteur 18 performed admirably. I managed a 34 in the front, and 30 tubular in the back (my Vittoria 32 fits too). The bike was extremely stable and responsive. I also loved the lack of toe overlap. I'd go with cantis for a cross bike, for sure, but this shows the versatility of a bike set up with mid-reach calipers. A bigger tire could fit in the rear by providing more clearance at the seat stays. This all-road configuration is pretty sweet.

Hope to see fellow racers on Wednesday at the awards night.

NOTE: See below for info from the NCC regarding a great talk next week.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands invite the public to attend a presentation on how the city of The Hague has become a world leader in bicycle transportation. Marie Lemay, Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission (NCC), and His Excellency Wim Geerts, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, will host the event. The evening’s key note speaker will be Ms. Inge Molenaar, The Hague’s leading expert in cycling infrastructure, who has helped transform The Hague into a bicycle-friendly city. Ms. Molenaar will share her city’s best practices, lessons learned and will answer questions about The Hague’s challenges and successes.

Admission to the event is free.

WHEN: Monday, December 7, 5 pm to 7 pm

WHERE: Christ Church Cathedral Hall

420 Sparks Street, Ottawa

For more details:


colin said...

great photos! a bunch of us montrealers tried to race at mooney's bay for the provincials but the registration was already closed. it was nice to finally be able to tackle that hill in a differently routed, albeit comparably grueling course.

i tried to keep pace with the guy with the purple kona after meeting him at your shop but i think i lost him somewhere around the 4th run-up.

is there anywhere to find more photos of the race?

colin said...

oops, just saw you added links

madmountainmike said...

Hey Colin - that was me. Actually I think you might have been with the Mike Leach/ Paul Chedore/ Mike Bennett group that caught me on the last or second last lap. I was dying (not my best race) and could not keep up. (at one point there was actually 4 of us Mikes on the hill run-up)

colin said...

i think you're right--my memory is hazy for that whole race. general exhaustion had me riding past the barriers at one point, where i had to double back in order to get back on the course.

still, fun in retrospect. it was my first season and i'm totally hooked. see you next year

Andy said...

Hey, this was my first try at shooting a bike race. Actually it was the first time I've even been to a cross race. I'm glad that the photos turned out ok!

It's been a real pleasure riding with all you tall tree guys. Keep in touch and I'll see you next year!