Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011 Ontario Cyclocross Nationals

Ride with Rendall brought the Ontario Provincial Cyclocross Championships to Ottawa this year, building on two years of races held at the Nepean Equestrian Centre. Featuring a whole lot of tape and a whole lot of turns, the Hammer and Anvil tracks are all about cornering and accellerating. With virtually no cruise control sections on the track, racers were out for a hard hour of racing.

A dry day with a good bit of wind, Saturday delivered the fastest CX track conditions I've encountered. While I'd normally think tire like out Clement PDX tubulars would be just right for such a twisty course, the grass was so dry and grippy I think a file tread with a side knob would have been better. Pre-race, Rob commented he'd added air to account for the extra grip; he didn't want to roll a tire. I left mine alone, as they felt fine in warmup. As it turned out, my rear tire squirmed around so much I thought I had a slow leak!

All of our male riders lined up for the Masters A (30-39) start at 1:30pm. Hours later than usual for us, it felt off having so much time to fritter away before the race. To his chagrin, Iain lined up with the Senior field rather than the Masters, having to default to his road category. A minute after they went off, so did we. 
Andy heads into the difficult off-camber turn.
Jamie, same place
The pace off the start was fine, though I seemed inept at clipping in, losing some ground I'd have to make up. Peter Moog was in the lead, followed by local John Fee and Jon Barnes from Toronto. I sat in fourth and tried to be patient, watching carefully to see whether Fee would stay on Moog. I slipped into third spot somehow, and found myself narrowly avoiding going down on the most challenging offcamber turn when Moog slid out. I dismounted and ran, trying to get onto his wheel as the other two were delayed. Moog was elusive, and I was unable to hold his wheel, so I worked alone, lap after lap, moving through the back of the Senior field. A rival from T.O., Tristan Smith, shod with a chest-mounted video camera, was closing. With about 4 laps to go (of 9), he caught me, then played it smart and sat on my wheel until he was ready to attack. I went with him, but ultimately clipped a pedal and saw him open his gap enough that I could not close. On I went, only to realize late in the race that Barnes and Fee wwere chasing hard and gunning for my podium spot! Heading into the final lap I buried myself, and kept the pressure on at 100% effort to keep them at a distance. The race had been gruelling, working in the wind alone for much of the time and never really feeling good. I couldn't let 3rd slip away....It felt good to step onto the podium after a near miss at Nationals.

Rob finished a strong 8th, followed by Jamie and Andy in 12th and 13th, and Tanya 7th in the Masters A field. Iain took 9th in the Senior field, a solid result for a guy who's pretty green on the cross bike!

Thanks to Greg, Mark, Chris and Mike for coming out to support our racers. I can't overstate how much it helps to be urged on out there when we're suffering. Thanks to Ride with Rendall for putting on a great race, and all the folks from out of town who came to compete. The more the merrier! Congrats to all the Provincial Champions! 

Jamie Over the barriers.

Jamie powering out of the off-camber


Matt, mid off-camber

Rob powers up and out

Matt, cooked....

Thanks for the hand-up Chris!

Moog #1, Smith #2, Surch #3. See the Steelwool cap? Available now at the shop!

No comments: