What a way to spend Thanksgiving Day! Good friends, spectacular weather, and some of the finest cross racing in BC. The big turnout was a record for attendance.
Last year this event was a month later, and it was cold, wet, and some might say miserable (if you are not a true cross racer!). This year, the sun was shining, the mud was minimal, but the course offered a whole new set of challenges. Like last year, racing kicked-off with a mass start, giving everyone a fair chance to show who has the best cross start. Clearly, not me, but what fun! Note to self, work on start.
The organizers didn’t let the pleasant weather take away from the challenge of the track; creative elements and high/low risk course options kept racers on their toes and added extra entertainment for spectators.. First up – take the fast line over a gap jump, or the slow choice through a series of barriers. Knowing that all the women I race against would choose the jump, I had to put all my fears and my love of keeping my wheels on the ground aside to keep in the mix. My first attempt during warm-up on my “B” bike landed short, my rear wheel casing hard, and I was really worried about the consequences of landing my carbon wheels the same way.
The first lap came, I sprinted to the jump and to my surprise, I floated over the jump and into the next corner. Awesome feeling! Quickly after the jump, my next decision, the right line or the left through the tire maze. I chose the right option, which turned out to be slower as I discovered in later laps.
The center of the course presented its own challenges with a very steep flyover, lots of tight twisty sections, and power road sections. Last in the line up was a steep climb into the motocross track where my arms were wishing I had done some push ups sometime during my training this year. The dry braking bumps were relentless and with 2 laps to go, my arms wanted to stop riding.
With one lap to go, I was managing to hold off my friend Joele. She was only behind me due to an unscheduled bike change. I gave everything I had to keep her at bay and thought I had managed it until I came through the finish and the lap board still said 1 to go. Not sure if I still had a lap, I kept riding knowing full well I had burned all my matches on the last, last lap.
Joele and I had a brief discussion as to whether we actually still had a lap to go. We decided if nothing else, it would be a good training lap and it was game on again. I managed to hold her until the 2nd to last corner on the motocross track where she finally found the sweet line and passed me on the inside sprinting to the finish ahead of me. What an awesome battle. I finished 7th behind Joele. Carey Mark, also riding for Steed, landed a podium finish in 4th place. Congrats Carey!
You always think that you have done the right training and then life throws you a curve ball. Although I have had a slow start to the season, I am looking forward to racing myself into fitness and loving every minute of it. Hopefully, I will still be able to meet my goal of a better finish than last year at Nationals.
Thanks to my sponsor Steed Cycles for their support and for putting together an awesome group of people that love cylcocross as much as I do. North Shore Sports Medicine for getting me through an early season injury. Also big thanks to all of our other sponsors: Giro, Sugoi, Giant, Bean Around the World, and Roberts Composites for their support.