Lion Cross, held at Port Coquitlam’s Lions Park twisted and wound its way around the small park in a maze of tape. Sitting on my trainer warming up for my race, I watch the future stars of cyclocross ripping it up on course. Of course I am referring to the U13 and U15 youth. It’s amazing to see these young athletes, in some cases, showing up the adults. Cyclocross is amazing in the way that it brings friends and families together for day of fun and racing.
My memories of this course are not fond as I broke my collarbone here a few years ago. A stick caught in my wheel as I accelerated out of a corner, abruptly bringing my bike to a stop, while I was pitched forward and slammed into the ground. The chance of this happening twice is slim to none, but before I race here, I meticulously comb the course for potential dangers (sticks) and remove them.
Although the course was satisfactorily cleared, it was still a rough day of racing for me. My start was my regular, not fast off the gun, start. Near the back of the pack rounding the first corner, I pedalled hard to make my way up through the ranks, only to have my chain drop off after coming through the barriers. I tried to ride it back on, adjusting the shifting, but it wouldn’t catch. I had to stop to manually put it on, fumbling as my gloves kept getting caught in the chain.
By the time I was back on my bike, everyone I had passed had gone by me. I had my work cut out for me if I had any hope for a podium finish. I slowly gained places, moving into 4th behind Marnie and Stacey with Maggie ahead and Sandra way off the front. Speaking of future stars of cyclocross, Maggie, riding with the Elite women, is only 14 years old!
Stacey, Marnie and I agreed we must catch Maggie. We worked briefly together then a gap formed behind me. I was feeling pretty good and decided it was time to go. I finally caught Maggie and went for the pass. I encourage her to stick on my wheel as Stacey would surely be chasing. She stuck to my wheel like glue, matching every move. I was not able to shake her. I rounded the snow covered corner (brought in just for today from a local ice rink) and took myself out. Maggie manoeuvred around me and took the lead. She was on fire, and once again I was on the chase. I dug really deep, as pride was on the line, and managed to catch her again. I edged past a second time and managed to hold her off for second place. Sandra ran away with first today.
What an awesome battle! Thanks Maggie! I hope cyclocross gives you as much as it has given me.