Blogs about Cyclocross

2016 Steed Team Season Wrap Up

Natasha Cowie


Photo: Matt Lazzarotto / Valley Cross Mill Lake

2016 was a year of remarkable symmetry for me, centered on a mountain bike crash that resulted in a broken collarbone, surgery, and an unusual interlude of hiking. Bounding the crash, my mountain bike season before and my cyclocross season after each had a personal breakthrough race – NIMBY 50 and BC CX Championships. Both were atrocious weather, both were 4th place finishes, and both were a transcendental zone for me (i.e., the sweet spot for questionable life choices). I would like to think that these races went so well because, after almost two decades of racing, I’ve started to figure out what I’m doing. More likely I was just too cold to feel my legs. Either way, success.

Lowlights: The collarbone experience – it was a shame to miss out on the rest of mountain bike season, although I tried to stay in shape by aerobic spectating. At least my cowbell skills are on point now.

Highlights: The collarbone experience – it gave me an opportunity to work on all of the aspects of racing that do not take place on the bike. The two new bikes (Specialized Camber and Crux) that I have welcomed into my life and living room. Helping to put on a Full Belgian, Type II Fun BC CX Championships race in Squamish. A visit home to the North Carolina mountains for the UCI NCCX Grand Prix. And most importantly, my teammates and friends, who are unfailingly awesome.
Nimby 50

Photo: Grant Bruce, High Shot Photography

Many thanks to all of our team sponsors. We are incredibly fortunate to have such great support.
I appreciate (SO MUCH) the efforts of the organizers, volunteers, and bike associations that are behind these fantastic races.

Grant Bruce, High Shot Photography / Gearjammer

And special thanks to my coach Monika Marx for encouragement, advice, and workouts that are always good for me, even though sometimes I whine about them.
Bear Mountain Canada Cup – 18th
GearJammer – 5th
Vedder Mountain Classic – 2nd
NIMBY 50 – 4th
Sumas SmackDown – DNF’d my way right into the ER
Fort Langley Classic – 2nd
Seattle MFG Moor Cross – 6th
Vanier Park – 5th
Valley Cross Cultus Lake – 2nd
Cross Border Clash – 2nd
Pumpkin Cross – 4th
Aldergrove – 2nd
Valley Cross Mill Lake – 2nd
BC Cup CX Championships – 4th
UCI North Carolina Grand Prix – 18th and 16th

Photo: Ewan MacKenzie / Valley Cross

Dan Gronross

2016 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix

2016 goes down as one of the oddest years I can remember. I had big plans that I swept under the rug from a cycling perspective until I placed second at BC Provincials Category 3 in May. During that race I mustered up everything I had learned to keep my cool and jump during the race when it looked good. The personal confidence that came with that win put Super Week in sight for 2016. My BHAG has always been Gastown Grand Prix and while I was ultimately only in the game for 12 laps, it was a personal victory to even be there. I entered all the Criteriums during the week and ultimately let the pros fight it out in Whiterock as my chances at that race were slim to none.

British Columbia Cyclo-Cross Provincials is another high/low/waterlogged/frozen experience for 2016. I still don’t know how we pulled it off, but in the end everyone had a great time and some amazing racing took place. My goal in organizing racing is that the racers have a good time. I am still baffled that anyone had any fun during that race.

Thanks for all the support from friends, family, sponsors and Steed Cycles. None of this would happen if I was doing it alone.

See you in 2017.

Corey Grobe

Photo: Jeannine Avelino

Photo: Jackie Dives

The past year will ultimately go down as a year of growth. Plagued with illness, injury, mechanicals & a general lack of preparation (physically & mentally) throughout the year, it made for some lacklustre race day performances. Many lessons on ‘how not to do it’ will be reflected on over the off season, some of which include the following.

1. Perspective – Don’t loose perspective on why you race. Keep it fun & the mood light. Remember, you’re not getting paid to do this!

2. Perseverance – If you loose perspective, stop having fun, and you’re relatively sane, giving up is a pretty easy route to take… but you will always feel much better if you slog it out to the end, regardless of the result!

3. Stretch – It’s not about how easily you can touch your toes (or knees in my case), but allowing the body to absorb impacts so you don’t tear muscles and soft tissue in a crash… who knew!?

4. Core – Despite my disinterest in core strength exercises and reluctance to admit any supposed benefits, it turns out having a strong core actually matters to a cyclist!  It helps avoid back pain and improves both power transfer & bike handling more than I could have ever been anticipated… damn! #plankssuck

The best part of bike racing is that, no matter the outcome, it’s always a blast.  It definitely helps when the cycling community here in BC is an outstanding group of folks!  And to top it off, the Steed Cycles family is such an amazingly supportive & inclusive team.  With the continual presence of contagious smiles and good natured heckling, you can never take anything too seriously!

Natalia Mulekova

Photo: Corey Grobe

Photo: J. Lissimore

This years cycling season was diverse, exceptionally long and, as always, challenging. I ventured into the new territory of mountain bike racing that started in early March, built upon last years experience of road racing throughout the summer, took part in my first time trial, transitioned into long-awaited cyclocross in the fall and topped it off with some new-to-me track. I came to realize towards the end of the season that my biggest achievement was not the race results or kilometres covered by bike, but the notion of feeling as chipper, motivated and excited to ride my bike now in the midst of frosty December as I was back in muddy March. Who says it is a ski season?…I still want to rip bikes in the woods.

Cyclocross was undoubtedly the highlight of the year. Belgian mud, pouring rain and good old race battles will not be forgotten any time soon. The support of the team and friends that became one and the same this year was outstanding.

Some of the race results this year included

3rd – cat.3 – BC Provincial Time Trial Championships

6th – cat.3 – BC Provincial Road Championships

5th – 30-34 Female – Test of Metal XC

5th – 30-39 Masters – Canada Cup XCO

4th – Vanier Park – CX

6th – Queens Park CX

6th – Junkyard Cross CX

5th – Donkey Cross – Castle Park CX

3rd – Valley Cross – Cultus lake CX

5th – Pumpkin Cross CX

6th – Aldergrove CX

6th – BC Provincial Cyclocross Championships

 Kevin Owens

Provincial Road Championships

Provincial Road Championships

The end of another season of cycling with the best team in town and I even managed to build on my crash streak, taking it into a second year.  This year I focused on upgrading from road rash to collar bone break and pretty much nailed it by the middle of the season when, apparently, it was all starting to get a bit too much fun.  Nonetheless, 2016 was a super fun season with a great team that notched some awesome results.

Highlights of the season were the Provincial Road Race Championships on a super fun course and getting back on the bike in time for the end of season RBC GranFondo Whistler.

Lindsay von Bloedau


Photo: Keith Ng

My road season this year can best be described as “brief”. I wasn’t planning to do much road racing beyond the local Tuesday night races; however, in the end I couldn’t resist doing Super Week. My appearance at Gastown Grand Prix lasted approximately 11 minutes, but I managed to (partially) redeem myself by picking up a couple of primes in the Cat 3/4 PoCo Grand Prix later in the week.


Photo: Robert de Rot

I raced Intermediate for CX this year and was firmly (perhaps validly) categorized as a sandbagger by the end of it. I did almost all of the local races  and managed to scrape together enough points for a win in the Premier Series and second in the VCXC Series. The highlights of the season for me were the two wins at Valley Cross, while the most memorable race was definitely Provincials (I just got the feeling back in my toes!), which was also my first time racing Elite.

Photo: Robert de Rot

Anna Pettersen

Photo: Corey Grobe

I had tons of fun riding with such an amazing group of team mates at Steed this year. Leading the ride club groups at the start of the season was a blast, especially seeing the jump in fitness that the members accomplished by the end of the summer.

Unfortunately my race season was cut short after my second event in Whistler where I suffered some tearing in my calf muscle. I’m especially sad I missed the Provincials in Squamish that our team put so much hard work into hosting this year.

I’ve just started running again and I can’t wait to get back out on my bike in 2017!

Shawn Pettersen

Hunter Lowden

Hunter Lowden

photo: Matt Lazzarotto

2016 was a different year for me as I tried to balance work, a young family, and riding. My focus shifted a bit from weekly crit racing to two specific road race events. Goal number one was to get a Steed Team rider on the podium for the Master’s Provincial champs, and goal two was to perform well at the inaugural Americas Masters Games road race.

After a recon ride of the provincial road race course the team had a rough strategy for how the races would unfold (for our Cat 3, and Masters groups). Steve was on great form all season, so it was amazing to see him execute the strategy to perfection and take the win!

The Americas Masters Games was towards the end of August which helped me get more kilometres in over the summer. I had covered the Camosun St hill section numerous times over the summer to try to get a feel for any nuances as it would likely be a significant section of the race.

On the day of the race, the peloton was greeted by low cloud and mist, and a noticeable Easterly wind. This would make the long section down UBC highway a little more interesting.The masters group had many age groups racing together, which changes the tactics slightly from normal Cat racing, so it was harder to ‘play’ the racing game as it wasn’t just about shop teams! Every time a rider attacked, it was important to analyze how strong they were with respect to the group, how many team members were in the group, what age category they were in, and how many people were interested in bringing him back… Chasing back a break when you don’t have team mates to work for isn’t that gratifying, so I took a page from Dan’s racing repertoire and attacked more than I usually would (‘it’s more fun to be the hammer than the nail’). Coming into the last lap, the group had fragmented and I found myself in a small group at the front of the race. After quickly checking who was who, I realized that I was now the only person left in my age group. I worked hard to stay with the attacks until the finish, but eased off the back coming into the final corner as there was little point of banging bars to the finish when it was not going to positively effect my race. It was a great event to participate in, and I was happy to win my age group.

I’m looking forward to 2017, and have taken some advice from Eric on how he manages to get so many kilometres in with family so I plan on putting that to good use!

Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones

Photo: Jeannine Avelino

The 2016 CX series marks my 16th year of racing cyclocross. It was an amazing season after enduring some health issues last season and into most of this year. I was happy when things turned around just in time for CX training.

The Steed team is absolutely amazing and it is a pleasure to know each team member. Everyone is incredibly supportive and driven to achieve their own goals and goals of the team. The season wouldn’t be the same without them. Big thanks to Steed Cycles for their support and for making the team possible.

I am so excited to see so many new faces joining the sport and especially excited to have so many new women in the elite field. I love to see so many people enjoying the sport that I hold dear.

I am especially proud to finish in the lead of the VCXC series in the Elite women’s field. Finishing as the most consistent rider means a lot when I wasn’t sure I would be able to race. My favorite races this season include the classic Moor Cross in Redmond, Washington. We had an amazing day prior to the race exploring Redmond via bicycle. The weather was beautiful sunshine and this course never disappoints. I also loved the Valley Cross Cultus lake course which is well suited to my skills, flat and twisty. I always love a good sand section! I also enjoyed the challenges of the Aldergrove course this year. Big thanks to everyone that put on a race this year making the season amazing.


Race Results:

4th Fort Langley Classic

4th Donkey Cross

1st MFG – Moor Cross

3rd Vanier CX

2nd Queens CX

3rd Junkyard Dog CX

1st Valley Cross – Cultus Lake

3rd Pumpkin CX

3rd Cross Border Clash

3rd Aldergrove CX

3rd Valley Cross – Mill Lake


John Ramsden / Blake Ramsden

I started the year riding the Spring Classics in Europe – excellent ride in the Paris Roubaix Sportif to finish 170 k in a respectable time.

John finishes the High Cascades 100 in Bend Oregon again with a respectable time!

Blake went on to race most of the NSMB Fivers usually finishing top 10.

He then did the BC Bike Race finishing 14 overall. Amazing result!

John Ramsden

David Gordon

David Gordon

This year was my first season riding for the #SteedGreenMachine, and what a year it’s been. I came in to the year with some pretty big goals, perhaps a little too big in hindsight. Aim for the stars, right?

MTB Results:

•Bear Mountain Canada Cup – 26th (puncture & mechanical)

•Vedder Classic TechC- Not sure on the result but I’m sure I had more fun that everyone else 🙂

•Nimby50 – 13th overall

•JunkYard Dog XCO – 3rd mens elite

•Test of Metal – Concussion

A winter of slogging through the slush with Greg, Corey and the Natasha’s seemed to pay off pretty well with some good results early on. First race of the season was also my first ever UCI race (Cat 2). I had no idea what to expect going in to the race, and it felt pretty crazy sharing a start line with some past, current (and probably soon to be) Olympic and World Cup riders. Pretty much my only goal for this race was to not get lapped, and I almost made it!

I was really looking forward to the Vedder, I had ridden some of those trails before and knew that the Valley crew would put on a good show. Unfortunately I had a couple of weeks travelling with work before this, so my legs did not put on such a good show!

Onwards to Nimby50 and I had a bit of time to recharge the legs. I snuck in a quick sunny pre-ride with Tasha the week before and immediately understood why everyone raved about this race so much. Proper BC trails, with a brute of a climb in the middle. Apparently the previous year was 30+deg, but this year it was a wet and chilly 4deg! I think this played in my favour a bit, as I tend to overheat on the hot days, and who doesn’t love getting wild on wet rocks? Looking back I’m pretty lucky I managed to get home in one piece, but I ended up crossing the line in 2hrs30min which I was pretty happy with.

Test of Metal was my ‘A’ race for this year. This was the final edition of this iconic BC race, and I wanted a good result. Unfortunately the ToM had other plans; somehow I ended up crashing on probably the easiest section of trail on the course, exploding my helmet and picking up a concussion. But hey, at least the bike was ok!

Photo: Jeannine Avelino

Cross results:

•Aldor Acres – 8th

•Castle Cross – 9th

•JunkYard Cross – 5th

•Pumpkin Cross – 5th

•Cross on the Rock Nanaimo – no idea where I finished but it was a sweet race

•Mill Park Valley Cross – 3rd

•Steed BC CX Provincials – erm….

I love the ‘cross scene here in Vancouver, and we are pretty spoilt to have options to race pretty much every weekend from September through to December. Highlights of the season included riding the ridiculous third run-up at Castle Cross, leading Craig for half a lap at JYD, dressing up as peter pan at Pumpkin cross and getting my highest placing at Valley Cross. Highlights did not include this: but I was having an excellent time up until that point! Shout out to Dan and Paul (and all of the Steed crew) for putting on such an awesome event despite the horrific conditions in Squamish that day!

I have learned a lot this year, and I’m already looking forward to some new events and old classics next year.

Carey Mark


Have to say, it was my best season yet. I focused mostly on mountain biking and cycle cross, got away from the road bike, just due to time, family and all the in betweens. Sometimes the biggest race is keeping up with it all.

This year I felt so fortunate to have the Island Cup XC series in my back yard,  amazing trail, and the best riding friends. I finished 1st overall in the IC Series 2016, even though I missed the final to take my son to his last lacrosse tourney game. (It was a plea from him to win MVP,  or go to my race. He won!)


Onto the marathon races, starting with the Coal Town Classic, Gear Jammer and the final Test of Metal. I placed second, first and third, respectively, with great competition surrounding me. Really felt like my social rides on the enduro bike, my race to train opportunities, and overall experience, pulled together. I also accumulated a couple black eyes, a broken thumb and a few (8) stitches that toughened me up and gave me some resilience for a long season.

Throughout the spring, I threw in a few more races, like the Bear Mountain (11th)and Whistler Canada Cups (4th) to gather a few UCI points. I had an amazing XC season.

img_8813After a short summer hiatus from racing, I bounced into the Cross on the Rock series for cyclocross. (Biggest CX series in Canada). I placed 1st overall in the series, with a 1st place finish at every race. Perfect score! Naturally, I was super stoked to take part in the last race of my year, BC Provincials in Squamish, where I placed 3rd overall woman!

Now for some R&R, (rest and repeat!!) Ready to come in blazing for 2017!