After the huge success of the Female #steedgreenmachine the guys had some stiff competition to get podium spots. Once again returning members to the team loved the injection of new talent and the team spirit was high at all the events. Catch up with all the boys below.
Race #1 _ VCXC _ Alder Acres _ September 5, 2015 (29th/53 _ Intermediate B)
I was full of built up anticipation for the first cross race of the season as we pulled into Alder Acres Farm. Lots of preparation and training had been done over the summer. The day felt hot and humid. The anxious excitement of fellow racers only added to the self-induced pressure I was feeling, as this was also my first race with the Steed Cycles cyclocross team. The course was generally fast with a few power sections, but kept things interesting with a long & steep climb, tight downhill switchbacks, a huge mud puddle and a tight and twisty section through the trees.
The race started off well, other than going too hard into the first corner, sliding out on the gravel. However, after a couple of laps the wheels completely fell off (not literally… I would have welcomed a mechanical to put me out of my misery). Each consecutive lap became more and more painful. By the 4th lap I decided I would run the hill instead of riding it. This turned out to be a terrible decision. I had no strength to run the hill and had to resort to a slow, laboured walk, loosing several seconds. After the climb the legs got a rest, but the breaking down the switchbacks with poorly setup canti’s left my arms pumped and exhausted. Passing the start/finish line for what seemed like the hundredth time, I heard the sweet sound of the bell and gave up a small prayer of thanks to the ‘cross gods’. Eventually making it back around the course to the finish line, I slowly rolled to the grassy edge and laid down for a few minutes to catch my breath and reflect… To say I was a little worried about how the rest of the season would unfold was an extreme understatement.
Race #2 _ VCXC _ Burnaby Foreshore _ September 20, 2015 (11th/69 _ Intermediate B)
Since the wheels completely fell off at Alder Acres, there were 2 significant differences coming into Foreshore Park. The first was that, although the course has a significant sand portion, it essentially has no elevation change which meant no hills to slog up. The second difference was that I had replaced my heavy, cheap clincher style wheels with some ‘new-to-me’ carbon wheels decked out with some Specialized Terra tubular tires. The improvements gained by going with a lightweight tubular setup in both handling and speed are astounding. I didn’t have a great call up due to my previous lackluster performance and started very near the back of the narrow starting grid. I made good progress on the first lap, battling past as many people as possible with the elbows out. I really enjoyed this course and there were a number of spots where I found I could move up through the field quickly. The log hop offered a great passing opportunity, as did the large sand pit. With only a couple laps to go I was able to bridge up to Brett (theholeshot.ca), who would prove to be my closest competition throughout the season. I ended up finishing 11th and felt really strong throughout the race.
Race #3 _ BCP _ Whistler CX (Day 2) _ September 27, 2015 (DNF _ Intermediate B)
The horror stories leading into Whistler from people who had raced it last year, combined with my pre-ride of the rough & rocky course, prompted me to forgo using my tubular wheels in favour of the old clincher setup. This probably wasn’t required, but it gave me some piece of mind and since I was planning on running fairly high pressure anyways, I wasn’t too concerned about a pinch flat. The start was great, and quickly tucked into 2nd wheel up the first wet climb. Coming down the first hill into the barriers I managed to drop my chain… shoot! The chain refused to pop back on through shifting and so I jumped off my bike, letting most of the pack past and I scrambled to reset the chain. With the chain back on and my adrenaline/panic through the roof, I chased hard to regain the many spots I lost. By the start of the second lap I had regained most of ground I lost and was back in the top 10, but I was exhausted from the effort. Back down the hill to the barriers. Dropped chain again… Chase, chase chase… halfway through the 2nd lap, another dropped chain! In a moment of frustration and exhaustion I ducked under the course tape and sat on the grass. In hindsight, I should have used different gearing on the bumpy descents to increase chain tension. I also could have soft pedalled around for the last laps just to finish to avoid DNF status. Oh, well…
Race #4 _ VCXC _ Rodeo CX _ October 3, 2015 (9th/52 _ Intermediate B)
It was another unseasonably hot day out in Cloverdale. I was eager to redeem myself after Whistler’s disappointing result. I surprisingly got a call up that put me in the front row. The tubulars were back on and I was in my new Steed skinsuit… This was going to be a better day! I clipped in quick and was able to grab to coveted ‘holeshot’. I may have gotten a tad over excited and was pinned for the entire first lap. Even the kids were yelling at me to pace myself. Coming into the second lap, I started to slow, my body screaming for a moment of recovery. Almost instantly three guys flew past me. The entire second lap was a lesson in the consequences of going out too hard. By the third lap I found a rhythm and a couple other racers to pace off of. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful and I was able to hang on for a 9th place finish – my first top 10 in the Intermediate category. More hard lessons learned, but at least a successful result!
Race #5 _ VCXC/BCP _ Vanier Park _ October 4, 2015 (16th/76 _ Intermediate B)
Vanier Park was a testament to punctuality for me. Prior to the start of my race I had helped out with the kids race. Thinking there was still plenty of time before my race I headed out on the course for a warm up lap as soon as the kids race was complete. Halfway through the course a volunteer told me that I had about 7 minutes to get to the start line. Seconds after, I have a view down to the start line and low-and-behold everyone has already begun staging. I quickly ducked under the tape and raced down to the back of the starting grid not even 30 seconds before the start of the race. Great. The first lap was all about patience. With so many racers, it would take a long time to move up through the pack. Heading into the second lap, I had made up a lot of positions, but was still over a minute down on the leaders. The entire race was spent at lung busting levels of exertion trying to move past other racers. With one last effort I was able to catch the last racer in my crosshairs, promptly collapsing onto the grass after the crossing the line with a satisfying 16th place finish.
Race #6 _ VCXC _ Queens Park _ October 10, 2015 (3rd/47 _ Intermediate B)
Finally a slick course with rain! If there was ever a course suited to me riding style, it was this one. Tight and twisty with a slick, off-camber descent and a short punchy climb. I started in the second row but was able to squeeze up into 6th wheel in the first couple of corners. A couple crashes by fellow racers later and I was able to move into 4th position, however, by that time, the first three guys were out of sight and I had all but accepted a 4th place finish. Then, with only a couple laps to go, I caught sight of 3rd place up ahead. The chase was on! On the muddy descent I had an unfortunate wipeout with Jake and had to scramble to get back on the bike and continue chasing. On the final lap I had closed the gap to within about 10 bike lengths. Descend the muddy, off-camber hill and hard up the paved portion of the climb. The gap was then down to 3 bike lengths. One more turn, then one final attack before squeezing past a large group of lapped riders. Finishing 3rd on such a fun course surpassed my season goal of a single top 5 finish.
Race #7 _ COTR _ Topaz Park _ October 12, 2015 (14th/77 _ Intermediate B)
This race was my first ‘cross excursion on the island and was nicely combined with a family visit for Thanksgiving. In fact, it was the first time my mom, aunt & uncle were able to see Natalia and I race. I would describe this course as “greasy pleasure”. As a guest to the COTR scene I started at the back of the start grid. There were no expectations other than to have fun… And have fun I did! The slippery course demanded close attention in the corners, off camber sections, even on the straights! Despite the concentration required, the thrill of sliding around all over the course left a giggling grin as a permanent fixture on my face. I also want to acknowledge my amazing wife’s achievement at this race. Having only started cross racing last year she had already moved up to the Elite category this season. She managed to pull off a 2nd place finish, out of 11, with an amazing battle for 1st place for the duration of her race. Congrats Nat!
Race #8 _ VCXC _ Mahon Park (Atomic Superprestige) _ October 18, 2015 (2nd/57 _ Intermediate B)
Last season I won my first cyclocross race in the Beginner group at Mahon Park and the race was going to be a great test to see how far I had progressed over the last year. The race started with the holeshot win. I was able to maintain the lead position up until the barriers where the first of a few bobbles occurred. The eventual winner was able to push past me after masterfully hopping the barriers. Luckily Mahon doesn’t over plentiful passing opportunities and a few of us got a sizeable gap over the rest of the pack. As racers dropped of the lead group I was able to maintain my position in second. Unfortunately with a couple laps to go a series of nervous errors caused the gap to first to grow to a few bike lengths… then about 50. I came on to the finishing straight alone in second place, disappointed in a less than perfect race, but very pleased at the progress.
Race #9 _ EV/DEVO _ Castle Cross _ October 25, 2015 (9th/40 _ Intermediate B)
Castle Cross hurt! Even the slow warmup/reconnaissance laps hurt! Sure, some of that pain could be attributed to the mountaineering adventure from the day before, but nobody was going to make it through the day without some serious suffering! I had a good start into third spot, which rapidly started slipping before the end of the first lap. Thankfully, my good initial start allowed me to bleed positions, ultimately finishing in an exhausting 9th spot.
Race #10 _ BCP _ Pumpkin Cross _ November 1, 2015 (9th/38 _ Intermediate B)
This was about as close to ‘Belgium conditions’ as I could imagine a cross race to be… Cold, wet, and THICK mud that covered every inch of the course that had started the day out as grass. I, like many others, forgoed any warmup in favour of staying huddled in the team tent. The race started like many others, moving quickly through the field to settle in near the front of the race. That energy was short lived however, and it quickly felt like I was towing tractor tire behind my bike. Unable to maintain the power output of even a small child, this sufferfest became more of a test of mental resilience in an effort to limit my losses. I can only attribute the top 10 finish to the aero helmet I wore as part of my triathlete costume.
Race #11 _ COTR _ Kona Kup _ November 7, 2015 (8th/62 _ Intermediate B)
The first of the Island double header this year. We rode to the park from the Departure Bay ferry terminal and were extremely grateful that Brett (theholeshot.ca) was there with his family and personal tent to give us some shelter from the elements. Brett and I were called up beside each other about four rows back on the grid. When the start gun went I saw Moses (aka Brett) part the sea of riders ahead and move to the front. My effort to follow was thwarted by others attempting the same. The muddy, slick conditions did suit me, and I was ultimately able to make it to the finish in 8th and congratulate Brett on an incredible win.
Race #12 _ COTR _ My Little Pony CX _ November 8, 2015 (1st/65 _ Intermediate B)
Well rested and clean, thanks to the hospitality of Carey & Justin Mark, this second race started much the same as it had the day before with Brett and I lined up side by side in the third row. Taking the outside line off the start, I was able to move into the top 5 by the time we reached the end of the asphalt. This group got a large gap early on the rest of the field and slowly shrunk with each passing lap as riders succumbed to the slick conditions. With 2 laps to go the leader crashed as we exited the ‘vortex’. Being the sportsman I am, I attacked quickly putting enough daylight between us to crush any hopes the poor kid had of a victory. I crossed the finish line amongst cheers and confusion, with the time keepers shouting “one more lap!”. Frustrated, I obliged and pressed on, only to be stopped halfway through the lap by compassionate spectators that had run across the course to inform me of the mix up. Despite the lackluster win, I had achieved a goal that I had reserved for the 2016 season!
Race #13 _ MFG _ Subaru CycloCup (Day 1) _ November 14, 2015 (Last not lapped _ Cat 3 Men)
Owen, Cody, Tasha, Nat, Mark & I headed down to Seattle for what would be my first glimpse of both the US racing scene and an official UCI cross race. Surprisingly I was second call up. Off the start I opened up a huge gap on the rest of the pack. I decided to settle in even before the first corner, but still seemed to maintain the gap for the first few corners, despite the early warning signs that something was wrong. As we approached the crazy steep, muddy run up and everything fell apart almost instantaneously. My chest seized up and I began struggling for air. By the top of the climb the first couple guys had passed me. Mildly freaked out, I tried to calm down and recover on the back half of the course, but to no avail. Every time I put power to the pedals my chest would fill with phlegm. As I slowly dropped further and further down the pack, my new mission was only to finish the race on the lead lap. It was almost as good as winning, making it over that line with one lap to go and the leaders in view behind me.
Race #14 _ MFG _ Subaru CycloCup (Day 2) _ November 15, 2015 (DNS)
After Saturday’s performance I decided it was in my best interest to hang the bike up for the day and just try and stay warm as I cheered on my teammates. The sun did come out in the late morning and the course looked amazing as it started to dry out a bit. Nat was given permission to race in the UCI Elite Women’s race on Sunday, which allowed her to race against the likes of Katerina Nash, Caroline Mani, Elle Anderson & Mikal Dyck, amongst many other incredibly talented women. After her commanding win of the Cat 3 Women’s race before this was definitely an eye opener! But she finished in a very respectable 23rd, a few minutes down on the winner, Katerina.
Race #15 _ BC Provincials _ November 29, 2015 (-1 Lap, 20th/27 _ Elite Men)
As Steed Cycles was the primary sponsor for the Provincial Championships this year, I had the extremely good fortune of participating in this race as both a racer and as support crew alongside my incredible teammates! Having never previously raced for 60 minutes, I was both curious and anxious about how I would hold up. With a backseat call up, mostly unfamiliar competitors and no ambition other than to have a fun race and get lapped by as few people as possible, the start was much more relaxed than normal. Pacing was the name of the game. The support and cheers along the course was fantastic and the atmosphere was electric… especially at the barriers/beer garden! This race was so much fun and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
Thank you Kim and everyone else for your support this year!
2015 was my first year racing with Steed, and although I didn’t get the results I had hoped for it was still a great year of riding. On the road I upgraded to cat 3 midway through the season. I found that racing in cat 3 suited my aggressive style much more than racing in cat 4 and I was able to be much more competitive. I regretted not upgrading sooner as I think I may have had a better road season if I had done so. This was also my first year of racing cyclocross. I raced every single race in the lower mainland, this consistency allowed me to win the BC Premier Series in the Intermediate mens division. This year I rode over 12,000 km’s, climbed over 120,000 metres, and raced 39 races (13 cx and 26 road). I am super thankful for all the support from the team’s sponsors, as well as from my fellow teammates. I’m looking forward to the 2016 season, I plan on riding and racing even more than I did this past year.
Photo 1: Matt Lazzarotto
Photo 2: Masa Higuchi
Photo 3: Scott Robarts
- Overall Winner of BC Premier CX Series cat 4/5
- Whistler – 3rd
- Maple Ridge – 4th
- Abbotsford – 2nd
- Surrey – 4th
- Fort Langley Classic – 3rd
- Foreshore Park – 5th
- Seattle UCI Subaru Series:
- Day 1 – 8th, Day 2 – 7th
- Whistler GranFondo – 53rd in Giro (cat1/2/3)
- 3 Top 10 finishes at Tuesday Nighters
Lots more racing next year including Spring Series, Tuesday Nighters, Penticton Fondo, Valley Fondo, Tour de Victoria, Whistler Fondo, CX season, and more!
All of my focus was on the cross season, mostly the great vcxc series. Of course my highlight of the year was the event and volunteer team you pulled together for Provincials.
VCXC series overall – 4th
Atomic Superprestige – 8th
Queens Park – 5th
Vanier Park – 9th
Cloverdale Rodeo – 6th
Foreshore Park – 4th
Fort Langley – 11th
BC Provincials p/b Steed Cycles – 12th
WTNC – Various “pack fodder” appearances
3 Pistes Cycle Sportive in Scotland
Tour de Delta Cat 3/4 – DNF
Tour de Victoria – 59th (9th in age division)
Organizing the Steed Cycles Ride Club
Highs and Lows
My 2015 season started with the arrival of a new human to the household (high) and for some strange unbeknown reason, a considerable lack of sleep (low). Although, coming to think of it maybe a few (potentially thousands) people did warn me about that. As a result, my early season training consisted of cramming as much pain as possible into my commutes (low) and stretching my legs with the Steed Cycles Ride Club which I was organizing for the second year (high). After getting the legs back up to speed with some riding in Scotland (high) it was time to hit the Tour de Delta following a good showing and a whole ton of fun at the event the previous year. As my favourite event of 2014 I was pumped to take the start line again with a bunch of my teammates and a good block of training behind me (high, but cue the low). With a handful of laps to go I swiftly took out my cycling checklist and scribbled a big, messy tick beside “first pack crash”. I guess I had it coming, what with all the cycling around in circles as fast as possible in glorified underwear. After burying my beloved Giant TCR in the back garden I quickly adopted a shiny new Giant Propel with some help from the team’s amazing sponsors. Coincidently, this was also around the same time I seemed to forget about the crash. It turns out a new bike is way more effective than Advil. The Tour de Victoria was the last main event on my list for the season and I had been looking forward to it all summer. With the child-like excitement of some new carbon, a few weeks of catch-up training and the arrival of a fresh delivery of skin, I managed to put in a good effort alongside some awesome performances from my teammates to sign off on 2015.
Year in Review,
Road, Cross, and Mountain
Favorite was Single Track 6 – Its been awhile since I had this much fun on a Mountain Bike, and I had one day inside the top ten, The Whistler Fondo was a success and of course Cross was Outstanding!!!
Also enjoyed my chance at Sock Doping the team.
I will keep this short and sweet. Some of the highlights this year were passing 15,000 km for year, getting my hands on a Peter Sagan edition S Works Venge frame set and then getting to see him take World Champion in Richmond, Virginia.
My stubborn-ness didn’t allow me the patience to win any races, but my attack during the Whiterock Crit presented by Cressey was definitely one to remember. There is always next year.
On the cyclocross front cohosting provincials with Paul McCarthy in Squamish was a personal highlight as it reminds me of the past when I used to host BC Cup DH races.
Looking forward to a more balanced year and more focus on fun than stressing over attempting to win. As obviously stressing over winning clearly got me nowhere near the podium.
See you on the Tarmac.