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Cyclocross Clinic: Learn to Race

Clinic Hosted By: Steed Cycles Cyclocross Team

When: This year we are offering two clinic dates to meet the demand.
Sunday August 20th and Sunday August 27th, 7:30-9:00 am

Lion’s Cross

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.

tessa-and-kelly

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.

Lion Cross 2013

What an awesome battle! Thanks Maggie! I hope cyclocross gives you as much as it has given me.

 

Wheels Keep Turning

The wheels keep rolling here in Vancouver.  After the last few weeks of bad rain and muddy conditions the dry snap has finally hit. The ground has become hard and the moisture has evaporated. What does this mean? Fast Cyclocross racing!!!!! After the last Double header weekend in Vancouver and the tiredness I felt in Vanier Park it was time to rest for the week after and regroup in terms of how I was riding. I know I still have the confidence but was feeling run down a bit. The training has taken a new direction now. I needed a bit more speed and some more intensity if I was going to step up to Master 1-2.

Roll on another Double header in Vancouver. Saturday would see LionCross at Port Coquitlam (which was the site of my first ever CX win in Vancouver) and Sunday at Mahon Park (The park at the bottom of my street). After finishing 5th in Vanier I was one point short of moving up so knew I had to get a Top 8 this week to get the 20 points I need. Saturday morning seen me make the trip out to Port Coquitlam for Round 4 of the Super Prestige. The course had changed a bit from last year but still had the major features like the Pea Gravel run through the kids playground, the off camber and the tight twisty up and downs. They added on a few more twisty bits and after a few warm up laps I knew it would suit me. I was still feeling a bit tired but knew I could ride well with Steve supporting me. By now Steve has learned the ways of CX and knows that you need a good start and have to be a bit aggressive.

The gun went off and we all rushed away. Usually I go to the front and try go off hard but this time I let somebody else do the work. I sat in 2nd place with Steve just behind me. As we approached the first off camber I passed the leader and Steve followed. I wanted to get in there first to be safe. Once we got out the other side I looked back and Steve was the only rider with me. I didnt want to go too early and blow up so I kept it steady for the next lap or so. Once we had a small gap we pushed a bit more. I was riding well and felt good. As we came onto the last lap I looked across at Steve and we both wished each other ‘Good Luck’ and put the hammer down. I know my strengths and Steves so I upped the tempo leading into the flat fast part so he couldnt ride around me and then really pushed it through the techy bits. As we hit the barriers I tried to stay smooth and remount quickly. I had a bike length on him and pushed it around the last few turns catching back markers. Out of the last turn I kicked hard to the line and took the win. Two for two at Port Coquitlam haha.

A great start to the weekend for me. And an even better weekend for Steed Cycles with podiums from Kim, Myself, Steve and Kelly.

Sunday morning came around and it was off to Mahon Park. I like the course here as its fast and great for spectators as they can see most of the action from one spot. My awesome wife was on hand to cheer me on with an Irish flag to wave too. I was tired from Saturday and didnt think i would have the legs to be challenging for the win.

My plan was to ride the race at my pace and help Steve to break away. The race kicked off and once again I sat in behind the leaders and opted to watch the race from 3rd place.

As we came around onto the second lap I moved up into 2nd and a small group of 5 of us got away.

Next time over the barriers myself and Steve moved to the front and I controlled the speed from there on.

With 2 laps to go Steve took a spill on a grassy side hill and as I looked across at him he said ‘Hammer It’. I upped the tempo and only one rider managed to stay with me.  I didnt let up and as we came onto the final lap Drew Hemmingson was biting at my heels. As we came off the running track he pushed by me and into the lead. I stuck to his wheel around the mud pit and up the steps.

Coming back onto the final straight I kicked hard and tried to ride around Drew but it just didnt happen. I finished 2nd and was happy with that. I now have 30 points and can move up to Masters 1-2. Next week its Pumpkin Cross and that means Im racing with the Cat 1-2 men also for 1 hour. Lets see how that goes.

As always a huge thanks goes out to Steed Cycles and all the team for the support, Louise for becoming a #cyclocrosswife, Sean Travers for the awesome pictures in Mahon Park and all the other photographers at the races who capture the action for me to relive it.

 

Binab Property Group GP

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.

Rider: Kelly Jones  /   Photo: Scott Robarts

Rider: Kelly Jones / Photo: Scott Robarts

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.