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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.

 

CX Provincial Championships!

October 21st, 2012 :: By Kim Steed

This past Sunday  Atomic Racing / Speed Theory put on the Provincial Cyclocross Championships at Mahon Park; god knows how they managed to put a 3km race course together in such a small park!  Being late October this was the fourth cyclocross race of the season for me, and for some it was their first since last season. What made this event different for me was the weather; it was WET! Lucky for us the weather has been consistently dry for months and to be forced to ride in the rain felt like a new experience again. I know, I know, we are a spoiled lot, but it was the first time since last  season I was racing and not able to brake or shift properly due to the icy cold spray of water running into my gloves.

Sitting at the start line with butterflies flapping their wings. Photo- Amir Shahrastani

My race was the 40-49 Masters age group which I believe ended up being the largest group consisting of 43 racers. When the starting whistle was blown we followed the gravel track along the first third of the loop until it veered into a hairpin turn breaking up the massive group. Because I had registered so close to the event I ended up being buried at the back of this crowd and had to slither my way through the elbow to elbow crusty old crew to get to the front.

Norm Thiebault from Nanaimo puts the hammer down on Kim Steed through the barrier section of the muddy race course.
Photo- Amir Shahrastani

Lucky for me I was custom made for this course for two reasons. 1. I have spent over 20 years mountain biking on the north shore in the slickest mud and have learned to manoeuvre, slide and balance my way through it without a removed spleen thus far. 2. I live three blocks from Mahon Park and have ridden here enough to know the lines that were to be used in this race and practiced like a true cyclocross nerd on many mornings.

One of the features of the race course, forced you to dismount and run around the concrete structure and up the stairs. -Photo Amir Shahrastani

Once I got up into third place behind Bob Welbourn and Norm Thibault I planted myself on Norm’s wheel, thrilled I had been able to catch up to the leaders in less than a lap! My happiness turned to fear not long after the second lap as I slowly lost the feeling in my fingers and was having a real challenge shifting and braking into all the corners and up the short gut wrenching lumps of earth, I’ll call the hills. I duked it out with Norm for  several laps and even had at least a couple of pedal stokes in first place until I skidded into a bush on a corner and Bob and Norm blew past me.

Bad Luck. Shawn Pettersen’s front tire came unglued. -Photo Amir Shahrastani

One lap to go I made a few stupid mistakes and couldn’t regain composure… Damn! Can’t complain though, third place at Provincials is pretty SWEET! A bunch of guys had technical issues that cost them the race, like Shawn Pettersen. Shawn’s front tire blew off the rim when the glue let go in a corner and he was pretty stoked about it. If you don’t believe it was cold, Mike Murphy literally got hypothermia and bailed out to warm up and refrain from having to go home in an ambulance. No jokes.

Kelly Jones ripping through the mud. Note: she isn’t even touching her brake levers down the hill. -Photo Amir Shahrestani

All was good in the end though and I think everyone had a good time. For all the results go to Atomic Racing’s Website

Despite the cold, wet, muddy conditions, cyclocross is a great time! Just ask me and I’ll tell you. Photo- Warwick Patterson