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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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