Wednesday, October 22, 2008

East Meets (South) West

So Sunday was the "East (Ottawa) meets South (Toronto area) 'cross race" in Kingston. I was looking forward to the course, since it was a fun one last year! Also because Steve and Carolin were going to be there, and Jamie was racing! I got there in plenty of time to watch the first race go off, and watched some of the carnage on the 'terraced' section, which has some nasty tight corners and steep downhills, just like last year. As I was wandering around the course, I heard someone yell my name--it was WATSON! He was up from Barrie to contest the race--one of the favorites. I chatted with him a bit, and showed him a few of the gotchas on the course (especially the uphill barrier on a 180 off-camber after a downhill which was hidden behind a stump and (ideally) required a right-side dismount).

Jamie, Steve and Carolin all rolled in shortly before our race, and by that time I'd already ridden a warmup lap. The course was much the same as last year, although the 'pop-up/jump' from last year was removed, one of the terraced sections was eliminated, and an extra stair run-up was added. The finish was a bit different, with a tricky off-camber corner with a big rutt running perpendicular if you got on a bad line. Tricky!

The race started with a big group, and I was well in the rear right off the gun. The pace was INSANE right from the start, so I ended up well back before we even got going...and would pretty much remain there the entire race. I slipped up on the terraced section on the first lap and went down (actually not even sure what happened--I was clear of the corner already, and went down on the straight!) and lost a few more places. The laps were long (2.5kms) so by the 4th lap, the leaders came by me (wow.. brutal!) and I noticed that Watson was in 4th place (later turns out he was probably 3rd, and there was a lapped rider in between). I yelled at him to catch up, since he was not far behind the lead pair of Osmond Bakker and Derrick St. John. I rode a very consistent race, with lap times of 5:32 (modified first lap), 10:14, 10:08, 10:11, 10:12, 10:08, and 10:08 (yes, apparently I did 3 laps all exactly the same to the second, and all the others within a 6 second range.. go figure). Too bad I wasn't just consistently FASTER! :-Þ

Overall, not my best race, but a super-fun course, and a really competitive group (Watson ended up third, behind Bakker and St. John, and ahead of Fillion and Morse--what a field!) Read Andrew's full account of the race here, spend hours looking through over 1000 photos, and check out the full results on this page (if you scroll waaaaay down, you'll see me!)

You may wonder why I made no mention of Shawn or Keli this week, and that's because Shawn was off kicking ass and taking names, winning Quebec Cyclocross Provincials!!! CONGRATS to Shawn! You can read all about his weekend here.

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