By Jan Plavec
Another great cyclocross weekend has passed. During the week it seemed that we would be forced to dig upgrades points from the snow but eventually it was a nice and sunny event with a possibility to drink beer in the sunshine.
On Saturday only three guys out of about 40 racers that started in the Sport category showed how desperately they needed points and that they really didn’t want to go to Red Deer to get them. They included me, Josh Hines and Aaron Falkenberg. From previous races I knew Josh and Aaron as tough guys. Especially Josh gave me hard time on the flats (actually he kicked my ass). Fortunately Saturday’s course was one of my favorite ones and I took advantage of short sprints both on the flats and in the small hills while Josh sent me easily backward on the long start/finish flat section. Aaron lost ground on the start, but was approaching from the third spot which motivated me not to slow down as there were not enough points for the 3rd position for me to achieve an upgrade to Expert. Actually Joe, the general manager of the team, made it clear before the race: Either I win and make it to Expert by November or I will be traded to Ontario to wash muddy jerseys and trempé de sueur chamois of more successful teammates. With image of sweaty Ontario pants in my mind I gave everything out, made small gap and finally fulfilled my dream from childhood to win Brian Kullman Memorial in Calgary in Sport category. Having earned these bloody fourteen points I had not much left in my legs for Sunday; the course was too tricky for me too, so I had hard time in the first half. But then my fans, Joe, Dave and Bridget pushed me again to my favourite heart-rate, 250 bpm, and I managed to fight for second place in the last meters however unsuccessfully.
In Experts Joe confirmed his outstanding start skills when he left behind almost the entire field in the first meters of the race. Specifically on Sunday he made even a solid gap chasing the leader and future winner of the event. Then he used this position as a base for fighting for the top ten. However it hasn’t come yet but there is a considerable improvement (about ten spots) from the beginning of the season.
Regarding Fiera-affiliated racers: In women Bridget (Hardcore Bikes) played again a main role. Especially on Saturday when she managed to recover from a fall that happened at the beginning of the race and then she made it with deformed handlebars from the tenth place to the win. She also had to defend the honour of cyclocross against a top national road racer. Bridget resisted her brutal attacks coming each lap on the finish/start flat and got revenge in the technical sections.
The Elite men’s race was very spectacular both days as courses offered respectable climbs that I wasn’t even able to ride being fresh in the pre-ride and that Dave climbed successfully ten times during the cruel one hour torturing. Considering that he has the same tires as me the problem must be somewhere else on my side. It could be in the helmet I guess… Anyway Dave took advantage from it and got both days ninth place.
So the closing of the season was sweet. Even the traveling to Calgary wasn’t too bad thanks to Joe who arranged accommodation and transport and kept my mind fresh telling real Canadian stories about jumping into bear’s den and squirrels with collars.
Official results are here.