Thanksgiving weekend is almost here, and that means Edmonton is heading in to one of the biggest cyclocross racing weekends of the season; on Saturday, Juventus Cycling Club hosts the Jim Horner Cyclo-cross Grand Prix, followed on Sunday by Red Bike’s 2011 Red Cross cyclocross race. Both of these races will be held at the Argyll Velodrome Park. It is going to be Spectacular.
Especially so, since the Fiera Race Team is off to an excellent start on the Alberta Cyclocross scene, and is currently ranked 6th in the prestigious Alberta Cyclocorss Cup. In this competition, racers in all categories earn points for their team by placing in the top 8. Here is a quick summary of how the Cyclocross Cup competition has unfolded so far:
In the opening weekend of racing, Jan Plavec pulled off an impressive 4th place at the season opener, the School of Cross, in his first race in the Expert Category. While teammate Darren McGregor also showed great early season conditioning by placing 4th in the Sport Category. Shari Clare raced in the Open Women Category, and held her own against the provinces best for most of the first lap, then fell back into the dead zone finishing in 7th place. The Hop ‘n Hurl cyclocross race was held the next day, and was contested again by Jan Plavec who placed 5th in Expert, Darren McGregor who placed 6th in Sport, and Lesley Baldwin who placed 6th in Open Women. At the end of the weekend Fiera Race Team had earned 48 points and were ranked 4th in the province.
The following weekend’s Cyclocross Cup race was the Cross for Kids, in Calgary. Jan was busy racing in a running event, so it was left up to the other Fiera Racers to bring back as many points as possible. Lesley Baldwin did not let us down, she put on an awesome performance in dramatic fashion, coming from way back and systematically reeling in her competition to finish an outstanding 5th against Alberta’s best in the Open Women’s category. Though there were some valiant efforts; particularly from Darren McGregor who was upgraded from the Sport and still managed a top 10 finish in Expert; Shari Clare, who finished 10th in Open Women; and from Derek Mackenzie, who earned 11th place, in Sport; we fell from 4th down to 6th in the standings, but are still in range, and on the hunt for a podium finish.
Other Fiera racers out suffering on the Cyclocross circuit include Cory Boddy, Robbi Bonin, Ryan Johnson, Lenka Plavcova, Patric Kong, Joe Litke, and Keegan Brooks.
So what’s going to happen this weekend? Well the good news, is that we expect both Jan and Lesley to be racing, and that alone should help us to hold on to our 6th place spot, if not move up. I predict 40 points for Fiera by the end of the weekend, and back in 4th place overall. Darren will not be racing, so it will be up to Jan and Joe to bring in any available Expert points; I predict 20 points between them. Derek was close to earning points last weekend, so I predict that he will have a breakthrough performance, and earn his first 8 Sport points of the season. Shari has a faster start than Lesley, who seems to take a lap or two to get wound up. If Lesley can work with Shari for the first couple of laps on Saturday, hopefully she will have less work to do in the later part of the race – I predict Lesley and Shari earning at least 12 points between them by Turkey Monday.
Information about the races this weekend, and full series results are available at www.albertabicycle.ab.ca.