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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fifteen and Four

An epic weekend of racing!

Saturday - Children of the Corn Cross at Sluggett Farm

What an epic affair! This was the most 'authentic' cyclocross i think we've ever seen on the island.

Mud. So much mud. Rain. Cold.

It also started very poorly for me - i did a pre-ride lap (damn thing too nearly 15 minutes!) After, went back to the car to put on my race shoes and fresh socks (soaked).

I'm geared up, heading back, a few other riders are changing as well.. I am just about to the course, and i hear the siren go - the START siren! Gah!

The race started about 200m up from the lap/finish point, which is about where i was...shit!! I get on the course and immediately start chasing - this sucks!! The course starts in the grass with a long straight stretch and a smooth, wide corner, some twists and barriers. I'm about 500m in and i'm starting to catch the trailers..well, that's two down out of almost 30! After the barriers is a short, very twisty wooded section, i'm just about on the back of the pack, and am there as we come out to a muddy section that leads back to the grass....i get by another person struggling.

Once on the grass, it's the longest straight on the course, i gun it, pass another 3-4 riders, and then we turn and hit thicker mud...it's rideable the first lap, but not after..  This leads to the creek crossing - it's over a foot deep, and over a meter wide!! Feet wet again. Yip.

It's a pretty steep scramble to the top in slippery mud...then an uphill stretch with several more shallow crossings...one seems perfect for sucking in a 'cross wheel... I've maybe caught another rider, they're all moving a bit faster now.

From the top of this section we weave through a few backyards, and then into another slick muddy section with a couple short sprints off the bike up steep embankments. And then, into the dreaded cornfield.

On my pre-ride, there were several rideable sections, at least the first 100m into it. It was already churned up waaay too much, and spots were getting deeper..by the end of the race i was frequently stepping in mud up to my knees!!

This was an awful, long section.  Maybe 300m in this stuff. So slow-going for me. Here's a shot heading into this mess, one of the only ones from this race from Katie, oddly!

After the mud was this human-made 'hill', basically a stand they made that we have to ride up and over! Right after that is the lap/finish point...gaaah...one lap down, three more to go. It was a very slow course!

I picked off several more riders, and was in a small group duking it out for a while, but i couldn't really sustain a lot of power, and the cornfield was sucking the life out of me...

I ended up 15th, over 7mins behind the leaders, which included Roland. The farthest i've finished behind him! Ugh..

For lotsa entertaining pics, visit here:


I'm definitely not an 'authentic' 'cross racer!! The more i'm off my bike, the worse i'm going to do sadly..i'm a bike racer, first and fore-most! Short sprints are manageable, but beyond that...eeep!

Wendy Simms race report has been posted on Island Sports News.

Sunday - Cameron Cross at Juan de Fuca

Entirely different day! Sunny, warm, relatively dry. The course was significantly different as well! I had no idea what to expect, although with a long climb, i suspected that i would not fare too well.

The race started on a paved stretch, we went 200m and then a sharp left into a narrow gateway, and then singletrack uphill. I was in the 2nd row for call-up (yay!).

I kept up front going into the singletrack. We started uphill, which went for maybe 350m. None of it was steep, just a gradual climb. Near the top, i looked back, and i was in a lead group of about 6 riders, and ~20m behind was another smaller pack, an no sign of anyone else.. Kevin Knock was riding at a crazy pace, gapping the rest of us.

At the top of the climb was the only section that i'd have to run - but it was a long, windy section up a steep rocky section. I feared this would be the end of me... I kept up for the first lap, and the group of us began the long descent.

This was the redeeming part of the course for me. It was a very long 'descent', in a Super-D way. Basically, working our way downhill with a number of short power climbs into tight technical corners. And most of it was on the hillside, so it was perhaps 80% off-camber grass. As the lap progressed i passed one or two riders who were either slow moving, or wiped out.

At the bottom was a long stretch through boggy grass (that got worse and more sloggy each lap), into the barriers, around a corner, and into the lap-point and finish line. After that was a couple twists into the 'alley', which had two big stair drops, covered by plywood. The second one was particularly steep, and i nearly bit it a couple times coming down!

After that, were a couple more twists, and then onto the grass and back to the climb. Behind me in the above pic was Guy Gensey, who was on my wheel for much of the race, keeping me honest!

So it turned out that the climb wasn't too bad for me - i was careful to maintain a steady pace, and conserve some energy for the run-up at the end....i would pace myself so by the time i reached the top i would be DEAD, as at the top there was a short 20m boggy flat, but then the downhill hit, and i could recover there. I think that was one of the key elements for me: plenty of potential recovery on this course. There were a number of spots where pedaling hard weren't terribly beneficial, as you'd be hitting a corner quickly, and have to slow down into it...so i carefully maintained a steady pace through each section, and would power out of each corner to get my speed up (and then ease off on the pedaling a bit).

As the laps progressed, i worried that i'd not be able to maintain my pace...i was really hovering above my redline. I'd passed a few more riders, and only one rider had gotten by me: the young (16) Michael Brinton who's proving to be a diverse and strong rider!! This isn't our first encounter. ;)

With a couple laps to go, i knew it was only Roland ahead of me, and Geoff Pendrel (former pro downhiller!) was in sight (couldn't close the gap tho), along with Michael. Not far behind was Guy...on the final lap i was pretty worried he might catch me...but i kept a level head. Steady up the climb, and as fast as i could manage on the run-up. He was right on my heels by the top!!  I jumped on my Salsa and powered away into the downhill - it started off with a nice fast drop into a long grassy stretch. I opened 20m immediately, and as we wound our way down, i continued to increase it.  Getting to the bottom, i knew that i was safe, and eased off a bit.. I could also see Haldor was maybe 100m further back -- pretty impressive considering he's riding single-speed!!

Nearly tripped on the final barriers, and eased across the finish line. 4th!!!! Yeah!!!

Hanging out with the other top finishers Geoff and Roland, chatting about the race. Roland has been having a stellar season, and collected his first win as well, but it was by the smallest margin yet: just over a minute from me.

I'm pretty happy with that effort, nice to ride a course that suited me pretty well. Would probably have fared even better without that final run-up, but hey! Also, i think it worked for me being the 2nd day of racing -- i'm pretty used to this from the track, where we commonly race 2-4 days consecutively.

Another two amazing race days, thanks to Normon and Wendy, and the other organizers. =)

More pics from Katie here:


And Wendy's race report on ISN. Check the links below for a few more related items!


A bit pooped from the weekend, i thought i'd mix it up, and hopped on my MTB on this grey, near-rainy day. If i was feeling spunky, i might have gone around and up Durrance Rd, and in the 'back' way to the Dump, and then downhill out (Who's Yer Daddy, Nightshift, Skull, Shock Treatment and Executive to Meadowbrook Rd).

That didn't really materialize, but instead i went and investigated a bunch of singletrack trails off the Colquitz trail system, which i ride to get out to the Dump (from downtown you can avoid roads almost entirely to Prospect Lake Rd.) Found some fun alternative sections, and also checked out some of the trails up around Camosun Interurban/PISE, which were pretty fun. A few fun options to liven up the ride out.

Here's my PowerTap data:
Entire workout (180 watts):
    Duration:      1:55:55 (2:01:55)
    Work:          1255 kJ
    TSS:           135.7 (intensity factor 0.838)
    Norm Power:    218
    VI:            1.21
    Distance:      41.359 km
                       Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    869    180     watts
    Heart Rate:      71    179    145     bpm
    Cadence:         32    212    84     rpm
    Speed:           3.9    45.4    21.5     kph
heh - the cadence isn't 'real' on there, just guessed by the software. I'm pretty sure i didn't hit 212rpm. ;)

Wednesday VCX

Final event of the season! Over at Topaz Park under the lights. Funny as we're encircling the soccer field as kids are playing there, we're racing around on the grass. =)

Felt pretty good, and got in a good workout. Had a great first four laps, leading a group of four riders, but by the time the final lap came around, i faded and fell back. Roland and i were maintaining the same pace, except he took off at the start and was maybe 200m ahead. ;)

30mins solid race workout, over an hour on the bike total.

CrossVega - November 22nd!!

Details are still being sorted out, but the final Cross on the Rock event is likely to be called CrossVega, and i have the pleasure of designing much of the course! OA and OBB will be the primary sponsors, and we're going to design an awesome Island Championship race course at Shawnigan Lake School. More details to come, we're heading out tomorrow morning to scout out the grounds... The date will be November 22nd, plan to come out and race or cheer!! Food will be all vegan, aiming for chili and corn bread, cupcakes and more!


As usual, lotsa stuff i've come across:
The Fiery Tumble
haha - it was caught on film!! You might recall me highlighting how i nearly fell into the fire trenches, here's the evidence, click through the sequence as i nearly get torched!!

The Lightest Bike in the World
Title says it all. ;)

Roland Spills, Still by Still
Another great photo sequence as Rollie narrowly avoids biting it on Sunday!!

Cameron Cross Pics
A bunch more pics from me of the Masters, Women's and Expert races from the Sunday, good overview of the course.

Northerners Steal SSCXWC09: Drew MacKenzie and Kari Studley Golden in the Mud, Seattle Crowned 2010 Host
My 'cross buddy Drew took his second SingleSpeed World Championship title - nicely done, earning the coveted golden speedo!!!
That's it for now! This weekend i'm planning to return to the OBB group ride on Saturday, and Sunday might see a MTB ride...happy trails!

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    Dave Shishkoff
    aka Dave Noisy
    Victoria, BC

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