Canadian Cyclo-Cross Championships

Well, the 2008 Canadian Cyclo-Cross Championships are in the books. What a day. What a great day. Started early with Marc, Steve, and Rob racing at 10 a.m in the Masters B race. I had a blast watching these three guys race. Phenomenal racing by all three.

Steve, Marc, and the eventual winner (Sean) got away early and opened up a sizable gap. The group broke apart in the bowl – but with all three solidly riding away from the field. Sean was leading, Steve was in second and Marc was in third. Unfortunately for Marc he flatted and lost some spaces. Lucking a quick bike change was all he needed. Congrats to Steve for finishing second – a most impressive ride. Marc finished in 6th place – a great finish considering the flat and the distance to the pit. Rob had a great ride and finished 10th. I must say watching these guys raced helped me get excited for my race.

After the guys’ race I jetted back to the hotel for some food and relaxation. Then it was back for 12:00 to get in some laps of the course. Marc rode a few laps with me to help me see the lines and to give me some pointers. I felt pretty confident and relaxed. I was not letting myself get worked up and managed to keep my distance from the nervous energy happening. My race went okay – actually it went well. Just not the result I wanted or needed today. (I’ve posted a race report – go check it out for a full race recap). Essentially today I needed to finish within 105% of the winner’s time – this would have put me on the list for the World Championships – I didn’t do it. Sucks. But I’ll just have to work extra hard and try to get the 125 UCI points by Dec. 9 or somehow finish in the top 5 at the USGP in New Jersey (hey – it’s bike racing – anything can happen).

Okay, I’ve got to jet. Need to get a shower, grab some food and then chillax this evening. Racing again tomorrow so it will be another opportunity to get out there and have some fun (not to mention get some more UCI points).

Thanks for the support. The emails and positive vibes helped so much today. Huge shout out to Vince at The Cyclery for the incredible support – the bikes worked flawlessly today (this is also thanks to Steve – the best mechanic in Ottawa). Thanks to coach Steve for getting me so fit and fast – he has done wonders with me this past year – whenever I tell him what I want to do he simply says “okay – lets do it”. Thanks to Kingsbridge for their support – it makes much easier to travel to races when you have someone helping you out. I ate a lot of Clif product this weekend – gotta say I’m kinda addicted to the Banana Bread Clif bars and I love the Espresso gel. The Giro glasses rocked it out today – fit so smoothly with my helmet – thanks OGC. Body felt nice and limber as well – this is thanks to the power yoga sessions at Mountaingoat Yoga – gotta love my six-pack as well – this is all thanks to Heather’s tough sessions.

Awesome!

Quick post:

Steve Proulx – 2nd in Master B National Cyclo-Cross Champs
Marc Boudreau – 6th? in Master B National Cyclo-Cross Champs
Rob Orange – 9th? in Masters B National Cyclo-Cross Champs

Exciting race. Steve, Marc, and the winner Sean got away early. The small group got broken up with the riders riding with Sean followed by Steve and then followed by Marc. Marc had some bad luck and flatted. This caused him to drop out of third position. He fought back hard though and dug in deep to finish I think 6th.

Steve was awesome. Power. Smooth.

Rob started really well and dug in hard on the last lap.

Great ride guys! It was fun to watch.

The Night Before

Well, all the hard work is done. No additional fitness can be gained. No new technical skills can be learned. It is simply time to go out and race. Have fun. Race hard and enjoy the experience. After all, this is why we train so hard and stay focused – to get out there on race day and shine.

Had chillaxed day. We went over to the course at around 3:00 this afternoon. This worked out well as the course was set and it was not super busy. Pretty wide open course. With lots of sections to really open it up. These are sections are broken up a bit by some twist and turns. There is a bit of a tight descent with a sharp turn onto some bumpy grass and then down into the woods before turning on the gravel to cross a bridge. Then the soft climb has been turned into a run. After some more wide open sections with a few twists and turns we are onto the really cool and challenging section of the course. Basically traversing a “bowl-like” section of terrain with some tight turns, fast descents, a challenging short climb, a run/ride up and another tricky corner. This leads into another wide open section and back to the start/finish.

The course is pretty cool. I like it. Right now the ground is dry, fast, and hard. The grass is super short. Some of the corners are sure to get quite soft due to the short grass being scrubbed away. The course is not super demanding technically but there are enough corners and linked sections that you do need to be a decent technical rider. Speed – getting it, maintaining it, and getting back up to speed will be key (in my opinion). The other key is to not get rattled if something goes wrong – such as blowing a corner or struggling on a climb – this course gives you time to recover from your mistakes – if you stay calm.

I did probably four laps in total today. I spent a lot of time drilling the bowl-like section. Many thanks to Marc, Steve, Rob, Dave, Keirnan, and Shaun for giving me lots of tips and advice on how to best ride this section. Spent a little more time hitting the other tricky descent and run into the woods. I was able to open up quite nicely and got a feel for gearing (though this always seems to change on race day).

Tomorrow I’ll get over for the pre-ride from 12:00 to 12:45. I’ll get in two to three laps and check out how the course has changed after a few racers have ripped it up in the morning.

Marc, Steve, and Rob are racing at 10:00 a.m. So I’ll go over to work the pits for them and to do some cheering. My dad will be on photographer duty and is transporting the spare bikes and gear bags over to the race. Once the guys have finished racing, I’ll be coming back to the hotel to put my legs up and get ready for my race. Some food. Then off to the course to do the pre-ride and pre-race stuff.

I’ve got my race plan written. Have a good sense of the course. Where I’ll need to dig that little extra, where I can recover, and where I might have some issues. It is all good. Nothing like race day.

Had a good meal this evening with my dad while Marc and Steve were at the riders meeting. Nothing special – just some pasta and salad at Boston Pizza. Pretty chilled out evening. My head is feeling good. So far, I’m pretty calm. No crazy pre-race nerves yet.

I’m looking forward to watching the guys race. It helps me race when I’ve seen the guys go at it super hard. Okay, I’m out. Have a good Saturday. Best of luck to everyone racing in Gloucester and in Almonte.

Check back tomorrow for a race report. So stoked.