Wow – what a day it was out at the Calabogies Peaks Resort. An easy hour and a bit drive from our place in Ottawa and we found ourselves in the just the perfect spot to enjoy the fresh air and watch some cyclo-cross racing. (It helps that there is a fantastic coffee shop in Burnstown – Neat Coffee Shop – to stop at before and after the race!)
The three of us (myself, my dad and Marc) arrived at around 10:30 to lots of action – the women were warming up, the kids were getting psyched and the Masters men were discussing their race. To say there was a lot going on would be an understatement. Soon enough the women and kids were off racing (amazing that 52 women are registered for the Eastern Ontario Cyclo-Cross Series) and I got busy cheering and chatting.
With a prime location next to the barriers and a view of a good chunk of the course, my dad and I were able to take in the action and get some shelter from the rather bitter wind. It was so great to see so many women of all ages and abilities out there racing and to see the kids heaving their big bikes over their special barriers – all the while smiling with a bit of huffing and puffing.
Marc’s race started with a flurry and it was full on gas for an hour or so. This last race is where the elite men come out to race around and it was refreshing to see that even these guys make some mistakes at the barriers and on the steep climbs and descents. (Rumor has it the barriers were very fast – hence the missteps and collisions…)
I think the best part of the day was seeing so many friendly faces. I got to catch up with lots of folks, meet new people and just feel part of the tremendous cyclo-cross community we have in here in Ottawa. Even better was taking in how supportive all the racers are of one another – chatting after the race, encouraging one another, staying to cheer on the next category and really appreciating being out on the bike on a beautiful sunny day.
Of course none of this would be possible without the dedicated volunteers – Bob, Cheryl, Ian and all the others who manage the courses and are there long before and after most of us doing set-up and tear down. Thanks to these people, we have a very affordable race series that gives so many a chance to come out and play on their bikes on Sundays.
Up next is the madison race in North Gower. I heard that there are already 240 people registered for this two-person team race. This is incredible. Who needs the NHL when we’ve got cyclo-cross? I’ll be out at North Gower racing on Sunday – looking forward to some fast pedaling and more cheering!
(A big thanks to my dad for letting us travel to the race in style in his car and for coming out to the races for the day. One day I’ll get him on a cyclo-cross bike and in a race…)