Toronto Cyclocross Race Report

ontario cyclocross

Race Report from Toronto Cyclocross

My race at Toronto Cyclocross did not get off to a good start.  Despite somehow managing to get a second row start I found myself on the ground before we even got off the pavement.  After making it through a whole season racing on the road without crashing, I go down in the first cyclocross race before even hitting the dirt on the asphalt.

They always tell you to lineup near the front to avoid those sorts of things.  I started second row but, due to my poor starting, I quickly dropped back but remained in the top 30 or 40 (there was 109 starters in the Elite 4/Master 3 race).  We were nearing the turn onto the grass and than WHAM!  The guy behind me takes out my back wheel and I am on the ground.  I’m not sure exactly how it happened but three of us ended up on the ground.

This was one of those HTFU moments.  I wanted to quit.  I even walked toward the tape ready to toss my bike over.  My chances of a good result were gone along with my enthusiasm for racing and my leg hurt.  But nothing was broken and my bike seemed okay.  I had paid my entry fee and driven to Toronto.  I had put in the work and wanted to have a good cyclocross season.  I wasn’t going to have my day ended after 30 seconds.  So I pushed all thoughts of quitting out of my head and got back on my bike.

I felt better as soon as I started pedaling.Toronto Cyclocross

Being by yourself has one advantage: you get to ride your own race.  In this circumstance, that race was a rage fueled desire to hunt down and kill pass as many people as possible.  Like a tiger, I stalked my prey and picked off the weakest.  With every pedal stroke I closed the gap between me and more riders and slowly picked off the weakest and oldest in the field.  My confidence and blood lust ever rising.

My form felt good and my technical skills seemed okay as I slowly reeled in more and more competitors.  I realized the advantage of having good form for your remount.  Every time I came into the barriers and subsequent run up with other riders, I was the first one coming out thanks to being able to remount, clip in, and accelerate away faster than the other riders.  I guess all that work did pay off.Toronto Cyclocross

I was doing the race I knew I was capable of and road within my limits, despite my rage fueled desire to catch everyone.  By the time I was starting my final lap, I was sort of in no man’s land.  There seemed to be a big gap between me and the next rider on course so the goal became to finish on the lead lap.  The leader was flying (later dominated the single speed race as well) and I knew he couldn’t be that far behind.  But my fears were unfounded and I was able to finish on the lead lap despite my crash.

In the end I finished 86th.  A little disappointing but my lap times were consistent and, if we eliminated the crash, I probably would have moved up at least 10 positions.  Still not really were I hoped and dreamed I would be.  I think I finished the race with a bit left in the tank so I now know I have more to give for this weekend’s Baseball Cross and Hardwood O-Cups and can improve on my result.Toronto Cyclocross

Going back to the crash.  The results of the crash included a number of scratches and bruises on my body including a nicely swollen knee.  It took a couple of hours before the pain in my wrist kicked in which was a result of punching the ground, explaining how I ended up with a broken left brake lever.  Thankfully it still functioned.  Besides the broken brake lever, my rear wheel was out of true, the derailleur hanger was slightly bent, and there is a nice dent in the downtube of my Kona Jake the Snake (there goes the resale value).  Not a cheap crash but it could be worse, at least I don’t have to pay a shop to do any of the work.

Overall Toronto Cyclocross was a great event.  Midweek Cycling Club designed a fantastic course that was fun, challenging and really good for spectators.  The tight, twisting course made good use of the off cambers available to them and fit a great course into a tight space.  And once the rain started, things got really interested.  All the off cambers made for a slick course for the later races.  Despite the challenge, it looked like they all had fun though.Toronto Cyclocross

Next up following Toronto Cyclocross is a double header weekend.  First is the Barrie Cycling Club Baseball Cross on Saturday.  A little bit of home field advantage there since I have assisted with some of the building and designing of the course.  On Sunday is the Hardwood Hills race which will use a course similar to what we have been racing on Wednesday nights.  Another course I am familiar with but unfortunately I still struggle with the sand.  Looks like this Thanksgiving Weekend is going to be a cracking weekend of cyclocross.