October 21/07 10:23 am - National Cross Championships Report
Posted by Editoress on 10/21/07
National Cyclocross Championships Kamloops BC
Neither Lyne Bessette (cyclocrossworld.com) nor Greg Reain (Ride with Rendal/Colnago/Time) were to defend their titles at the Canadian Cyclo-cross Nationals today in Kamloops, BC, despite riding from the front in their respective races. Instead, Mike Garrigan (Jetpower/Epic Ride) took his first ever national title, while Wendy Simms (Kona-Yourkey.com) returned to the top step of the podium for the first time since back-to-back victories in '03 - '04.
With very little elevation change to work with, the organizers went for a tight and twisty circuit. The circuit was laid out right downtown at Riverside Park next to the Thompson River. After a fast opening section on gravel trail and grass, the riders went down onto the beach for two sections. The first required the longest running section of the course - especially after training and a provincial championship race the day before churned up the sand - while the second ended with a little step up that very few riders could clear on their bikes. From here it was almost all grass, with two barricades forcing a dismount and then a long fast zig-zag through the park to the final dismount atop a small knoll 200 metres before the finish line.
The women's race had what was possibly the strongest field ever for a national championship. In addition to Simms and Bessette, mountain bike legend Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Haywood) was attending her first cyclo-cross nationals, as was local Kamloops hope Catharine Pendrel (Norco), who has had a breakthrough year on the off-road World Cup circuit. Other mountain bike pros to fill out the field included Mical Dyck (Terrascape), Trish Sinclair (Kona), Canada Cup series champion Amanda Sin (3 Rox Racing), Jean Ann McKirdy (Local Racing) and Sandra Walter (X.O.-Felt).
Sydor was the big unknown - she had done well in local races over the previous month, and her sprint and tactical skills always make her a threat. But how would she do against accomplished 'crossers?
Bessette and Simms decided to try and drop her immediately, setting a very fast pace for the first couple of laps. Sydor came off in the sand on the running sections, losing 8-10 metres each time, but quickly rejoined the front pair on the tight and twisty portions.
"I don't have the running skills they do," she agreed "and look at how much longer their legs are!"
After the first two laps the trio settled down, with Bessette doing much of the pacesetting. "I think they (Simms and Sydor) would have let it slowed to a stop, but that's not the way I race." commented Bessette.
On the final lap, Simms made her move in the sand, attacking on the first section to open a slight gap going into the twisty portion. She dropped both Bessette and Sydor, with the mountain biker catching and then passing Bessette to claw her way back to Simms before the final run up. But, with nowhere to pass, she could only follow the Kona rider in across the line.
"This was an extremely gratifying win, with such a strong field here. Having Alison (Sydor) and Lyne (Bessette), plus some other mountain bike pros, made this a very strong field, probably one of the strongest ever. I was able to cover every move, and on the last lap I put in an attack in the sandy section and got a little gap, which I was able to hold to the finish."
The men's race was missing one very strong contender and former champion - Geoff Kabush (Maxxis). Just back from the Tour of Chihuahua (where he had been racing with Symmetrics), Kabush decided to skip the nationals this year, e-mailing from his home in New Mexico: "I decided to take a bit of a mental break. Just finished Vuelta a Chihuahua and wanted to hang out at home for a little bit before the USGP's start next weekend."
With Kabush (and his team mate Mat Toulouse) out of the picture, the favourites were Reain and mountain bike pro Max Plaxton (Rocky Mountain-Haywood). Plaxton had decisively beaten Reain a week earlier in a local 'cross race, but was Reain holding back a bit?
By the middle of the second lap Reain had thrown down the gauntlet, going 7 seconds clear of a chase group containing Plaxton, Garrigan, Ryan Hopping (Team Alberta), Osmond Bakker (Stevens Cross) and Rob Britton. By the end of the lap Garrigan and Plaxton had bridged up to Reain, and it looked like the podium was decided - all that needed to be done was decide who got what colour of medal. A light rain had also begun to fall, making sections of the course greasy.
However, on lap five, as the race reached the halfway mark, Plaxton suffered the first of a series of mishaps, when his seatpost broke off. "It was totally my own fault," he admitted. "It's a superlight post which I've used for more than a season; and Kris Sneddon (Kona) actually warned me to replace it before the race..."
Without a spare bike, Plaxton lost over a minute in the pits while mechanics finally forced the remainder of the post into the frame and installed a new post and saddle. He came out of the pit in sixth place, with 1:15 to make up.
Initially, it looked like he might have a chance, as he took 15 seconds a lap on the leaders for a couple of laps, moving into third at 45 seconds with two and a half laps to go, then 30 seconds with two laps remaining. He suffered the most serious of three crashes on this lap, when he went down hard on an asphalt corner, banging his elbow. This appeared to slow him, and he faded to 36 seconds at the finish to take bronze.
Up front, Reain and Garrigan were playing a tactical game. "He (Garrigan) was faster in some sections, so it became all about who got first into certain sections and could control the pace." explained Reain. "On the last lap he managed to get in front of me with about a kilometre to go; there was one place to pass at about 500 metres, but I couldn't get by, and that was it."
"I felt unbelievable today; every time Greg (Reain) surged it was no problem for me to follow him. I knew that if I could keep everything together, I could finally win. I passed him (Reain) many times, but he's a smart rider, and he was using tactics I'm not used to. I was able to ride sections he couldn't, so he kept getting in front of me there. But my running was my biggest advantage today, and I was finally able to get in front on the last lap."
- Mark Batty (Team R.A.C.E.) took the U23 title earlier in the day, beating defending champion Kyle Douglas (3 Rox Racing). Douglas went out extremely fast for the first two-thirds of the race, but Batty didn't panic and took over the lead with a lap and a half to go.
- The Junior men's race was held at the same time as the Elite women, with David Larson (Team Alberta) putting on an incredible display of strength to win the title. After starting some 90 seconds down on the women, he went straight through the women's field to catch and pass everyone - including Simms, Sydor and Bessette - before backing off in the last lap to let the women sprint out their finish. Evan Guthrie (Total Restoration) took the silver medal and Alex McCormick (Team Alberta) the bronze.
- Both Sydor and Plaxton said that they will be back for more cyclo-cross. "It is definitely a lot of fun" agreed Sydor. "My cross-country season ended early this year, so I'm not in the best shape. But I'd like to do more, maybe even a World Cup in Belgium."
- Canada's world championship attendance may be even thinner than usual. Greg Reain says that it is not very certain if he will attend: "Without having Stevens (the pro team he raced for previously), it is a very costly program, since you need to go over to Belgium a month before to race and train, and then fly to Italy for Worlds. So, at this point it doesn't look too hopeful."
Mike Garrigan does hope to attend, although he isn't sure of the finances at this point. "For sure I want to go; you can't disrespect the jersey."
On the women's side, Lyne Bessette has already stated her intentions to go, and will head to Belgium with husband and team mate Tim Johnson in December to prepare. National champion Wendy Simms is also likely to attend.
- Organizers Henry Perjil and team did a super job, despite the fact that the first `cross race they have ever seen (let alone organized) was on Saturday at the BC Provincial Championships (which they also ran). This team has now run road, MTB and `cross nationals.....
|Elite Men - 60 minutes|
|1. Mike Garrigan (King City, ON) JETPOWER/ epic ride||0:59:40|
|2. Greg Reain (Ottawa, ON) Ride with Rendall / Colnago / Time||0:59:41|
|3. Max Plaxton (Victoria, BC) Rocky Mountain-Haywood||1:00:16|
|4. Aaron Schooler (Edmonton, AB) E.R.T.C. - Redbike||1:01:17|
|5. Ryan Hopping (Calgary, AB) Team Alberta/ United Cycle||1:01:23|
|6. Osmond Bakker (Stittsville, ON) Stevens Cross||1:01:34|
|7. Kris Sneddon (Victoria, BC) Kona||1:01:49|
|8. Kevin Noiles (Vancouver, BC)||1:01:59|
|9. Drew Mackenzie (Victoria, BC) Straigh Up Cycles/Argon18||1:02:04|
|10. Thomas Skinner (Salmon Arm, BC) Louis Garneau||1:02:11|
|11. Shawn Bunnin (Calgary, AB) Bicisport/Alberta||1:02:14|
|12. Derrick St John (Ottawa, ON) The Cyclery||1:02:23|
|13. Craig Richey (Victoria, BC) Aviawest - Rocky Mountain Bicycles||1:03:34|
|14. Dan Macdonald (Penticton, BC) Masi Adobe||1:04:10|
|15. Kevin Calhoun (Vancouver, BC) Rocky Mountain - Different Bikes||1:04:36|
|16. Jonathan Gormick (Port Coquitlam, BC) MASI-ADOBE||1:05:55|
|17. Will Pratt (Penticton, BC) The Bike Barn||-1Lap|
|18. Matthew OHagan (Revelstoke, BC) ||-1 Lap|
|19. Michael Nash (Kanata, ON) Ride with Rendall||-1 Lap|
|20. Steven Devantier (Pitt Meadows, BC) Local Ride Racing||-1Lap|
|21. Joe Wessel (Kelowna, BC) Kelowna Cycle/Opus/Cobra||-1 Lap|
|22. John-Christopher Reid (Vancouver, BC) Masi/Adobe||-1 Lap|
|DNF. Rob Britton (Victoria, BC)|
|DNF. Mathew Hewitt (Victoria, BC) Oak Bay Bikes|
|DNF. Jason Thompson (Vancouver, BC) Escape Velocity|
|DNF. Tyler Trace (Victoria, BC)|
|Elite Women - 40 minutes|
|1. Wendy Simms (Nanaimo, BC) Kona - Yourkey.com||0:38:22|
|2. Alison Sydor (W. Vancouver, BC) Rocky Mountain-Haywood||0:38:23|
|3. Lyne Bessette (Lac Brome, QC) cyclocrossworld.com||0:38:40|
|4. Mical Dyck (Calgary, AB) Terrascape Racing||0:40:18|
|5. Kelly Jones (North Vancouver, BC) Sugoi||0:40:23|
|6. Jean Ann Mckirdy (Coquitlam, BC) Local Ride||0:40:29|
|7. Pepper Harlton (Edmonton, AB) juventus||0:40:57|
|8. Sarah Stewart (Victoria, BC) Wedgewood Cycling Club||0:40:57|
|9. Natasha Elliott (Ottawa, ON) Stevens Cross||0:41:13|
|10. Catharine Pendrel (Kamloops, BC) Norco Factory Team||0:41:19|
|11. Patricia Sinclair (Victoria, BC) Kona||0:41:20|
|12. Amanda Sin (Sudbury, ON) 3 Rox Racing||0:41:48|
|13. Melanie Vaughan (Vancouver, BC) Steed Cycles||0:41:53|
|14. Kerry VanKooy (BC) ||0:42:14|
|15. Jaymie McGowan (Victoria, BC) Oak Bay Bikes||0:42:23|
|16. Denise Ramsden (Kingston, ON) cyclocrossontario.com||0:43:12|
|17. Sandra Walter (Coquitlam, BC) X.O-Felt Women's Team||0:43:18|
|18. Krystyn Ong (Sherwood Park, AB) Juventus||0:43:50|
|19. Katherine Short (Halfmoon Bay, BC) Giant Bicycles Canada||0:44:51|
|20. Samantha Grover (Leduc, AB) Juventus||0:45:15|
|21. Kendra Middleton (Ft.Saskatchewan, AB) Juventus||0:45:38|
|22. Jolea Bilodeau (Charlie Lake, BC) Blizzard Bicycle Club||-1 Lap|
|Junior Men - 40 minutes|
|1. David Larson (Edmonton, AB) Alberta||0:37:32|
|2. Evan Guthrie (Peachland, BC) Total Restoration||0:38:04|
|3. Alex Mccormick (Edmonton, AB) Team Alberta||0:38:58|
|4. Sebastian Sleep (Gibsons, BC) Cycling BC Junior Dev Team, Sunshine Coast Cycling||0:39:02|
|5. Kevin Thorpe (North Vancouver, BC) dEVo||0:40:11|
|6. Stephen Cooley (Saskatoon, SK) Team Saskatchewan||0:40:15|
|7. Colter Young (Charlie Lake, BC) Blizzard||0:40:53|
|8. Connor Witzke (Edmonton, AB) juventus||0:41:24|
|9. Paul Sales (Vancouver, BC) Rad Racing NW||0:43:21|
|U23 Men - 50 minutes|
|1. Mark Batty (Brooklin, ON) Team Race||0:48:24|
|2. Kyle Douglas (Ashburn, ON) 3 Rox Racing||0:48:41|
|3. Brian Robinson (Calgary, AB) Team Alberta. Bow Cycle/ CMC||0:48:56|
|4. Michael Bidniak (Edmonton, AB) Trek/Red Truck Racing||0:49:19|
|5. Ian Manning (Holland Landing, ON) 3Rox Racing- Scott||0:49:41|
|6. Shaun Adamson (Edmonton, AB) Juventus||0:49:56|
|7. Andrew Thomas (Regina, SK) Team Saskatchewn / ERTC||0:50:16|
|8. Cameron Jette (Toronto, ON) TEAM TREK STORE||0:51:31|
|9. Chris Hillier (Victoria, BC)||0:54:48|
|DNF. Kevin Hazzard (Burlington, ON) JetFuel Coffee|