Canadian Cyclist


November 10/06 12:50 pm - `Cross Nationals Preview: Interview with Organizer

Posted by Editoress on 11/10/06

An interview with Normon Thibault, organizer for tomorrow's `Cross Nationals in Nanaimo BC

What numbers are you anticipating?

We have 160 registered. We are REALLY pumped on that. It makes us the 2nd biggest cross nationals. The biggest outside of Ontario which has a much larger population of bike racers. Naniamo is easy to get to but some people are still scared because it is on an "island".

Please describe the course (length, obstacles, type of surface).

We have not measured the exact course as it is marked right now (we will be doing that today) but last year it was over 2800M. For obstacles we have 1 set of 2 planks in the barn, one run up, one set of stairs and there are also 2 sand sections that are ridable. For surfaces we have pavement, grass, undergrowth, hard dirt, gravel, bark mulch, sand....any type that I missed.....I think we have it all except a lot of mud.

How is the course going to be in wet conditions?

Last weekend we had record rainfalls on Vancouver Island and the course had one puddle on it. The area drains very-very well so we don't anticipate having any problems. If we do we have sand, dirt and hay ready for us to use. In particular the BMX track drains amazingly well. It would be nice to have a real mud section but I don't think it will happen.

What type of rider do you think it suits best?

From talking to the riders that were on the course yesterday and from my own experience most people feel that it will not suit any one type of cross
rider. (Some) Sections are more roadie. Sections are more mountain but there is enough of each that you will need to be an all rounder and a solid cross rider to pull off the victory.

How has the experience been of organizing the Nationals (and would you ever do it again)?

Coming from organizing the NewBalance Half Iron for the past 11 years I knew the amount of work that is involved with putting on a great event. With Wendy, Corey and I having traveled to a lot of different cross races in
North America and in Europe we had a good idea of what we were looking for.

We set this event up for riders from riders and by riders. We are hoping that people can notice a difference in how it is run, how it feels and the little touches.

In triathlon you are given a guide line as to what you are expected for layout, safety, officials etc. With this event I was surprised as to how little information we had and how things came up late in the game as to what was expected from us. We had already looked at UCI course requirements but I am referring to things like up until two days ago we did not have a race secretary nor do we yet know where our 6 officials will be posted. I am not used to doing these things last minute. I think the CCA feels that we are a little difficult to deal with. We both have cycling as our primary interest and concern but we are coming at it from different directions and sometimes finding it difficult to communicate or meet in the middle. I don't mean this to sound harsh but rather hope for improvements through constructive comments.

Would we do it again? Absolutely! We have put a ton of effort into this event so to do it again would be just following the template that we have made with adjustments based on feedback and observations from this year. A lot less guess work and a lot less work. We have the venue. We have the team. Riders know the area. It is a natural.


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