After launching into the Cyclocross season full-tilt with a busy September, October was … just as jam-packed with races. Between Cross on the Rock races on the Island and venturing over to the big, scary Mainland for VCXC events, every weekend had a race. Or two.
Nanaimo started Cross-toberfest off with Kona Kup, a post-turkey sufferfest where Thanksgiving-bloated racers ran straight into a long road start, steep hills and the infamous 50-step staircase. The latter was blessed by the ButtCat hand-up team this year, keeping those of us suffering a little more than others well hydrated.
Emilly showed that killer instinct again, taking the expert women’s win ahead of Wendy Simms and Victoria Leeson, with Danielle powering/spinning to fourth on a decidedly singlespeed-unfriendly course. Carter kept up his winning ways, riding clear of Parker Bloom in second by a full 2 minutes 23 seconds. Nick Kupiak narrowly missed joining Woods on the podium in a sprint with Vancouver’s Brett Wakefield for third. Sam slid into 10th, while Terry and Halldör, simultaneously geared out and undergeared on the rolling Bowen course, rolled in a bit further back.
The next weekend, COTR took a break, so Terry and Britt hit up Aldergrove for the VCXC double header. On Day 1, the Last Call Racing crew cheered so loud Terry broke his chain trying to hold on to VCXC organizer Matt Hornland’s wheel. After a long “run” to the start finish-line, he finished a lap down, but still in 16th. Death before DNF, right? Day 2 went better. Joined by Britt Shalagan, NFR had twice the presence in tent row. Britt sailed to 6th in elite women, while Terry rode a fresh chain to 8th.
Next, Cross on the Rock went back in time and back to the far side of the Island for Lumber-X at Port Alberni’s McLean Mill National Historic Site. In line with the venue theme, Lumber-X delivered old school COTR racing. Carter rode off the front again, finishing 2:11 ahead of Raph Lalumiere in second and Carter Nieuwesteeg in 3rd. Sam rode a wave of nostalgia for COTR days past, and some decidedly non-UCI legal tires, up into 7th. In the women’s race, Mical and Emilly resumed their rivalry, with finishing 1-2 again. Holly Henry finished third, just 20s ahead of Danielle, who SS’ed into 4th.
Cross-toberfest opened with Thanksgiving and closed with Halloween. New Cross on the Rock venue Lake Cowichan stepped up for it’s debut appearance, bringing mud, sand, steeper mud, and a 100m section of dock jutting well out onto the lake. Thing 1 (Mical) battled Thing 2 (Emilly), with Wendy Simms following in third. Danielle’s skeleton, all that was left after another decidedly SS-unfriendly course (What course is ss-friendly? Why do we still insist this is a good idea?!?) rattled across the line in 7th. Carter kept his undefeated-streak alive for another month, finishing 2:44 ahead of Drew MacKenzie in 2nd and Parker Bloom in 3rd. Terry, we won’t mention what he was wearing, geared up and sprinted with Hamish Graham for fourth/fifth, while WonderWoman (Sam) and Hall, in what I assume is Hal’s usual Sunday attire when he’s not racing, followed a little further back.
In the next episode, the gang splits up – heading East to Pan-American Championships in Midland, Ontario, or a little bit north to Hot Cross Bunnies in Nanaimo.