Naked in the Valley: BC ValleyCross Provincials

Last weekend, Canada’s west coast cyclocross season wrapped up – mostly – with BC Cyclocross Provincial Championships at Mill Lake Park in Abbotsford. A small gang of five made up Naked Factory Racing‘s team, supported, as always, by Regan and Laila in the pits. We showed up with a small crew, but we walked away with some big results. Titles defended, titles earned, and a couple podiums on top of that! It was a big day out for NFR. The ValleyCross crew put on another excellent, well organized event, built around a fast, exciting course. And one giant, punishing run-up…  Photo’s courtesy of Patrick Burnham (with a couple bonus shots from Terry) NFR’s youth may be the newest members of the team, but they’re already pushing the rest of us to raise our game! Carter and Emilly had huge days at ValleyCross, with Carter defending his title from Squamish Cross-pocalypse last year, and Emilly taking her first CX Provincial Jersey.Emilly raced the U17 Women’s race, winning handily and winning in style with her new Jakroo Canadian Champs jersey! Not satisfied with just one race, Emilly had a snack, changed into fresh race kit, and took on the Elite Women’s race alongside Mical. Racing twice in a day is hard. Lining up for your second race against a super strong Elite Women’s field is hugely impressive! While Emilly jumped out with the front group at the start, eventually fresher legs prevailed leaving Emilly in … 6th! She still finished one step off the podium. That’s mad.Carter – holy crap! Carter’s shown speed this fall, but that was absurd. Not only did Carter defend his U19 provincial title from Squamish, if lap times are accurate – Carter had the fastest lap of the day! Not ‘fastest U19 lap.’ Fastest, full stop. With the U19’s getting underway a full minute behind the Elite Men’s start, Carter bridged up to & through the Elite field, moving all the way up to 4th before he’d won his 45minute race concluded. The only people left out in front of Carter were Canadian CX National Champion Michael van den Ham, Craig Richey, who would win the BC Provincial Elite title that day, and HotSauce – Canada’s spiciest CX Export to Europe (c-xport?). His effort earned him a second year in the U19 Provincial jersey.Mical lined up against a strong Elite Women’s field that included World Cup mountain biker, Sandra Walter. With Walter seeming intent on delivering in front of a home crowd – she lives just across the way in Coquitlam – Mical had a big fight on her hand to defend her jersey. Eventually, Mical came away with a solid second place! NFR’s resident viking, Halldór, defended his Single Speed title from Squamish. Improving on that performance would prove difficult, but Hal managed to find even more ways to not be eligible to wear the provincial jersey at days end. While he still topped the podium, once again, his Icelandic heritage disqualified him from taking home the BC jersey — we’re assuming he retroactively gets them all back when he gets permanent residency?? While all this was happening, Terry was flailing against the limits of futility and RPM’s – racing single speed in the Elite Men’s field. At the days end, he’d managed to spin his way inside the top 10 – closing on the last couple laps, but not quite able to repeat last years 5th place. But cyclocross is becoming more territorial than surfing and the CyclingBC ineligibility rampage struck the Elite field hard, taking two Albertans out of the top 3 and sneaking another Naked onto the last spot of an extended, ‘locals only’ podium. So, in total – we sent 5 racers, a mechanic, a tent and a dog to provincials. We came away with 4.5 podiums, including 3 wins, 2 titles, a second, and a ‘locals podium’ fifth (real, 7th, for a ss in a geared world). Not bad for a weekends racing! Plus, Hal and Terry took full advantage of a cancelled Day 2 of racing to ride the threatened Sumas riding area [Talk to FVMBA – #SaveSumas!] Nerd notes: we also managed to travel without a single plastic bike – including mountain bikes and guests [Hi Sarah!] We had several steel, a couple titanium, and a couple aluminum rigs carrying us through all our adventures. So for anyone reading the cycling media and thinking carbon is the only option, don’t believe the hype. Steel is real. Ride metal!