Racers file into a steep run-up during early stages of the Expert Men's race. © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
November 01, 2016 – The Alberta cyclo-cross season wrapped up in fine form this past weekend with a pair of events that again delivered excellent competition and entertainment to racers and spectators alike. An unusually warm and snow-free Halloween weekend was an added bonus in contrast to weekends past and for those adorning costumes that might otherwise be hidden under winter coats.
Beans & Barley CX p/b Terrascape Racing
Beans & Barley MC's bringing the funny and staying hydrated with a couple barley refreshments. © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
Saturday, October 29 / Shaganappi Park – Calgary, AB
The 11th annual Beans & Barley race was once again held at Calgary’s Shaganappi Park and offered a perfect venue for one of the most highly attended races on the calendar. With the impressive wooden fly-over returning as one of the many course features and a creative mix of Halloween spirited kits on display, it was a day for the on-lookers to enjoy.
One of the more entertaining duo's in the Expert Men's race, putting the stability of the fly-over to the test. © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
The Open Women's field gets pre-race instructions for the last time in 2016. © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
The Open Women’s race saw familiar faces dictating the pace from the opening laps, as provincial champions Shantel Koenig (Redbike) and impressive multi-tasker, Alana Heise (HSC-Garneau) who was also the race organizer, pulled away from the field. With the exception of a couple short off-camber sections, the relatively dry grass course offered plenty of room to lay down sustained power.
The closing laps saw a dramatic change in the lead as a untimely crash allowed Heise to surpass Koenig and create a gap she would successfully maintain for the eventual win. Behind, Koenig narrowly held off a hard charging Denise Hille (Cyclemeisters/Bow Cycle), as they claimed the remaining podium spots.
We found Waldo, in the thick of the action of the Sport Women's at Beans & Barley! © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
In his Alberta 'cross debut, Rally Cycling's Rob Britton was quick to make his presence known, driving the leading quartet in the latter stages of the race. © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
With local heavy-hitters Mike van den Ham and Mark “Hot Suace” McConnell in Cincinnati for the weekend, new Calgary transplant Rob Britton (Rally Cycling) and American visitor David Cresap (Missoula Bike Source) brought some fresh horse power to the Open Men’s contest. In a highly entertaining, race-long battle these two racers would be joined by Andre Sutton (Hardcore Bikes) and Jamie Lamb (Bicisport) in a four way battle for the win.
With Britton moving through the field in the early laps to join the other three, the lead would quartet remained intact until the final half-lap of the hour long race. It would be the American, Cresap, who would inevitably deliver the winning dig to pull out a few seconds lead, which he would hold onto for the win. Behind a three-up sprint unfolded as Sutton would narrowly get the better of Britton for second and third respectively.
Deadgoat Super-‘Cross p/b Deadgoat Racing
Sunday, October 30 / Cochrane Agricultural Grounds – Cochrane, AB
Young talent Logan Sadesky (RMCC) was one of few to successfully hop the log barrier on Sunday. © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
The final day of racing on the Alberta calendar was marked by calm sunny skies and the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, as the Cochrane Agricultural Grounds hosted the Deadgoat Super-‘Cross once again. While the rough and power-friendly course put riders to the test, the weather was markedly better than last year’s edition which pummeled the field with high winds and sleet.
Second place finisher on the day, Shantel Koenig, gets into the Halloween spirit as she gives a more literal take on a racing "skin suit". © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
The Open Women’s race was a chance for redemption as Shantel Koenig looked to make amends for the previous days mishap in the race’s final lap. Taking the early lead, Koenig was kept honest by the hard charging Alana Heise and Denise Hill who settled into chase mode behind.
The three would stay within sight of one another all day on the exposed grass course, which offered up one particularly steep pitch that only a select few would successfully conquer on the bike. Koenig would eventually put her stamp on the season and race with the win, followed in closely by Heise and Hill once again in third.
Eventual winner of the Open Men's contest, Shawn Bunnin passes by, well, a little house on the prairie. © Masa Higuchi and Bill Quinney
The Open Men’s final contest of the 2016 calendar saw an early separation, with the eventual podium riding away from the remainder of the field in the form of Andre Sutton, Shawn Bunnin (Deadgoat Racing) and David Yexley (Independent). With several digs and an aggressive pace the leading trio would become a two-way battle between provincial road champion Bunnin and the previous day’s runner up, Sutton, as the race passed the midway point.
Looking for his first ‘cross victory of the season, it would be a highly motivated Bunnin that finally pulled away and gradually increased his gap to the highly consistent Sutton, who would go on to claim second on the day as Yexley successfully held off a hard charging group for third.