October 12, 2005 – This weekend, my wife Lesley, fellow Canadian Tristan Galibrath and I headed down to Ohio to race the Bio-Wheels UCI cyclocross race. To start off as Mark Twain said, “There are three types of lies, ‘Lies, big lies, and statistics.’ ” I would like to add a forth type – the weather network. The forecast for Saturday and Sunday at the race site was 17-19 degrees and sunny. Upon arriving at the course at a balmy 11 degrees and drizzle, the group was less than impressed and put on our long sleeves and wet tires and were ready to go.
The men’s elite race went off at 3pm. However, Tristan was on Canadian time and barely made it to the start in time, to take the last spot in the back row (Not the most popular spot for the cross start). The start of the course was a 200m grass straight followed by a up-hill off camber 180 degree turn, which caused a big bottleneck and a few crashes. I managed to get through fifth wheel and avoid some of the crashes. Tristan smoked the start weaved his way through the pack into the front group. After some off-camber turns and a few sand pits the initial selection of eight guys was made. However, Tristan got held up in a crash, which I caused. (Sorry Tristan.) After my crash, I got up quickly and re-joined the front group by the end of lap one. Tristan was chasing the front group (now five riders) at 15 seconds, and would remain there until he flatted with two laps to go. The lead group contained Matt Kelly (Alan Factory), Jeff Weinert (Cane Creek), Mike House (Texas Road house), Phil Noble (Biowheels racing) and me.
As the course was pretty technical it was hard for attacks to get away. The group raced hard for five laps and then Phil Noble took a spill and was off the group. I was having a hard time through one section and was losing time and had to push hard each lap to regain the group. With 1.5 laps remaining after the sand pit Matt Kelly launched up the only climb on the course, he got about five seconds. I gambled and hoped the others would bring him back but they were not closing as he had opened up the gap to eight to nine seconds, so I launched through the start section and closed to within two-three seconds. But that was my only real opportunity to close the gap as the course got technical again and Matt was riding everything really well. I drifted back to 5-6 sec and realized the race was for second as the Jeff.W. was closing in on me. I decided to make sure I stayed upright and wait for the sprint at the end. The only issue was a hard charging Mike House, who caught us with 500m to go and took the lead. With only two corners left and then 150 meters to the line it was a big advantage to get into the last corner first. I was second wheel and was surprised when Mike took a wide line around the second last corner, I dove in on the inside and took the lead. I jammed the last corner and hit the sprint to take second. Tristan nursed his flat in for eighth with two guys passing him in the last few minutes of the race.
Overall it was a hard course with a lot of technical turns and two sand pits that combined with some mist made for some good cross conditions. We had a good trip and as always the organization of Bio-wheels was awesome.
1. Matt Kelly Alan Factory 1:00:49
2. Nathan Chown Ital Pasta/Fuji Canada/St. Cath 1:01:07
3. Jeff Weinert Cane Creek 1:01:07
4. Mike House Texas Roadhouse 1:01:07
5. Phil Noble BioWheels Racing 1:02:06
8. Tristan Galbraith Kona 1:03:07
1. Mandy Lozano CCA/Kona 46:58
2. Cara McCauley CCA/Kona 48:17
3. Kim Sawyer Travelgirl Magazine 48:39
4. Kathryn Roszko NCC/BikeReg.com 49:10
5. Anne Schwartz Flying Rhino 50:03
7. Lesley Chown St. Catherines C.C. 53:05