October 29, 2013 (Maple Ridge, B.C.) – Sunday’s seventh annual Pumpkin Cross Halloween-themed cyclo-cross event presented by Local Ride Bike Shop in Maple Ridge saw record numbers of costumed cyclists pedal a challenging course around North Alouette Greenway Park in the sunshine.
“We anticipated a large turnout, because of the reputation Pumpkin Cross has gained over the past seven years as a fun and quality event, but we got even more riders than we could have imagined,” said race organizer Barry Lyster, who was hoping for 200 participants. When all was said and done, the event drew over 260 racers from kids to adults of all abilities from across the province.
Coquitlam’s Sandra Walter a.k.a. Pippi Longstocking of the Liv/giant Canada team took her first elite women’s Pumpkin Cross victory, leading from start to finish. “I’ve raced every edition of Pumpkin Cross and this is the biggest I’ve seen it,” she said. “It felt like a big party out there, with all of the costumes, music, and spectators.”
Kelly Jones (Steed Cycles) of North Vancouver secured second spot, with Maple Ridge’s Maggie Coles-Lyster (Local Ride Racing), 14, powering into third place while wearing her creative “Mother Nature” costume.
The elite men’s race was an exciting and confusing battle for B.C. cyclo-cross fans, as the top two contenders, Kevin Calhoun (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) of North Vancouver and Kevin Noiles (Rock Lobster Factory Team) of Vancouver, dressed as one another. Noiles even carried a small stuffed dog in the back pocket of his Rocky Mountain cycling jersey, to represent Calhoun’s beloved Jack Russell named Tucker. The two Kevins have been neck-and-neck all season, with Calhoun consistently eking out narrow wins. On Sunday, Calhoun did it again over Noiles, despite the swapped identities.
Third place went to speedster Chris McNiel (Soul Sportif) of Kamloops, while fast Master and possibly the Devil himself, Bob Welbourn (Team Glotman Simpson) of North Vancouver, sped to an impressive fourth place in the elite men’s competition. Corey Forrest (Speed Theory) of Vancouver rounded out the top five.
“I think it was a combination of factors that made this year’s Pumpkin Cross so big,” said Lyster. “We debuted our Tuesday night short track cyclo-cross series and clinics at the Ridge Meadows BMX Track and introduced lots of new riders to the sport this fall. We also offered a promotion for beginner women that included a free cyclo-cross clinic the day before the race. Plus, other extras like costume prizes, music, and race announcing did a lot to add to the festival atmosphere everyone loves.”
Although they didn’t race, Maple Ridge’s Dave and Cheryl Hardie were among the voters’ top picks for the coveted best costume prize. The duo cruised around the hopping race expo on their tandem bicycle, dressed in dapper 1920s garb as period-appropriate music sounded from a wicker basket on the back.
However, it was the creative team costume of “Bacon Hand Up” that won the cyclo-cross-minded voters’ hearts. Four riders, two dressed as strips of bacon, one wearing a giant foam hand, and the other dressed as a man-sized blue upward facing arrow, completed the costume. In the cyclo-cross world, a “hand-up” is a mode of introducing audience participation to the zany niche cycling discipline. A hand-up is essentially when a spectator offers something to a racer during the competition, from bacon to brandy. At yesterday’s event, freshly fried Spam was being handed up by Giant Bicycle Canada’s Sean Kerr, who was dressed as a can of the iconic tinned meat.
Ten-year-old Kaelen Coles-Lyster took home the best kid’s costume award with her “old man” get-up.
Pumpkin Cross was the sixth round of the Vancouver SuperPrestige CX series presented by Shimano.
Thanks to race sponsors and supporters Local Ride Bike Shop, Kicking Horse Coffee, Lambert, Q Energy Drink, Golden Ears Physiotherapy, Partners in Health, Giant Bicycles Canada, Liv/giant Canada, District of Maple Ridge, Maple Ridge Equi-Sport Centre, Pedal Magazine, GranFondo Canada, Power2Max, Superior Glass, Cycling BC, and Ramada Inn Pitt Meadows for making the such a huge success.
Complete category results, more photos, and full report to follow.
1. Sandra Walter (Liv/giant Canada)
2. Kelly Jones (Steed Cycles)
3. Maggie Coles-Lyster (Local Ride Racing)
1. Kevin Calhoun (Rocky Mountain Bicycles)
2. Kevin Noiles (Rock Lobster Factory Team)
3. Chris McNiel (Soul Sportif)
4. Bob Welbourn (Team Glotman Simpson)
5. Corey Forrest (Speed Theory)