October 02, 2013 (Vancouver, BC) – There will be mud. And rain. And wind. Sometimes in ’cross that’s just the way it has to be. Violent, stormy weather pelted B.C.’s South Coast throughout the double-header weekend that featured the latest two rounds of the 2013 Vancouver SuperPrestige Cyclocross Series, presented by Shimano. The weekend began in style with the New Brighton CX on Saturday and kept rolling with Vanier Park CX the following day. One can picture many dimly lit garages and basements on Saturday evening full of racers rehabilitating bikes to be ready for the next morning.
Despite the Vanier event’s remarkable historical penchant for finding warm, sunny Fall days, this was the 13th consecutive annual running of B.C. most venerable ‘cross event. In keeping with that ominous number, luck seemingly deserted us with the weekend weather biting hard. The local racing community bit back harder, showing up in droves to make this our most successful Vanier CX ever with 230 registered riders on the full course racing for glory, plus two dozen hearty young souls turning laps and hopping puddles on the always popular kids’ mini-course presented by Steed Cycles.
The hardcore cross crowd battled not only the elements but also the competition until there were only a few left standing. A traditional fast, grassy course turned into a race of attrition with rider after rider succumbing to drive train issues and rolled or flat tires, back spasms and hypothermia, crazy crashes or simply running out of gas. The spectators ate up every minute of it, with cowbells and hoots galore for the procession of riders displaying the ubiquitous chunks of mud in their toothy grins. Vancouver SuperPrestige action at its finest!
Like most people, the way to a CX racer’s heart is through their stomach. Delectable treats included hot coffee (thanks to the folks at Umbria Caffe) and true Belgian waffles (courtesy of the esteemed Monsignor Olivier from Patisserie Lebeau). Vancouver Bike Gallery once again provided access to their unmatched collection of neutral wheels to support racers with flats or mechanicals while the action took place in the three starts at one of the finest water’s edge parks in Vancouver.
In the first heat Chris Sayers and Chelsea Rieu took home top honours in the mens’ and womens’ citizen categories respectively. In a huge move for local cross racing, Escape Velocity’s successful dEVo program brought a large group of youth riders to participate in a full slate of 8 youth official youth categories from U19 right down to U13, along with other junior racers. The kids mixed it up with both the mud and their fellow adult competitors on the course, giving us a window into the future. Hopefully we’ll see those junior numbers grow every year.
The course softened up for the second start, dragging down lap times, but the strong find a way to survive and the strongest of all were Kristine Brynjolfson (Trek red Truck Racing) who reigned supreme among the Master Women, Mens’ 3/4 winner David Morrissey (Triple Crown Racing), and Master Men 3/4 conqueror Christian Hansen (Escape Velocity).
The racing for the premier categories unfolded a bit different that usual although the top of the leader board met the expectations of the crowd:
In the Elite Women category after retuning from the MTB Worlds BC standout Sandra Walter (Liv/Giant Canada) turned the screws on the rest and won convincingly while young Maggie Coles-Lyster (Local Ride) took second over Morgan Cabot (Glotman Simpson).
The Elite Master Men proved their toughness where Cory Forrest sealed the deal after the 3rd lap when rode away. The chasers had to settle for 2nd with WheelWizzard Kim Steed (Steed Cycles – what else?) get the better of Hardman James Birkenbuehl (also Steed Cycles … hmm!?). In all fairness both worked on the set-up at New Brighton CX a day prior and what if …
The Elite Men race was a true smack down betwee Kevin “Calhountador” Calhoun (Rocky Mountain Bikes) and Kevin Noiles (California dreamin’ RockLobster/HRS). After a mighty battle on the degrading course one of many flat tires of the day tipped the scale in favour of Calhoun. A seriously freezing Noiles had to enter the pits to change his wheel while being passed by Evergreen Bobby Welbourn (Glotman Simpson) for second place.
We left Vanier Park still in one piece but with a few battle scars which should be gone in a few weeks. If you want to provide feedback to the Vancouver Parks Board about the use of parks like Vanier Park or New Brighton please contact City Hall or email them at email@example.com. Your input is appreciated and might ensure that we can come back next year.
The organizers would like to thank the dedicated volunteers from West Coast Cycling and TREK Red Truck Racing as well as the City of Vancouver – Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation for the use of the park. Furthermore we are grateful for the support and contribution from our sponsors: Cycles Lambert, Highway 2, Patisserie Lebeau, Caffe Umbria, Shimano, Rocky Mountain Bicycles, Race Face, Schwalbe Tires, Stan’s No Tube, Different Bikes, Steed Cycles, Vancouver Bike Gallery, TAG Cycling, Active Life, Uprising Bread, Bandidas, Musette Caffe and Hansen Industries.
Thanks to all who came and hope to see you again at the 2014 Vanier Park CX.
Full results for all categories here.