Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Canada, eh?

Last weekend several PB riders headed up to Toronto for some international UCI races. I went last year and the racing was awesome and it was a good place to try to pick up some points as many racers choose to attend events in the Northeast. So Linda, Kaitie, James, and myself loaded up the van along with Linda's friend Dave who would help support us for the weekend. Getting through Chicago is always interesting - we lost about 40 minutes in traffic - could have been worse I guess!

We picked up Tristan at the airport Saturday morning and headed to Centennial Park for some ski hill racing. The course is super cool and goes up and down (and up and down again!) a ski hill.

photo thanks to Dave McElwaine

It's especially cool that you can see almost the entire course from the parking lot. Very spectator friendly. It was a beautiful day out - 50s and sunny - perfect conditions for racing! About 20 women signed up for the Elite race. The odds on favorite was Canadian Natasha Elliot who has been having a great season and won both these races last year. From the gun it was her and fellow Canadian Pepper Harlton pushing the pace. I had my usual mediocre start and had to pick off riders on the first lap. By the start of the third lap I passed by Kaitie who was in 4th and saw Pepper and Linda not far in front of me. Linda got a gap and I sat on Pepper's wheel figuring I'd attack her near the end of the race. I just didn't want any of the girls behind us to catch us. With just over a lap to go it was clear she was fading so I went around her and bridged up to Linda. As we heard the bell I pulled through the straightaway before Linda came back around in the technical twisty section.

photo thanks to Jon Safka
Linda was riding incredibly strong and I knew she had rightfully earned 2nd. I crossed the line with a big smile on my face for 3rd. I had an even bigger smile on my face when I saw Kaitie come across for 4th. After some stomach issues in the middle of the race she made up some impressive ground and passed 4 riders on the last lap.

photo thanks to Jon Safka
It was awesome to have 2 of us on the podium. And really if they had done the 5 person podium as they did with the guys we would have had 3 on there. Great results for the Planet Bike women!


After the podium we cleaned up and watched the men race. James made up lots of ground after staring in the last row and finished 13th.
photo thanks to Dave McElwaine

Tristan had an awesome ride and finished on the podium for 5th. Impressive!
photo thanks to Jon Safka

After the race I hung out with my former Kenda teammate Anne and we got some dinner and coffee at the Buck! It was a lot of fun to hang out with her and chat. I haven't seen her since last year when we came for the races and it had been too long! Thanks for coming out and cheering Anne!

The next day's race was on the opposite side of the park. The course was more technical with a few ditches, some twisty sections, and a few short steep climbs. Still plenty of power but not quite the same as Saturday. Here Kaitie, James, and I are hanging out waiting to preride.

photo thanks to Jon Safka

I at least clip in quickly off the line but again I settle into about 10th as we hit the barriers - which they moved on us! During the prior races they were on a hairpin turn and you had to dismount before the turn. Kaitie and I were both fooled and dismounted before the turn and there were no barriers there - they moved them about 100 meters further on a straight section. Woops!
photo thanks to Jon Safka
As we approached the first steep ditch leading to a steep climb Pepper (riding second wheel to Natasha) hit the ground hard forcing nearly everyone to dismount and run up the hill rather than ride. This clogged things up a bit and I spent the lap trying to move up. I was having some trouble with a hairpin turn on a hill and was taking the corner waaaay too slow. At one point I was in 5th place and coming into that turn had to dismount as I nearly hit a tree. Two riders came around me and I was only able to pass one of them before the race was over. On my last lap I was ecstatic to see Kaitie sitting in second place not far behind Natasha! What a great ride by Kaitie - and she was making up time every lap. At the finish Natasha only won by 15 seconds. Watch out for Kaitie - she's having an awesome season thus far!
photo thanks to Dave McElwaine

Linda was riding well also and finished a strong 4th place.
photo thanks to Jon Safka

I ended up 6th - a bit disappointed as I was close to 5th for much of the race but just couldn't close the gap.
photo thanks to Peter Kraiker


They went 5 deep on the podium today so once again Planet Bike had two riders up there. Sweet!
photo thanks to Jon Safka

Kaitie was a rock star today and had lots of post race interviews to attend to.

After all the paparrazi let Kaitie go we went for a cool down before watching the guys race. Here Linda and Kaitie are hamming it up for the camera.
And a bit of refueling with some oatmeal bars - Linda digs in.
The guys raced really well and we had fun shouting at them and handing out Planet Bike beanies to specators. Same finishes as Saturday with James in 13th and Tristan in 5th. Nice job boys!
Here James is jumping on the compression bandwagon with his cool socks.
Tristan representing on the podium.
It was fun to hang out and chat with lots of folks associated with the races. Photographer Peter Kraiker traded me this awesome hat for a couple of Planet Bike beanies. I've been looking for a cool cycling cap and this totally fits that criteria. His son, Zef, makes them and you should check out his website here.
Kaitie wanted her photo taken with Saturday's winner and all around nice guy Tim Johnson.
Tim then asked Kaitie to tell Jeremy Powers that he's not as cool as Tim and that she doesn't want a picture with him.
Kaitie bravely told him what Tim said but quickly clarified that she was just joking. I mean who wouldn't want their picture taken with J Pow.

The Planet Bike ladies also got their photo taken with race promoter Craig - thanks for all of your support of cross and giving the women such great prize money!
photo thanks to Jon Safka

We had fun goofing around with the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld guys as well as Natasha.
photo thanks to Peter Kraiker

We also Punk'd Linda when I decided to move her bike which was parked near the podium area. I hid it behind a truck and Kaitie and I watched from afar as she proceeded to freak out thinking someone had stolen her bike. It was pretty hilarious and she got pretty worried. I'm sure she's scheming of how she's going to get us back - I'm prepared.

We packed up, dropped Tristan off at a hotel, and hit the road to head back home. It was pretty smooth sailing other than about a 15 minute wait at the border.

We made it back to Madison about 2AM and collapsed into bed. Another weekend of travel and racing down. All in all a really fun and successful weekend of racing. Huge thanks to Dave for helping us out with driving, getting the bikes ready, and keeping us organized. Thanks to Jon Safka, Peter Kraiker, and Dave McElwaine for all of the photos. It was great to see all of you guys again. Also much love to the sponsors for helping make it happen - first and foremost Bob and Planet Bike.

USGP weekend #2 on tap with another roadtrip planned to Louisville, Kentucky. We've got a huge crew of Planet Bike riders headed down for some big races. Weather looks wet right now so it may be muddy - oh boy!

Thanks for reading!

3 comments:

Wipt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wipt said...

Hey K Dub, 6th is the magic number times 2 which makes you a mega winner in my books. Can't begin to tell you how happy I am that you like the cap so much, drop me a line to wiptclothing@gmail.com and I'll do my best to express my gratitude. It's a big beautiful bike planet and these hats need to travel!

All the best and thanks for the link!

Zef Kraiker

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