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Cyclocross–Perth Style!

As many of you know, yesterday was the first ever cyclocross race in Perth.  As part of the Ottawa Bicycle Club series organized by Bob Woods, Conlon Farm was selected as a venue for one of this years races.  I awoke early yesterday and met Bob and a few dedicated volunteers at 7am.  We began placing flags, stakes and tape to mark the tricky, twisty course, and ensure that it was challenging yet fun for all racers.  The first race (Women, kids, Master’s Men 40+) started just a few minutes late at 9am, and had a fantastic turnout, with 101 racers at the start line (99 of whom finished the race.)  The light rain/mist and cool temperatures didn’t seem to deter many, but did make for challenging ‘greasy’ turns, especially the ‘slalom’ descent of the toboggan hill!

At 10am, the ‘A’ race hit the start line (Elite and Junior racers) with ~50 riders (no official count available yet, unfortunately) ready to race.  The beach volleyball court had been transformed from a single lane sand ‘chute’ to a diabolical double ‘out and back’ with a 180 degree turn, challenging even the strongest bike handlers.  The pace was fast and furious, with young gun Evan McNeely taking and holding a commanding early lead and simply out-riding and out-cornering all competitors to win by a substantial margin.

However, in the true spirit of ‘cross, individual battles were won and lost on the course.  Many riders have no hope of winning or placing, but come out week after week to ‘suffer’ and challenge themselves.  I should know, as I’m one of those riders.  After not having a strong start, I relegated myself to the mid/end of the pack and focussed on riding as cleanly and smoothly as possible.  It took me 4 or 5 laps, but I finally managed to ride the entire sand pit without putting a foot down or dismounting, which was a small personal victory for me.  A clean descent of the toboggan hill still eludes me, but perhaps that’s what it’s all about.

The following blog post by fellow racer Matt Surch really sums up the day:

Spectators were many, with the loud, boisterous bell ringing and horn blowing that many riders love to hear in full effect.  Many positive comments were heard from racers, and ‘the Facebook’ is awash with praises about the course and the venue in general.  With any luck, this means that we’ll be back next year, likely in even greater numbers!

Thanks to all who helped out and to those who came to watch!


Comment from Matt Surch
Time October 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Hey Darren, thanks for the link, and for helping set up the course, much appreciated. It was great! I look forward to racing there again.

Congrats on your book, looks great!

Comment from Darren
Time October 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Thanks Matt. Glad you enjoyed it! I knew Conlon Farm had potential (I use it for training) but wasn’t sure exactly what Bob had in mind. Turns out he knew exactly what to do!

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