Cross on the Rock Caps Season With National Championships

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By Dave Shishkoff, Photos by Patrick Burnham

December 3, 2012, Nanaimo BC – Racers enjoyed the best of both worlds on Saturday November 24th, with a bright, sunny day, and large swaths of muddy pools to slog through as they copeted in the Cross on the Rock National Cyclocross Championships in Beban Park, Nanaimo. A record 186 cyclocrosser tour de force turned out, shattering the previous record of 140.

The general routing of the course, designed by members of the Mid-Island Velo Association, followed past incarnations, but featured less twists and more straight-aways for an interesting change.

The start was a paved straight into a gentle left-sweeping corner into a grassy field, and a quick rutted, washboard drop, through the woods to the BMX track. About half the track was used, and then back through the woods to one of the most demanding off-camber sections the series has seen – running or riding each brought their own challenges in this section!

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After a steep drop, this led back to one of the longer straights, which allowed racers to build up speed to float through a deeper mud pit at the bottom of the stairs. Mush more mud followed (yes, we said ‘mush’), then a giant sand pit (and unfortunately or thankfully, no whirly-whirl), back to some more more straights and twists around farm buildings to a final trip through a barn leading back to the finish line, all adding up to about 3km per lap. A bit more of a ‘classic’ CX feeling to wrap up the 2012 season!

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BEGINNERS

27 Beginner Men toed the line at 11am to start things off, and CotR veteran James Grant (Trail Bikes-Eatmore Sprouts) just edged out relative newcomer James Ogden (VAC-ProCity) in a sprint finish, with the 14yr old playing his strength over his opponent, a junior by 1 year. Given that 17 of our Beginner racers were 16 or under (and as young as 9 – great riding William Powsey, you rock!), we’re committed to adding a Youth series classification for 2013.

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A minute after the men took off, we let loose the 9 Beginner Women, and 14yr old Rachel Carey(Tripleshot) won her 2nd race of the year, well ahead of Theresa O’Brien(Team Naked) and Andrea Schaeppi(Ind), who chased fiercely. 12yr old Eve Taylor(VAC–ProCity) completed all three laps as well, an impressive accomplishment for this newcomer! We look forward to seeing you all for next year!

INTERMEDIATE

Once again it was a sprint finish for Shelby Harlen(OBB Westshore), who’s made it 3 in a row! This time, however, it was Cheryl Morch(MIVA) who had to settle for 2nd place, and Seana Wright(Alberni SingleSpeeders / Ozzies Cycles) finished a bit back, but had the honor of top (and only women’s) Single-Speed in a field of 22 racers.

The 3rd place finish was softened with the news that Seana was distinguished as the Cross on the Rock Intermediate Women’s Series Champion with 187 points! Only 13pts back was Shelby, and series new-comer Sylvia Storry(ProCity Racing) had her consistent finishes pay off for 162pts and 3rd place in the series. Erin Copeland(Ind) & Cheryl rounded out the Top 5, which featured 40 racers.

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On the Men’s side of things, Single-Speeder Parker Bloom(Stuckylife) was up to his old tricks, as he finished the season with a decisive win over Pelle Gustavs(Sooke Mountain Club), and teammate Geoff Robson(Stuckylife) worked his way from mid-pack to the third step, excited to have his first visit to the podium after 18 races! Now all three can watch the experience vanish forever as they move up to the Expert field. *wink*

The Series final tally was toight – toight like a toiger. But after calculations, and 3pts difference, the Ultimate Champion was Pelle! Parker of course was second, and Joel Taylor(VAC-ProCity) despite DNFing this day, is our junior phenom at 15. Completing the Top 5 Joel Lutz(Ind) and Geoff. Intermediate Men saw 104 different racers by the series end!

MASTERS MEN

Never off the podium, but also never on the top step was Sean Cruickshank, who changed that in Beban Park, winning the race the counts for the most! Guy Ridler(Simons Cycles) secured 2nd for the second time in a row, and Bill McMillan(MIVA) once again climbed on the podium, and also claimed the distinction of Top 50+ rider as well.

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Sean found the top step to his liking that day, as he was also crowned the Masters Series Champion with 193pts. Sam Whittingham(Team Naked) had a rough day on the course, and was in the running for Series Champ, but was pleased to hold onto 2nd overall. Bill also found himself in the same podium spot, with 3rd Overall, joined in 4th and 5th by Dylan Reeves(Tripleshot) and Peter Wellsman(ProCity Racing). Bill, Peter and Barry Rempel(Oak Bay Bikes) had the distinction of the top 50+ racers in the series, and Sam, Lee Blais(Alberni SingleSpeeders) and Mark Oldenburg(Van S.S) were our top Single-Speeders in Masters as well. Total number of Masters riders: 102.

OPEN WOMEN

There must be something to chasing down and passing Master’s Men, as there are probably none on earth who’ve caught and passed as many as Dawn Anderson(Oak Bay Bikes)!! Claiming her 5th win of the year, and career 19th win, our most winning-est racer ever (and visitor to the podium, a record 32 out of 34 starts), wins again! Kelly Jones(Steed Cycles) won the fight for the 2nd step again this year, no stranger to the podium for 3rd was Joele Guynup(Condo Group).

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The Series finale, as expected, was a similar sight. Dawn took top honors, making her Series Champ for the 90th straight year with 94,026pts. Joele’s consistent finishes and perseverance earned her 2nd, and Canada’s Masters CX Champ, Janna Gillick(MIVA), finished 3rd in the series, after a challenging day on the course. Rounding out the Series Top 5 were Kristenn Magnusson(Arrowsmith MTB Club) & Jennie Aitken(OrganicAthlete Victoria). By the end of the season, the Open Women’s field had 19 strong competitors.

EXPERT

When he’s on, he’s on, and on Saturday, Drew Mackenzie(Condo Group/Shimano/Marin) clearly had an On button with an On button on it as well! Drew claimed his third Top finish of the season, followed by the mighty Tyler Trace(Trek Red Truck) and tofu dinner, Thomas Skinner(Oak Bay Bikes) also made the podium for the second time this year. This wouldn’t be a proper report without mentioning that we had two women racing in the Expert feature, and both Wendy Simms(Kona) and Mical Dyck(Pro City Racing – Stans No Tubes) had excellent races, finishing 12th and 14th respectively in the 24-person event.

We knew it’d be a tight finish between Season Series Leader Tom, and Drew, but the three extra points made all the difference for Drew, who clearly wanted the Overall win, and matched his 2010 performance. Third in the series was Raphael Lalumiere(Russ Hays), pretty impressive for his first full season of ‘cross. 4th went to Jamie Cameron(ProCity Racing), matching his placing from last year, although with many less technical difficulties. And demonstrating how consistent his finishes were, despite being away from the final race with double points was Kelly Guest(Marin). The Expert Men welcomed 61 racers by series end.

MORE HIGHLIGHTS

We also awarded a few special awards for the year, although none were easy decisions, congratulations to:

Top Rookie: Parker Bloom

Top Junior Male: Jordan Duncan(Russ Hays)

Top Junior Female: Tarryn Cote(VAC-ProCity)

Most Improved: Janna Gillick

Photo contest winner: Patrick Burnham’s photo of “rubbing is racing” featuring HALLDOR

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A great collection of race footage from Russell Berg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdd5QED0m0s 

CotR #7 from Pelle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjEXOiIbBic 

CTV interview with Cross on the Rocker Janna Gillick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BwPVSS-Ie4 

GRATITUDE

Many thanks to Thank you’s to all volunteers, Arrowsmith Bikes, Island Cycle (prizes), ViEX for forgiving the rental fee, Nanaimo BMX Assn. (washrooms, use of track), Vancouver Island Equestrian Association, Nanaimo Parks and Recreation and the City of Nanaimo.

And thank you to everybody who came out and raced.

FINAL WORDS

That’s a wrap for Cross on the Rock, it’s been an amazing season, and we welcomed 438 individuals to our seven events, and an incredible 1345 ‘races’ (number of people who toed the line, total) – it’s been a blast, and we’ll see you in September, 2013!

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