January 31/05 4:50 am - World's Cyclocross 2005 Final Report
Posted by Editoress on 01/31/05
World's Cyclocross 2005 Final Report
Sitting at dinner tonight with all the members of the Canadian team and the American refugee, Jonathan Page and Family, will be a memory I will cherish forever.
You have read enough stories from myself and Corey so we thought it would be cool to hear from each of the riders about their personal experiences in their races. We have had another awesome time over here with our trip. It was great to have more Canadian racers and support at World's. We personally hope that more people from road, mtb, triathlon or running try cross out and love it as much as we do. The race is something else and I struggle to explain how crazy the whole experience is. We hope to see more Canadians racing at the World Championships in Zeddam or Mol (Masters) in 2006.
Thanks to Rob, editoress, and Canadian Cyclist for posting our reports. We all hope that you have enjoyed them.
I will post even more pictures on the Nanaimo Frontrunners site in the next few weeks if you would like to check them out. (www.frontrunners.ca follow the links to Nanaimo and then to the gallery)
As always thanks to Frontrunners Nanaimo, Helly Hansen and Brodie Bikes.
Please take the time to enjoy their stories.
As a superstitious racer I had seen all the signs. The town was St. Wendel (my niece and nephew call me WENDEL with a southern twang), the Canadian team license plate was WS 22 (my favourite number), my legs felt g-r-e-a-t (thanks to my coach/brother Kevin), the 10ft GO WENDY stamped in the snow outside my room and the course was pretty much perfect for me as it was very technical. I saw all the good mojo but didnt want to jinx myself.
I knew that I wanted a good start to get to the technical stuff early before any crashes, but not too good to blow up like last year. I had a decent start and left the track in the top 10-15. Legs still OK. I rode all the technical stuff and was passing girls as I watched them crash into the fencing, slide out around corners or just ride like they were terrified. The special tires that Corey and Norm had hunted down were amazing. Except for one ice corner, where I crashed and flashed the crowd a good portion of my butt, I cleaned the course. A couple girls would catch me on the false flat climb because I was in my small gear but I wanted to make sure my legs would last. One German chick even grabbed my shoulder and pushed me backwards to get by me!
I was getting cocky and passing in the crud on the downhills when I flatted. I rode it to the pits and did a change from the pink Surly to Coreys new Empella. Zippy Empella!...but the tire pressure was really low and the tires didnt hook up as much so I wanted the pink Surly back. A second bike change and I was back in my comfort zone. A few girls had passed me (including Ann Knapp) but there was still some fight in me so I reeled a few back in. Back and forth, back and forth with some Belgian girl and German girl especially. Bell lap and my legs still felt good so I caught and passed the Belgian girl on the stairs, caught and passed the German girl in the pits. I thought I had dropped her on the track but apparently I was leading her out. A painful sprint finish in too small of a gear and I thought she had caught me but apparently we were dead even. Tied for 11th! I think that might be the best World Championship finish for any Canadian-will have to check
I was hunched over sucking wind at the finish line when Norm and Corey came rushing over. They were SO pumped for me. They have been with me from the start. Helping me train through Xmas, keeping me mentally strong, keeping my equipment in great shape. I couldnt have done it without them. They are my biggest fans. Thanks to my brother Kevin Simms who has been coaching me through Hardwood Hills and managed to peak me to perfection! Thanks also to my soopah fan Tim Goater who organized the Malaspina raffle which helped me get to Germany and all of my co-workers, students, family, friends who bought tickets. Thanks to Helly Hansen who has sponsored me for 2 years and gave me the best poofy jacket that kept me warm through this whole trip. Thanks to Frontrunners Nanaimo who keeps me looking good in a girly kit all year round and Sugoi for my custom skinsuit, eNVy and tufo who keep my bike f-a-s-t. And thanks to the Canadian cyclocross team who made Canada a bigger presence at Worlds this year and thanks to Kris Westwood and the adopted Canadian mechanics Jake & Josh who had our team dialed.
Cyclocross, the fastest growing sport in Canada- you should try it!
I dont know where to start my report, I have learned more about racing in the last 3 weeks than 3 months at home! I was almost crying tears of sheer fright after pre-riding Thursday and taking a HUGE crash on a descent and at least 5 more trying to ride a short, off-camber, reverse shoot that left me covered in cuts, bruises, and lots of mud. Over the next few days, I focused on relaxing so much that come race day I had the best flow experience going on and nailed all the technical bits every lap. I couldnt have asked for a better race. I still made some mistakes and got caught up behind crashes and sketchy girls on the first laps, but overall I rode to the best of my ability. I managed to hang on to a wheel for about half the race, but I started to blow and go backwards finally getting lapped going into my last lap. Getting lapped was the only thing I was disappointed at because I managed to get onto lead lap in a World Cup and C1 the weekend previous. But, the ladies were flying and it was cool just to be there. I am so psyched for next year that I have already made my goals to qualify for the 2006 team and come to Europe after the North American season is over.
I have to thank my sponsor Diet Cheerwine, from the bottom of my heart and the most organized and sincere Team Manager, Anne Boylea. Marty Lazarski for the Bike Pro bag, Anna Garnet who loaned me her cross bike to use as a spare, and my husband and trainer Neil Ross for the awesome program. My family, especially my Gramma, I am so lucky to have you! My friends at Thomas Street Middle School, who keep me working. Ann Knapp, whose special words of encouragement will stay with me always.
To the Team Canada staff and riders, I had the best time with you, special thanks to Jake Frame who went above and beyond, Kris Westwood who taught me that I just had to ride the rut, Greg Reain and Pete Morse who let me hang out with them in Holland, Wendy and Sam for convincing me to come for the experienceyou were right! I am leaving Worlds I better rider than when I arrived.
SAMANTHA SB NICHOLSON
Worlds 2005. After losing 6-months due to a major illness in 2004, I wasnt sure that Id be traveling to Europe for Worlds however, after a great race at Nationals which qualified me for the National Team, St. Wendel beckoned and here I am! The icy, frozen rutted ground and snow covered course was just like racing back home in Alberta, where our cross season is snow and ice bound 80% of the time! My new sub-18-pounds Scandium/Carbon Bianchis (pronounced Bee-anne-chees by the superfans!!) were awesome for the conditions.
After a great start, I was able to blast through the technical sections passing what seemed like dozens of racers. I was in the top half of the pack for the first lap then had some a bit of bad luck having to get off my bike to fix a derailed and locked front chain. I had the same dozen riders pass me while fixing my chain. Then, after bridging up to several riders, I realized that I really did have a flat tire I swapped bikes in the pits telling our Super Star Mechanics I think I have a flat!!!! (HUGE thanks to Jake Frame and Josh!!!)
I totally loved the snow and ice and was super pleased that I was able to ride one of the most technical cyclocross courses in Europe. Its a thrill to be here and should you find yourself in The Netherlands next January, come watch us Canadians at Worlds 2006! And, should you find yourself at Worlds, bring some cool Canadian loot to swap with the other pro teams (Im now sporting a spangly Japanese jersey!!).
I couldnt be here without the endless support of from all the Samantha Super-Fans: The Alberta Bicycle Association, Kevan and the The Bike Shop crew, Dirk Friel at UltraFit/TrainingBible.com, Shell Canada for the sponsored days off work and, of course, my friends, especially Ewan, Brian, Shona, Alan, and my coach.
JOEL (aka Junior)
Premiere saison de cyclocross qui s acheve, avec comme 5e courses les Championnats du Monde. Je suis arrive en Allemagne en grande forme, avec une longue saison sur route derriere moi. Javais comme velo de course, un Bike de Tourring modifie et un deuxieme velo prete par mon ami Bernard Vives. Par contre, jai eu la super chance que Wendy Super Star me prete ses roues. Jai fini 55e a 5min57sec de la tete et deuxieme nord Americain avec une crevaison et deux chutes qui mon lourdement retarde. Je tiens a mentionner que lequipe des USA etait en sol Europeen depuis decembre pour courir. Jai adore cette experience, ce parcour, lambiance, mais et surtout la belle petite equipe que nous etions.
Lan prochain, je vais mettre les efforts pour revenir en force et axer ma saison un peu plus en fonction du cyclocross. Un magnifique sport qui gagne a etre connu. Je devrais aussi revenir avec un vrai bike de cyclocross et non un touring.
Pour finir, je dois remercier plusieurs personnes qui mon permis de vivre cette experience. Sans eux, je naurais jamais eu les moyens de me payer cette experience. Merci a RONA, COWANSVILLE TOYOTA et la Compagnie de comptable a mon ami Yves Parcel, mes principales commnditaire. Merci a mon entraineur Dominique Lemaire, ma famille et ma copine Marie- Pier Bedard. Les magasin de velo Cycles St- Onge, Cycle Regis et Bicyclette Montreal Nord. Pour finir, un merci a tout es participants a mon brunch 2005 et tout ceux qui crois en moi. Alors, on se voit cette ete sur Route avec mon equipe Espoirs Laval
OK, so I guess that Ill try to keep this short given all the other stuff yall are going to have to read about this race, so here we go. The whole Worlds thing didnt get off to a great start when our Dutch chauffer made sure we left at 4.30 am to get to St. Wendal from where we were staying near Utrecht in the Netherlands. For some weird-ass Euro reason he was thinking it would take 7-1/2 hrs to cover the 400km we had to do. Needless to say we arrived in plenty of time, but I guess thats better than being late. I got to turn a couple laps of the course on Thursday, and was less than comfortable with the conditions.
St. Wendal had received some snow over the previous week and the ground was well frozen, so everything was super-sketch. This was the first time that I had seen conditions like this and I actually found myself hoping for some good ol Belgian mud. Anyway, I got things pretty dialed in and all was cool. It was nice to hook up with the rest of the Canuck squad and swap some stories from home; its totally rad racing over here, but its still nice to hang out with some old friends. We also managed to convince a couple of Yanks to defect, and that was cool. Josh Snead and Jake Frame went nuts with the mechanic duties and made sure that the bikes were always clean and running tight. Its nice to not have to stress about keeping all your crap going when theres a big race hanging over your head.
I was trying to treat this as just another race, since really I had no expectations of pulling out a freak top ten finish but the atmosphere surrounding the Worlds is pretty unbelievable. Id be lying if I said I wasnt nervous on Sunday morning. It was definitely a trip to squeeze into a Canadian team skinsuit, and the red kneewarmers that Tara lent added that extra pro touch. Nice. Everyone seems to love Canada, and theres always someone cheering for us even when were just warming up.
The start was on a rubberized running track and I was really stressed about crashing, so I took it pretty easy and naturally got dropped right away. Starting from the back row didnt help either, but thats the way it is sometimes. I managed to stay upright on the first lap and move up a couple of spots to get into a small group, but then I managed to make my rear tire explode on a really sketchy downhill and had to take a spare bike (silky smooth, thanks guys).
From that point on I was on my own and just trying to keep going forward, cause I was really hurting and obviously not on my best form of this trip. Regardless, the crowds were really enthusiastic in yelling their support and they even had start lists so they could cheer for us my name. They like it even more when you almost crash right in front of them. So in spite of the less than perfect form and my general unease about the race surface, I almost managed to make the lead lap which was rather encouraging. I got to watch Sven Nijs finally make it across the line first in the World Champs, followed closely be Vervecken and Vanthourenhout making it a Belgian 1-2-3. Basically the Worlds is just Belgian Nationals Part 2.
Thats about it. I fly back to Ottawa on Tuesday, then I get a bit of a break before going to Carolina to train for the next part of the season. I should really thank Kris Westwood for making this come together and sharing his wealth of cyclocross racing knowledge. Thanks also to Paul Haym of Great West Bikes (Challenge Tires), Dave Shirley of OGC (Mavic wheels), Kim Guntzel of Cycles Lambert (Time Pedals), Matty Stephens of Kona (Jake da Snake), Vince Caceres and the crew at the Cyclery, Ian Fraser and the Family at Cyclelogik in Ottawa, and everyone in Ottawa who helped me get my shit together and get over here to realize the dream. Be sure to check out the weblog at www.crazyfast.blogspot.comfor the full details on my six weeks here and my season to come.
Thanks for reading,
JAKE FRAME (REFUGEE MECHANIC- USA)
Im not quite sure where to begin. My first full year on the North American Cyclocross scene couldnt have ended better. When I agreed to help out team Canada at the World Championships in St. Wendel, Germany, I had no idea what I was getting into. When thinking of coming into the World Championships, you think about the biggest race of the year and the most uptight racers and management that you can think of.
This presumption was totally inaccurate.
My first experience with Team Canada was meeting them to get accreditation for the championships. Everyone was very relaxed and low key with no egos flying about. As the days moved along, I found a group of top level racers of the highest class who had nothing to lose and absolutely no expectations and just wanted to go out, represent their country to the best of their ability and have a great time.
Working with Team Canada throughout this event brought the meaning of the sport of Cyclocross to the forefront of my mind. Cyclocross is about going out and racing your bike against worthy competitors while at the same time making the most of the experience and having a great time.
Canada bleeds the atmosphere of Cyclocross, and I am glad that I was able to be a part of it and look forward to witnessing the growth of the sport in this country in the coming years! Because of the mindset of those competitors and the management whom I participated with this year, I am confident that Cyclocross in Canada will grow and prosper. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes and am very proud to have played a part in the successes of the 2004 World Canadian Cyclocross team. Congratulations to all and good luck in the future. I look forward to see you all soon!
Last note from Corey (Entertainment Director for the Canadian Team)
Well as Norm said at this point its about the racers and they all did awesome. You tell how much heart and soul these people have, spending their own money, fundraising and not having much support while they are here (Although more than last year). They gave it their all and I was proud to be a part of it.
It was so cool to meet Joel here, I dont think he ever didnt have a smile on his face. I knew Samantha from last year and it was nice to see her again. The eastern crew of Tara, Greg and Peter are super people.
Of course the main reason Im here is Wendy, she rocked the race! I was going nuts in the pits and I am so pumped on her result knowing how hard she worked. We may not have the biggest team or the most money to spend but we do our best and we have a good time.
Everything went smooth before, during and after all the races. Our pits were as good or better than any here. The term too many cooks comes to mind when thinking of the bigger teams. Its been a great trip.
Thanks to Kris, Caroline, Dave, Jake and Josh for being here and doing what they do best. Extra thanks to Norm for making me part of this. I hope the reports have been enjoyed and I cant wait for Zeddam next year. Thanks