By George Garrett
At this year’s Good Friday Road Race I found out that you don’t make idle promises to Sandy Cheskey. I just happened to ask her if the newsletter was done on Microsoft Word or not? Sandy said ‘yes’ and asked me why? I said I was thinking of writing an article about my riding escapades in Arizona during our holiday in the Sedona area in March. I’m afraid the story didn’t happen in spite of Sandy’s request in one issue but I just thought you folks being roadies wouldn’t appreciate an article on some fine mountain bike rides in beautiful Red Rock country. Right? That’s almost as bad as Rob’s article on cross country skiing in a past issue that drew the ire of one member for being off topic but I think I’m going to take a chance and go ahead with a dissertation on a fat tire race that I recently participated in that might even interest bikers from the turned down handlebar set. So indulge me.
I used to do all the O.C.A. x-country races in my earlier years but, since I became a member of the over-the-hill age group (over 50), I found that I would have to race against 40 year olds to remain in the expert class as there was no 50+ category. They did have a Grand Master class but the powers-at-be didn’t figure that we age-challenged competitors could go the distance so they decided that if the expert race was 40km long then our event would be only 20km. I figured that, if I had to spend $30 for a race, I at least wanted to get some mileage out of it so I went looking for another series to compete in and found it in the Enduro Cup. This is a series of four 50km off-road races that usually involve one 50 or two 25 km laps of mostly single track trails and very little road work. I know you thin-wheeled addicts scoff at a 50 km race but when you throw in tight switchback uphills and downhills, loose off-camber tracks, ice and snow (the first race is in March), roots, rocks, mud, river crossings, bone-jarring field crossings and, of course, the odd rain storm to completely change the traction thing and you’ve got the makings of a lot of fun and even the best riders have trouble cracking the 3 hour barrier. Now that’s more entertainment for your riding dollar plus they have an over 50 class.
The season for
this series ends in late September so there’s still good weather left to
wonder where to channel all this left-over fitness that you’ve worked so hard
to attain – riiiight!!
The answer came via an e-mail from Hardwood Hills in regards to an event they called the Raid. Having competed in a Raid The North adventure race last year in Furnie, B.C. this event caught my eye as a possible season ender. A ‘Raid’ designation usually means a long arduous affair so it was well suited to my warped way of thinking. The literature on this event mentioned 80+ km of single track, hills (both up and down I’m afraid), gravel roads and a few surprises to test the competitor’s mettle. The race was to be on Oct 21 so I was sure the weather was also going to hold a few surprises as well. It sounded like a challenge so I sent away my money.
Every event that’s written up in our (and everybody else’s) newsletter has a mention about the weather right off so I was determined not to do this but it seems like the weather plays such a big role in any cycling event it’s hard not to put in a few words just to let the readers know that these things had to be contended with as well as the arduous task of putting down one pedal stroke after the other.
When I pulled into the parking lot at Hardwood, I noticed a fair number of riders were wearing shorts & jerseys with a few tights sprinkled in amongst the less hardy. When I stepped out of my truck (heated, of course) the first words out of my mouth were ‘Holy s—t it’s cold out here. My admiration for the short & jersey crowd went up a notch but I wasn’t to be fooled by them. I put on tights and a light jacket as well and went out for a warmup and found I was still freezing so I wheeled back and added a few more bits of clothing. While I was doing this I noticed a thermometer on a building and it was reading 5 degrees C and the forecast was saying cold, windy with rain off and on all day. I didn’t get to be this old by being stupid which is what I thought of the short and jersey fools with a forecast like that. I also stuffed the pockets of my H.C.C. jacket with extra gloves, Lifa, headband and lots of food - just in case.
Because there was mention of some gravel road sections, I’d taken the time to put some aero bars (not the chocolate kind) on the bike just to get that last bit of speed out of the old steed. I was using a full suspension bike as well just because, when you get older, you like to be comfortable while you’re beating yourself up.
The start went off without a hitch with me starting at the front of the pack (80 riders) and within 10 metres I was somewhere near the back. Didn’t these guys know that we had 80 km to go??? These were the same guys in shorts and jerseys - I guess they were trying to get warm somehow.
We were a good 2 km into the ride when the weather forecast decided to become a reality and for the next 78 km we were never alone. We had the pitter-patter of rain on the brain-bucket to keep us company. Rain, 5 degrees and wind chill augmented by the speed of the bike – a beautiful combination for a fine case of hypothermia. Shorts and jerseys, eh?
When we got to the first road section, (headwind, of course) I dropped down onto the old aero bars and was cruising along. I looked over my shoulder to see 6 or 7 riders in my slipstream enjoying a free ride and probably wishing I was a lot faster but they weren’t wanting to pass and take a turn. I also noticed there wasn’t a pair of tights among them.
The pre-race talk had warned us of a few things to watch out for – this sharp turn, that sharp turn, a 3’ deep rut on a high speed descent hidden by leaves – you know, the normal MTB stuff. They also made mention of a Hike-A-Bike section after check point 4. Being a lover of technical riding, I was sure that this section could be ridden and was looking forward to proving them wrong.
When we got to CP 4 (14 altogether) the organizers had the good sense to have hot chocolate, cookies and bananas to help keep the inner fires burning. I was still feeling fine – a little wet but otherwise OK so I decided to skip the food and keep going and in the process pick up a few positions because a lot of riders were stopping to warm up as the next stretch was on the road and that was bound to sap the heat out of wet bodies. Once again I was glad of the aero bars that helped get me down out of the wind somewhat. The road section ended with a quick single track that lead down a hill to – a river crossing - 20’ wide and 4’ deep. The start of the Hike-a-Bike! There is a difference between getting wet from rain and deliberately completely immersing yourself in a fast moving stream. Hypothermia seemed certain now. I decided to beat it through the bush following going downstream looking for a shallower crossing. I went about 100 metres and found a 4” diameter leaning tree that started at ground level on my side and gradually climbed to about 4’ above the far shore. ‘This will have to do’ I said to myself and started across carrying my bike thinking all along what a fine mess the bearings would be in if I slipped off the tree and went swimming with bike in hand. As luck would have it I managed to make it across and jumped down onto dry land patting myself on the back about the way I had outsmarted them all and stayed ‘dry’. I got back on the trail only to find that it went through a mud bog that was shin deep and very wet. ‘This couldn’t last for long’ I once again said to myself and I was right. After only 3km of pushing/carrying the bike through this mess I came to the next road. So much for my technical riding expertise and for dry shoes, socks and tights and the ride was only at the halfway point.
The trails up to this point had been sandy and wet which really works away on the brake pads so they were slowly becoming non-existent. After the bog slog they definitely were non-existent and all the adjustment had been used up. Who needs brakes anyway – they only slow you down. The next few sections consisted of twisty single track with just as twisty downhill sections and me with no brakes. There were quite a few missed corners and narrowly missed tree trunks but we made it through with all body parts intact.
At one of the checkpoints I stopped for the hot chocolate and asked one of the volunteers how much farther 'til the end and she said about an hour. I asked her if that was true no matter how fast or slow I rode and she wasn’t sure.
I was well into my 4th hour and wondering where the hell I was when I started to notice signs that said I was on private property and passes were needed to use the trails. What a happy feeling when I realized that I was back on Hardwood property and only had the long downhill to complete and I was finished. I was impressed at the finish line that they had a computer set in the wall of a hut that was constantly being update with results and by the time I went round to look at it my position was up there. I managed a 6th out of 20 competitors in the over 40 class at 4 hours and 41 minutes good enough for 22nd overall.
A hot pasta meal was supplied by the organizers and filled the hole very well.
The next day I checked the internet for complete results and found out that more than a few riders were out there in the elements for more than 8 hours – now that’s perseverance.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. There’s something compelling to me about out-of-the-ordinary events so I am adding this event to my calendar for next year – and then next year I’ll be looking for something more!
GREETINGS TO ALL H.C.C. MEMBERS!
from Rob Cheskey
Apologies for the newsletter getting out a bit late this month; for the last two years Sandy and I have been pretty steady at circulating it by the 15th of every second month. I take the blame; I’ve been slow at putting this together.
It’s January 15th today, another lackluster winter day in southern Ontario; tried to go skiing (x-c) at Glen Eden today as I have done during previous winters, as a ‘last resort’ when there is no snow anywhere else nearby. Unlike during past winters, I was ‘turned away’ at this downhill facility. I’m still not sure why, but the ‘main boss’ wasn’t there and the underlings don’t want to ‘take chances’ on accidents/injuries/lawsuits. So I drove home and rode on my ‘trainer’ in the basement, listened to two ‘Beatles’ CD’s 1962-67.
It seems the ‘lawsuit’ looms as a big threat in today’s world. In this regard, you’ll notice the extra INSURANCE FEE on our membership form, and the WAIVER FORM to fill out. We don’t like this ‘red tape’ stuff, but we have to comply, so please fill out the forms and send them to us, with membership renewal and insurance fee.
Neil Ross, the head coach of the ‘High Performance Training Group’ has had Saturday morning rides from Westdale ‘Second Cup’ in Hamilton at 9:00 a.m. I attended the ride on December 8th, before our A.G.M. later that day, and thought that it was a good ride. The emphasis is on recruiting and developing young riders for the H.P. program, but other riders are welcome, and familiar faces included Mat Kings (new H.C.C. member – was 3rd in Sr 1 and 2 men, Hamilton Crit 2001), Chris Komar and Leigh Hobson (winner Women’s Good Friday Race 2000). Young riders included H.C.C.’s Jennifer Szelag.
Later that same day Don Sloan was ‘sworn in’ as new H.C.C. President. Hope to see Don at the ‘oval office’ (the Windham Centre track). He says he’s been riding a ‘fixed’ on his wind-trainer.
Frank’s report on the A.G.M. follows:
ATTENDEES: Albert Penrose, Frank Morrow, Don Sloan,
Martin Reid, Keith Oliver, Doug Smith, Mike Szelag, Randy Brown, Rob Cheskey
1. Keith Oliver proposed that Albert Penrose chair the
meeting, which Don seconded. Albert accepted the task.
OF OUT-GOING EXECUTIVE
PRESIDENT’S REPORT; Rob felt we had a good year
with a membership increase from 55 to 82, and a much increased participation in
the mid-week events. The club weekend events unfortunately had a low turnout.
Our two O.C.A. events were well attended with 235 at Good Friday. Rob was
pleased with the organization, and police presence, and felt that the prize
money was important in drawing more racers. Rob is stepping down from the Good
Friday organization in 2002.
VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT; Don Sloan expressed his
pleasure at working with a good team, and was sorry to see Rob step down from
RACE SECRETARY’S REPORT; Randy felt the mid-week
events were going well, but wants to see larger turnouts at the weekend events.
There were some suggestions from the group about the safety of the turn around
on the White Swan Course (This will be examined later). Randy also wanted to fit
in a track and a mountain bike event into the schedule.
TREASURER’S REPORT; Keith presented all with a
printed copy of his report. He warned of increasing insurance costs, increasing
medal costs, and the danger of financial problems due to a possible low turnout
at the “Earlier” Good Friday event for 2002. Mike Szelag suggested extending
medals/awards to casual events (Non Competitive, and kids) to benefit those
members of the club. He suggested looking into sponsorship as a new source of
revenue for the club. He also suggested building from the “Kid’s” end of
things with events such as easier group rides with pancakes at the end. Rob was
happy with the club’s good financial position under Keith’s guidance.
PUBLICITY DIRECTOR’S REPORT; Martin mentioned the flyers
that were distributed through libraries and bike shops. The monocolour version
was perfectly acceptable. He has tried to keep the web-site up to date, which
was appreciated by all the members. He would like to get the word out to more
media if time permits.
SECRETARY’S REPORT; Frank expressed his
appreciation of the efforts of the executive members to get out to all the
meetings, but was somewhat disappointed in the meeting process itself. His main
complaint was that the meetings were not as efficient as they could be, partly
due to his own shortcomings as secretary. The idea was to have better-planned
meetings with an agenda available before the meeting to help focus discussion.
He would also like to ensure better distribution of the minutes well before the
meetings, so that action items would not go unresolved until the next meeting.
PRESIDENT: DON SLOAN;
Martin nominated Don Sloan, Seconded by Keith Oliver. Don accepted the position.
Don nominated George. Keith seconded. Martin nominated Rob Cheskey; Rob declined
. (George was absent but had expressed his willingness to assume the position.)
OLIVER; Rob nominated Keith, Mike Szelag seconded. Keith accepted.
MORROW; Don nominated Frank. Martin seconded. Frank accepted.
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: SANDY CHESKEY
RACING SECRETARY: RANDY BROWN; Keith nominated Randy. Rob seconded.
ASSISTANT RACING SECRETARY: MIKE SZELAG; Rob nominated Mike. Martin seconded.
PUBLICITY DIRECTOR: MARTIN REID: Randy nominated Martin.
Mike seconded. Martin accepted.
NEWSLETTER EDITOR: SANDY & ROB CHESKEY; Don nominated
Sandy and Rob. Mike seconded. (Sandy was absent, but had expressed a desire to
retain the job.
Mike commented on the funds
available to his race in Hamilton due to sponsors/advertising. He worked with
Tim Horton’s and C.K.O.C. (among others), and saw this as a means to shore up
finances when putting on an event.
Albert mentioned the Glanbrook
area as a possible venue for both a 15km road circuit, and as a Haldebrook road
time trial. His suggestion was related to Mike’s desire to use the Hamilton
area more. The attendees agreed to check out this area for future use.
Don made a brief speech expressing his honour at
being President. He expects the executive to do the bulk of club work,
mentioning that each of the executive members had strengths that they should use
to fulfill their positions.
The meeting was closed, with the scheduling of the first meeting of the
new executive put off until
Don and Frank could get together and define a date and location as early
as possible in
2002 Awards Banquet
MIREK MAZUR just returned (as of January 14th) from his first 2002 TRAINING CAMP, held at Clemson, South Carolina, where about 20 eager riders spent two weeks of hilly training.
HENRY DUDKO headed down for the camp and got stuck in Lackawanna for four hours during the Buffalo snowstorm on December 27th. Henry had to dig his car out of deep snow several times with his snow brush! Mirek predicts that Henry will have a strong year; I’m sure that nearly two weeks of 120k rides in the mountains will help! PETER MAZUR was in fine form at Clemson and will soon be heading to Europe, to live at the Mapei ‘team hotel’. He will spend this year racing for a small team in Switzerland.
Mirek leaves February 1st for his second training camp of 2002, at TUCSON, ARIZONA. Henry plans to attend, as does FRED PEPPER.
Mirek might be seen this year riding his beautiful new COLNAGO C-40, but he doesn’t plan to race on it; ‘it’s too nice for that,’ he says.
H.C.C. and C.T.T.A. Champion RANDY BROWN was out doing a 101k ride (Paris et environs) on Thursday, January 10th – in 3 ¾ hours, and all he consumed was a part-bottle of water.
KEITH OLIVER regularly stops in at a Toronto fitness club after work, before the commute home to Burlington.
SPINNING CLASSES are popular with some riders, including FRANK & JUDY MORROW. FRED PEPPER tried it and says it’s a great workout.
TARAS KLEBAN is training for the upcoming season, where he is focusing on TRACK. Taras was the winner of all four events at the 2001 Provincial Track Championships in his last junior year. He also won medals at Bromont, Quebec and competed at Edmonton in track. The year’s TRACK NATIONALS will be at Bromont where Taras has shown he can do well.
The TORONTO BIKE SHOW takes place at the NATIONAL TRADE CENTRE, EXHIBITION PLACE, March 1 –3.
As I’ve done for many consecutive years, I am racing CROSS COUNTRY SKIING this winter; did two races so far, the MUSKOKA LOPPET, a ‘classical’ event, and the RESOLUTION RACE, a ‘skating’ event where I saw quite a few other CYCLISTS participating, including new H.C.C. member GARNETT ABBEY.
There are races every weekend now; my main focus for this season is the WORLD MASTERS CUP, February 22nd to March 3rd at Valcartier, Quebec. The W.M.C. generally takes place in North America every 3rd year. Scandinavia and Europe host this annual event between visits to North America. The W.M.C. is a truly international experience for cross-country ski racers age 30 and over. I competed at the W.M.C. at LAKE PLACID, N.Y. in 1998 and felt like I was at the Olympics. There are mass-start races of three distances over the week, in ‘five-year age groups’. You choose either classical or freestyle technique for each of the three distances (30, 10 and 45 km).
As a ‘for instance’, in my first race, the 30k classical, at Lake Placid, there were 69 entries from 14 different countries in my age group. The winner was Italian followed by an Estonian, two Russians, a German then three Americans. Twelve Canadians were entered, with the fastest three in 11th, 13th and 24th places. I was 24th (room for improvement this time around).
YOU CAN RACE ‘TIL YOU CAN’T GO NO MO’
The oldest ‘five year age group’ was 80-85 year olds, in which there were five competitors (20k classic). An 85 year old Swede won, followed by an 83 year old Russian, an 81 year old Italian and an 83 year old German. 83 year old Canadian Georges Girard D.N.F.’ed the race.
H.C.C.’s Dave Harrison and Harold Osborne are also ski racers who have ‘signed up’ for the Val Cartier M.W.C.
Randy, Frank and I traveled to Port Hope in pouring
rain for this race. Randy was able
to take out a one-day licence to participate.
The rain let up, but the course was soggy and muddy; very muddy in some
stretches. The course included a
long, steep run-up. Randy and I
raced Master B category; Frank in the Master C.
We started together with the Master A’s and Juniors, the course taking
a half lap of an oval, graveled track before ascending the hill.
I positioned myself at the start line behind Junior
racer Eric Batty, who I’d met in Edmonton.
I knew he’d start fast. The
gun sounded and we tromped it. Suddenly,
Eric crashed heavily and I crashed too. I
got up to see the bunch riding away, down the track. I later found out that Eric had broken his chain; the boy’s
just too strong? So I had some
catching up to do. My left knee was
bleeding and I had other hurts from the crash, but racing was uppermost on my
mind. I felt like I was the ‘favourite’
in our category, for I’d won the provincial cyclocross the last two years and
gone to Edmonton three weeks earlier; I felt real pressure to win again and not
be embarrassed . . . none of these other B’s had gone to the Nats.
My bike seemed unscathed ‘cept for left brake
lever bent over and bar tape chewed. I
caught Glen Laycock, who I thought to be my main rival, after three laps. Bikes and racers alike were very muddy
by now. My knees bothered me on the
long run-up, so I wasn’t able to make a move there. I tried to drop Glen on the hard riding
parts of the course, but these stretches weren’t long enough; we’d come to a
muddy turn; his superior ability at maintaining speed on narrow, twisting or
muddy sections was like Randy’s. Speaking
of Randy, I hadn’t seen him, so I asked Glen if Randy was ahead. He said no, so I guess I must have
passed him at some point – must be tunnel vision.
During the last lap, I tried again to shake Glen
but couldn’t during the final section of muddy trail. We jumped the final barriers and hit the oval track for the
final 200 metres. Glen came around
me and won the sprint. At least it
wasn’t bitterly cold as we hosed down the bikes and ourselves. We imagined ‘cross racers in Europe
had these racing conditions more often than not (wet and muddy).
And that was it . . . another season of cyclocross
over; we said our goodbyes to all our friends; we may race against each other
but we’re all friends. The
grueling, difficult nature of cyclocross makes us a closer-knit group.
I felt sorry for Andrew Croutch. He’d won every ‘cross race through October and November
on our southern Ontario circuit, Senior Men’s category, but today could only
achieve 4th place. All
the other races were dry; not this one. Sometimes
you need to be a mudder.
RANDY BROWN has been named as
RACE ORGANIZER for the Good Friday Road Race to be held on March 29th
this year. George Garrett and Frank
Morrow have been active in arrangements for Good Friday, with the City of Guelph
and the O.C.A. The ‘Community
Events’ group will once again do marshaling and first aid at our Hanlon
Business park course in GUELPH.
Please contact Randy at
519-442-2118 to offer assistance at the event.
FOR THE NEWSLETTER
Just reading over our January 2001 edition,
I got to enjoy again the entertaining articles sent in by the multi
talented John Bonfield, Don
Sloan and Fred Pepper. This issue features an article be George
Garrett, as well as my own stuff. To
keep our newsletter great, please send in YOUR stories for our readers!
READ THE FOLLOWING CAREFULLY
Hamilton Cycling Club is affiliated with the Ontario Cycling Association, who
require that each of our active club members be covered by insurance. In previous years, the insurance premium
was less and the club absorbed the cost, but now for 2002, we have been forced
to increase the membership fee to cover this cost. Our membership fee now includes a $10.00 premium that the
club pays to the O.C.A. on your behalf.
you have paid this insurance premium directly to the O.C.A. by purchasing a
racing licence, please deduct $10.00 from the membership fee.
Family Memberships, please add $10.00 per active (in H.C.C. events) family
member for insurance.
Honourary Members, please submit the $10.00 premium, if you are a participant in
& ASSUMPTION OF RISK
GUARDIAN ACKNOWLEDGMENT, RELEASE & INDEMNITY
Hamilton Cycling Club member must complete and send back to us the WAIVER FORM. For members under 18 years of age BOTH
FORMS must be completed.
Our Membership year is January 1st to December 31st,
so please renew RIGHT AWAY!
HAMILTON CYCLING CLUB
APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP, 2002
(Please complete ALL sections even
if this is a renewal.)
AGE (as of 31/12/01): _____ Date of Birth: _______________ Day/Month/Year
CATEGORY (see below): ________________________________________________
Family $50 +$10 per active family
Senior (18 or older at 12/31/01) $40
Junior (15-17 inclusive) $25 + $10
Cadet (13-14 inclusive) $25 + $10
Veteran (40 or older) $40 + $10
Honourary $10 (insurance)*
*Note that for 2002 there will be an additional $10 per rider for O.C.A. insurance. This covers you when riding in club events. Only if you have obtained such insurance when applying for a race license or as a member of another club can we waive the $10 fee.
If joining as a family, please
include the following information:
DATE OF BIRTH (d/m/y)
OF APPLICANT: _______________________________________
OF PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN: ________________________
(if under 18 years)
By signing the above, I declare that I, _______________________________, am not under suspension by any other athletic governing body. I will agree to abide by the rules of the Hamilton Cycling Club as stated in its constitution and rules. I agree for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators to waive any and all claims for personal injury and/or damage that I may have against the Hamilton Cycling Club including its executive officers, members or representatives for any and all injuries received while taking part in any and all activities organized, sponsored or sanctioned by the Hamilton Cycling Club.
Please make your remittance payable
to The Hamilton Cycling Club and mail along with your
Release, Waiver, Assumption of Risk
& Indemnity form(s) to:
Design by QEF Contact webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org