Beer, Chili, Robots, Crashes, Disqualifications.

BK Memorial CX – Oct 30, Calgary

A pretty interesting two days of ‘cross up here in Cowgary, Oilberta. This was the first weekend since Sept that saw back to back racing, at home, over both days of the weekend and it was nice to not have to drive to Edmonton again. There’s a heck of a lot to be said about rolling out of your own bed and not some hostel, putting on some tunes, opening your fridge and deciding what to eat, then driving familiar roads to go check out the course. Getting kitted up at home is also nice, as opposed to that awkward changing-out-of-the-hatchback-with-a-towel-around-you routine that usually always sees someone get flashed.

Saturday’s race was the BK Memorial, in honor of Brian Kullman, who was a Synergy Racing club member and an avid ‘cross racer. Tragically, BK was murdered about four years ago. I didn’t know Brian really well but he always had a smile and a hello and seemed like a pretty cool guy. I thought of him, wherever he is, washing some frites and mayo down with a cold Duvel and ringing a cowbell for the racers. It was a beautiful, sunny day for it and a great crowd of happy people turned up to race in his name and honor. Bravo.

I started out pretty well in this one. Not ‘pretty well’ in the big picture, but ‘pretty well’ for myself. I settled into the middle of the group and was riding my own race, just looking to ride with skillz and be clean. To finish and to not crash. (That’s foreshadowing, by the way.) It was all going according to plan. Right until midway through lap 2. Just as we hit the asphalt section – which was, luckily, both the fastest and hardest surface on the circuit – and some guy got himself completely off course and thought we were turning right. We weren’t. We were going straight. But he turned right anyway and cruise missiled his Kona Jake the Snake right through my front wheel. Almost like I wasn’t even there. I was on my ass and sliding before I could blink. He apologized, said it was his mistake, all his fault, that kind of thing, but in the end I was the guy picking himself up from the ground, bleeding, and trying to ride three more laps with some new found road rash, soreness, and a discombobulated bike. Total accident though and what can ya do, y’know? Choke a guy? That’s racing and no hard feelings. All good.

I hung in for 2 more laps and around 4 more crashes before I pulled the plug and DNF’d myself. A hard crash early on can really mess with your ability to ride smooth and I sure felt it. I’ve sworn to not DNF, but this was different – I wasn’t pulling out ’cause it was hard – I was pulling out ’cause my bike was rebelling from me after I had augured it into the ground something like a million times. I had pulled the stem back into alignment and reseated the dropped chain twice, but the brake levers were both pushed inward about 4 inches, and I’d almost rolled the front clincher off the rim. It had little tufts of grass under the bead and the tire was no longer seated correctly. It made it damn hard to navigate and nerve wracking to do it at speed with rattled nerves and low confidence. Ah well. There was always Sunday’s race.

Except, for me, there wasn’t any racing Sunday, unfortunately…but that’s my own fault. And vodka can share some blame.

That’s me, top right corner, right before I got passed by 6 dudes. Richard McKenty is flying Synergy colours, second from left, in his 2nd ‘cross showing. Well done, sir! Also in appearance was Alex Kay, who hails from the Ship and Anchor, or the Calgary Velodrome, depending on whether it’s Thursday at 7:00 or Thursday at 9:00.

Richard’s very cool girlfriend, Sanghamitra, showed up with some support and was rad to take photos of other Synergists racing. Cheers! Here I am running the barriers and looking like I want to puke. One thing I’ll say is that I’ve eradicated that little extra hop I used to take before remounting. It’s full on two footed, flying commitment the last 3 or 4 races. Unless I’m cross eyed and have no co-ordination.

These stairs were hard. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Jesus. I just couldn’t do them 2 at a time after the first lap. There was about forty and they came right after a hard left turn so you couldn’t carrying any momentum unless you swung really wide, which was hard to do while clipping out and preparing to dismount and hit the ground running. Keith Bayley designed the course and he’s a devious genius. Super hard. Super fun. So many cool little features kept you on your toes.

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