Beer, Chili, Robots, Crashes, Disqualifications Vol. 2

Beans and Barley – Calgary, Oct. 31

Beans and Barely, for me, anyway, is a way more appropriate name. This would’ve been a great race to ride in. Unfortunately, waking up ten minutes before your category starts makes it pretty difficult to get a good position and I didn’t feel that my pounding headache would be all that enjoyable elevated to around 170 beats per minute. Here’s a tip from a first year cyclocross participator – and I prefer that term as I can’t really consider, in all honesty, the tortoise like pace I drag my 200 pounds around the course to be ‘racing’ – don’t substitute water for vodka as a post event hydration supplement. Jesus. So I took my time getting out and showed up to cheer on some friends and colleagues.

This race had a stellar atmosphere. Many rolled in costume and there was both beer and chili onsite. The course looked great and the racing was fast. Synergist Richard McK raced the Sport event and represented while other Synergist Mark McConnell amped it up after a couple of laps, coming from behind to take the lead for the final half of the Expert race, taking the win by around 20 seconds. He seemed to be getting faster as time went on and I think he’ll be winning some more races in the future.

Second place in men’s Expert went to Katie Curtis who is easily one of the smoothest riders out there. She attacked from third position to nab the spot with about two hundred meters to go and rocked a Tim Horton’s costume while doing it. Nicely done. Edmonton’s Pepper Harlton also raced this category and took fourth place. We’ve got some damn fast women in Alberta. Shawn Bunnin won Men’s Elite on both days. It’s great to have such strong athletes to cheer for at nationals.

Fellow former 1401 Charleswood Dr. resident Dave Jetz had a good day in fifth, while Derek Chipping came in right behind him. Spokes and Attire alumni Rob Brandrick, the guy who told me what ‘cross was about twelve years ago, was immediately behind Derek. Those four or so names came in around that order the day before as well. Great to see those people ride so well consistently like that – inspiring stuff, folks.

However, the best performance for the entire day had to go to Synergy team leader Colin Patrick Walsh. CP showed up after playing a hockey game in the am and confided that he wasn’t really feeling like racing. He’d only been on a ‘cross bike two times this season, with the second one of them being just the day before. Walshy said his back was sore and he was just going to throw down a hot lap and pack it in. I suggested he get a head start on the group, take the DQ, and have some fun with it. He hummed and hawed about it, and I wasn’t sure if he was going to do it, but then, sure enough, just as the Commissaire called out ten seconds to start, CP slowly rolled off the line, yelled ‘Trick or treat!” and then pinned it. The spectacle was pretty funny. Everyone just watched him head off on his own. He pulled over at the top of the first steep climb and let the group past before following in behind.

While sitting off the back CP found a partner in crime in the form of Tim Breznyak, and the two proceeded to up the antics with a series of pre-planned, comedic barrier performances. The first time though they came in and did the set in slow motion – dismount, hurdles, remount, and sprint out. On the second lap they came to a complete stop, orchestrating some ro-sham-bo to see who would go first, and then carried on. The third lap was done backwards. Nice job, guys. That kind of stuff made for a great event. Walsh even had a post race beer – the third one I’ve seen him drink in nearly 12 years.

Another crowd favorite was Mr. Dylan Snowdon, Robot From the Future. There’s something pretty rad – and masochistic – about doing a ‘cross race in such a wack costume. Kudos to you and cheers to Terrascape for a really good event.

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