Wet, maybe cold, but no snow in forecast
They’ve tweaked the course and are ready to go for Canadian Cyclocross Championships
Peterborough will once again be the centre of attention of Canada’s cycling community this weekend.
For the second year in a row the Shimano Canadian Cyclocross Championships will be hosted at Nicholls Oval on Saturday.
In addition a UCI (International Cycling Union) points race will be held on Sunday. Racing will begin around 7 a.m. each day and continue until dark.
The elite men’s race is set for 2:45 p.m. and the women’s elite event at 4 p.m. on Saturday with each race lasting about one hour.
Last year more than 500 cyclocross riders from across the country competed in age groups from children to masters. Last year’s event occurred on an icy trail in bitter cold while this year the trails will be wet and muddy but not as cold.
The elements are a big part of cyclocross — a hybrid of road racing and mountain biking.
“The weather plays a huge role in how the event turns out,” said Kris Sieber, the event’s communications director.
“Last year we set up in beautiful fall weather and by the time we ran some informal races on the Friday night we had four to six centimetres of snow on the ground and cold weather that persisted through the weekend.
It changed the complexion of that event 180 degrees from what anyone expected going in. This year we expect it to be wet and we expect it to be muddy but it will be different from last year and racers will have to adapt.
“From an organizing perspective, you have to roll with what you get and do the best you can. It’s the same for the racers.”
Last year the Peterborough Cycling Club hosted some local races on the Friday but this year the trails will be open for practice on Friday from midafternoon until dark. Otherwise, the schedule will run very similar to last year with the children’s and masters races earlier in the day leading up to the elite racers.
“We have some changes to the track this year just to mix it up for the racers,” said Sieber, “and also just to try to make the footprint of the track a little more compact. This year we’re not going to be crossing over the Greenway Trail for instance so that will make it smoother for people moving past the event. Aside from that the format is pretty set in stone.”
All the 2018 champions are expected to return to defend their titles, said Sieber.
A local rider to watch is Kathy Eggenberger who last week won a provincial gold medal in her age group of 35-44 and last year placed fourth at nationals.
“She’s coming off a great weekend last weekend so it will be interesting to see how she does this weekend,” Sieber said.
Local racers who medalled last year included Aislin Hallahan who won gold in the under-13 girls division and Joel
Anderson who was third in the men’s sportif class.
“There is definitely some local talent to cheer for,” Sieber said.
There is no admission cost for spectators.
Sieber said organizers learned a few lessons last year for ways they can make this year’s event a bit smoother.
“Part of the way we deal with the mud is we have power washers for the mechanics to wash off the bikes. What we didn’t expect is to get the cold we did so the power washers were freezing. We had volunteers going to great lengths to keep the power washers from freezing. There were a lot of little things.
This year we’ll do something special with the power washers and with the pits so if we do get cold weather and it gets icy or slippery we know how to deal with it.”
Cyclist David Yexley competes at last year’s Shimano Canadian Cyclocross Championships at Nicholls Oval. Weather is a big factor. “From an organizing perspective, you have to roll with what you get,” said event communicator Kris Sieber.