The cold rain and strong cold wind made for some challenging and interesting races Saturday at the 2012 Daryl-Evans Canadian Cyclo-Cross Championships held in Surrey, British Columbia, as new Canadian Champions were crowned in a spectacular and exciting day of cyclo-cross racing at its purest form. Olympian Geoff Kabush (SCOTT-3-Rox-Racing) won his fourth cyclo-cross title in the elite men's race while Mical Dyck (Stan's No Tube) edged out Olympians and former champions to claim the title in the elite women's race. Evan McNeely (Team Specialized Canada) won his third consecutive under-23 title and Peter Disera (Cycle Solutions/Angry Johnnys CC).
Dyck wins first title. In the women's race, Olympian Emily Batty (Team Subaru-Trek), the defending Canadian Champion lined up against some strong competition, which included Pepper Harlton (Juventus Cycling Club), which is current the leading Canadian in the international cyclo-cross rankings, and Olympian and two-time UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Champion Catharine Pendrel (Team Luna Pro).
A group of three riders - Dyck, Wendy Simms and Hartlon - took off early in the first lap to create a lead group, and exchanged their lead with the race. With strong riders such as Batty and Pendrel leading the chase for most of the race, it is only in the last lap that things truly changed. With Harlton dropping off to the chase group, only Dyck and Simms remained ahead.
In the last lap, while Simms dismounted to tackle a muddy off-camber section, Dyck made her move -- an attack that was unanswered by Simms who could only watch Dyck ride away in the front. Dyck increased her lead in the last kilometer, and rode away to a solid victory – her first Canadian title.
"It feels really good (to wear the National Jersey). I tried to stay positive coming here. I was praying for rain, and we got it," said Dyck after the awards ceremony. "I blew off my start, so I had some catching up to do. The muddy course was awesome. I had great tires on, tires I had never tried before and they are responded great in the mud, with really good grip. Now I wish for some sun!"
Kabush Claims Fourth. In the Men's race, Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) entered the race as the two-time defending Champion. Sheppard faced off against his main rival, Olympian and seven-time Canadian Mountain Bike Champion Kabush.
Kabush took advantage of a great start to stay away from trouble usually arising from large peloton, and took the lead in the first lap, with Derrick St-John (Stevens p/b The Cyclery), Aaron Schooler (Norco Bicycles – SRI Importing) and Sheppard in the chase group. Kabush was able to gain some significant advantage throughout the rest of the course, and rode solo to his fourth Canadian Cyclo-Cross Championships title, and eleventh Canadian title including his seven Mountain Bike titles.
“I was looking forward to today. I knew that if my leg showed up, it wasn’t a course that would have a lot of “micky mouse” group rides. It’s a pretty tough technical course. The first few laps, people were going really hard. I put on some pressure, and decided it was the time to push it home. Every lap, there were a couple of section where you could really lay down the power, and put in some hard accelerations,” said Kabush. “I felt really comfortable on my Scott Addict. It was pretty efficient throughout the muddy corners, and I was able to stretch out the lead.”
He now look towards the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships to be held in Louisville, KY in February, 2013. “The Worlds are on definitely on my schedule. The Worlds in Louisville will definitely be fun to go back there, and hopefully with good weather. I’ve been there three or four times and it has always been fast and dry. I am looking forward to race the Worlds for the first time. It’s a good opportunity to get the Euros on our side of the water.”
Evan McNeely makes it three in a row. McNeely raced to his third straight title in the competitive U23 group. McNeely, who rides mountain bike, took an early lead from the sound of the starting whistle and steadily increased his lead over the race.
The U23 race was the last race of the day, along with the Elite Men race, both enjoying a break in the rainy weather. The absence of rain, with the muddy course, was beneficial to McNeely. "That's the way I like it. It was actually perfect. We were all looking at the radar all morning long, and nobody could tell with certainty if it would rain or not! When we woke up in the morning, it was actually quite dry."
"It was a really fun race today. It's actually the funnest Canadian Championships that I have done so far, with the conditions. I actually contemplated doing the Elite race because I won the last two years in the U23 categroy. I got the jersey again this year and maybe I'll make it four next year."
Disera takes Maple Leaf. The Men's Junior race was as exciting as every race held on Saturday. A small group of three riders took off early, comprised of Trevor Pearson (DEVO), Disera and Willem Boersma (Team Manitoba). The three riders exchanged their leads throughout the race, and in the last lap, Boersma was dropped by Disera and Pearson.
In the last technical section with perhaps 500m to go in the race, Pearson fell off his bike, and Disera took advantage of the situation by attacking and passing Pearson. Within the last 500m to the finish line, Disera was now solo on his way to the Canadian Championships title.
"I didn't know what the outcome would be from the start. It was a bit of a gong-show at the start. Today, it was about who would be the smoothest and protect the inside in technical turns. I took full advantage of that when others would ride the outside. I was sixth or seven at the start. The real characters started to show, and moved up spots until I was leading," said Disera. "Pre-riding yesterday, I thought this would be a sick race, with lots of off-camber. I thought it would be cool. Then I woke up today and realized it had rained last night. I came to realized that some of the technical areas would be extremely difficult. I had to run a few sections to stay competitive, and just took those as they came.
"I have been on the podium at Canadian Mountain Bike Championships the last few years, and I had been wanting this jersey. I am excited I got it in cyclo-cross."
RESULTS – 2012 Canadian Cyclo-cross Championships – South Surrey, BC.
1. Mical Dyck (Victoria, BC/Stan's No Tube)
2. Wendy Simms (Nanaimo, BC)
3. Emily Batty (Brooklin, ON/Team Subaru-Trek)
1. Geoff Kabush (Courtenay, BC/SCOTT-3RoxRacing)
2. Chris Sheppard (Bend, OR/Rocky Mountain Bicycles)
3. Derrick St-John (Gatineau, QC/Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery)
1. Evan McNeely (Ottawa, ON/Specialized Canada)
2. Evan Guthrie (Peachland, BC/Rocky Mountain Factory Team)
3. Andrew L'Espérance (Halifax, NS/Norco Factory Team)
1. Peter Disera (Barrie, ON/Cycle Solutions-Angry Johnnys CC)
2. Trever Pearson (Delta, BC/ Team DEVO)
3. Willem Boersma (Portage La Prairie, MB/Team Manitoba)