The Idiot’s Guide to the Shimano Canadian Cyclocross Championships
Holy smokes, people. The Shimano Canadian Cyclocross Championships are less than a month away. Are you ready for the biggest, bikey-est weekend this city has ever seen? Yes, bigger than (with all due respect) Cyclovia. Bigger than the Cobblestone Classic. And even bigger than that race I won that time when nobody else in my age category showed up. That big.
Plans have been underway for months. There are way too many things going on for me to talk about here (plus I’m probably late for an organizers’ meeting), but you can find a lovely and informative website here to get yourself in the know. In the meantime, let me lay down some of the highlights for all y’all.
October 24-26, 2014. That’s THREE days of racing my darlings, plus all sorts of social activities and hobnobbery between. By the end of it, you will be either shouting “SHUT UP LEGS!” or “SHUT UP LIVER”, or likely both. Full schedule of events is here.
At The Forks in Winnipeg. For those of you out-of-townies, this is not a warehouse for flatware, but rather a historic junction where the two rivers which intersect our fair city meet. The crotch, if you will. There are restaurants, bathrooms, markets, playgrounds, old-timey historic stuff, and plenty of places to get beer. Oh, and to the guy who scoffed at the idea of a bike race in the Prairies – suck it, pal.
At the heart of the weekend are the races, all happening on a course that has been designed to offer a bit of everything from grass to sand to cobbles. You can expect all manner of hand-ups – go ahead and be creative. Beer is certainly expected and appreciated, but there’s really nothing like a mouthful of bacon when your heartbeat is upwards of 180 bpm. Regardless of your nutrition plan, there are races for everyone – all ages and abilities. In fact, I can guarantee with near certainty that you will not be the slowest or the fastest one there.
There are pro races, individual races, kids’ races, and relays. So many races! The Friday Open Race offers you the opportunity to help CancerCare Manitoba Foundation kick cancer’s ass. Being active is a big part of reducing your risk of cancer, so get out there and have some fun, and while you’re at it, kick in a little donation to CancerCare here. 100% of your donation stays in Manitoba.
Oh, and don’t be intimidated by the registration process. There are a lot of races, which you’ll find listed here. For those of you inclined to complain about all the scrolling, take a moment to consider this: it’s scrolling. I think you can handle it. Register here.
Cyclocross and parties go together like gravy and cheese curds, and there will be no shortage of opportunities to make a fool of yourself in front of that pro you really look up to. Check out the after party at Natural Cycle on Friday night – these folks know a little somethingsomthing about having a good time. They are fun, cute, and run a great bike shop. Need I say more?
For The Ladies
Everybody knows that women are the future of cycling (and pretty much everything else), and so it only makes sense we have some extra special stuff just for us. Fast and Female will talk to the younger of us (9-19) about sticking with sport, no matter what that sport might be. With girls being 6 times more likely to drop out of sports than boys, this is a great opportunity to get motivated by some great women (including our very own Leah Kirchmann) who kick some serious ass. Sessions are available for athletes, parent and coaches. Find out more here.
On Friday night, Molly Hurford is holding a ‘Ladies Only’ event. Molly is former editor at Cyclocross Magazine, and recently took a position at Bicycling Magazine. She is also author of Saddle Sore: A Women-Only Guide to You and Your Bike – Molly will talk about all the things we can’t talk about in front of our guy friends. Sorry fellas, you’re out for this one, but we do promise to have a pillow fight. Find out more here.
The Other Stuff
As if all of this isn’t enough, there are plenty of other things to do, see and participate in – including a heckling seminar by local heckle masters Dallas and Cousin Thomas. Learn the fine art of telling people who are way faster than you how much they suck.
Speaking of sucking, if you want to learn how to suck a little less, you definitely want to check out The Bike Life Clinic and Conversation with Cyclo-cuties Molly Hurford and Peter Glassford. If you’re in my race category, you should probably skip this. You’re already plenty fast. Stay home and eat doughnuts.
Reigning Canadian Cyclocross champion Geoff Kabush is coming in early for a Thursday Night screening of Working Dogs, a film by Sam Smith that offers a glimpse into the psyche of an elite athlete (namely Geoff) with an interesting juxtaposition to a pack of sled dogs. Sounds weirdly wonderful, yes?
The Beer – Dead Ringer
Oh my. The beer. A delicious Belgian style IPA custom brewed by Half Pints special for our little race. You’ll excuse me if I get a little mushy about this one, because I got to tap the very first keg at a special unveiling at a local pub. Brewmaster Dave’s advice, “Do it right and you’ll be fine. Do it wrong and you’ll be covered in beer.” Duly noted.
The label was designed by yours truly, with the help and moral support of minion Jonato, who took my idea and made it cooler. Then I took it and made it even cooler yet, then he took it back, and so on. The result: skeletons, beer, and fire. Yes.
Nils at Parlour Coffee is pretty awesome. But you probable already knew that. Stay tuned about special roast he’s cooking up for us to keep you warm and pleasantly caffeinated through cyclocross season. Rumour has it the coffee will be roasted by Forty Ninth Parallel in Vancouver, the place where most of us wish we lived, but are happy enough just to drink their glorious grinds.
Get the T-Shirt
While you’re at it, you should get the cycling cap, cowbell, socks, beer glass, AND gorgeous wool jersey from Cima Coppi too. All designed by those talented, creative, and unnaturally attractive folks at Tétro Design. Most items are already available on the registration page here. Keep in mind you don’t have to be racing to order some cool event merch – quantities are limited, so if you want your jealous friends to hate your guts, get your order in now.
The Pros are Coming
You don’t want to be that guy in the beer line up asking the girl next to you if her boyfriend is racing – especially if that girl happens to be reigning Canadian Cyclocross Champion and World Mountainbike Champion Catharine Pendrel. A big deal race attracts big deal talent, so prepare to be wowed by some world-class racing from the likes of Catharine, Geoff Kabush, Gabby and Jeremy Durrin, and Leah Kirchmann to name a few. If you don’t know them, Google them. Get to know who they are so you don’t look like a noob.
The Americans are Coming!
While we may never agree on who won the War of 1812, we will have some fun duking it out again on the race course with our Yank friends. If the Twitter is to be believed, Minnesota is shipping up a pile of racers who like to party as much as they like to ride bike. I think we’re going to get along just fine, eh? Check out the Yank friendly races here.
Although it’s not technically part of the U.S. of ‘eh, it’s worth noting that all of Edmonton is coming as well, so lock up your daughters.
Speaking of armies, we need one. Yes, a whole freaking army. Let’s pretend like it’s 1812 and get ‘er done. You can sign yourself up here, which allows you all sorts of perks and privileges, including letting everyone know you’re “with the band.”
Sponsors are awesome. I hate to sound like an Oscar speech, but without them, this would not happen. Visit the sponsor page, memorize who they are, and go buy all their things.
Organizing events of this magnitude requires vision, passion, and a shit ton of man (and woman) hours. The core organizing committee is working super duper hard to manage an incredible amount of work and logistics. We do it because we love it, and we want to make you happy. Be patient, we are all working folk like you and many of us are working what feels like two full-time jobs right now to make this happen. And we are rarely sober, so you can imagine the challenges. We happily accept hugs, kisses, and sips of your beer in return.
As you can see, there will be something for everyone. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, but even if it doesn’t, we’ll be having way too much fun to notice. Stay tuned for more!