WpgCX 2015 – Over the Top
Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes all it takes is a small group of people with some big ideas, and the next thing you know that small group of people has become an army and you are hosting the country’s biggest cyclocross party in your back yard. Twice.
It’s hard to believe it’s over, but holy smokes, in the immortal words of The Irish Rovers, wasn’t that a party?
At the risk of sounding like one of those mom’s who doesn’t shut up about how awesome her kid is, our little city really pulled off something very special. And yes, I am proud. I am proud of the role I played, and the role my agency played. But more than that, I am proud of how a bunch of people with kids, jobs, lives, and all the pressures that go with those things, pulled this off. Our spouses should be sainted.
Cyclocross came to downtown Winnipeg like a zombie apocalypse, clad in colourful spandex and donning cozy Shimano toques.
We showed the masses the beautiful dichotomy of our sport – maybe best described as the Tour de France meets Woodstock. The downtown was filled with oddities of the sort people had never seen. A freak show of the sportiest kind.
The Forks was transformed from a quiet reflective place to enjoy a fall day, to a wild rumpus with an incredible obstacle course snaking through it, complete with three sandpits, two flyovers, and enough muddy, off-camber mayhem to earn the most coveted of all cyclocross descriptors: Belgian.
And so with flailing hands we pass the torch to Sherbrooke, Quebec. If there is anything I know about French Canadians (and I know plenty), they are super sexy, and they love to have a good time. So be prepared for some late nights, followed by some terrible mornings. You can also expect great coffee, craft beers, and the best fucking poutine you have ever tasted in your miserable anglophone life.
Lest you be fooled into the assumption that this will be a promenade de gateau in terms of racing, allow me to introduce Raphaël Gagné from Quebec City. A skilled mountain biker, Raph came to Winnipeg to do a little off-season cyclocross and destroyed the Elite men’s field, taking first place. He was the first Quebecois to take the win in over 18 years. Perhaps it is no coincidence that his last name is French for ‘win’.
More importantly, Raphaël and I were roomies for a brief stint a couple of years ago in Oxnard, California, where he was doing some hardcore training and I was riding around in the Santa Monica mountains looking for Rob Lowe and drinking cheap American wine. During our stay together (along with my buddy Ben, Karlee Gendron (Trek Red Truck), Peter Glassford and Taylor Near), Raph was kind enough to indulge my predisposition to speak horrible French after consuming copious amounts of said cheap American wine. In any case, he and the kids kindly introduced us to the ritual of a post-ride dunk in the freezing cold Pacific Ocean, much to the horror and amusement of the locals.
There are so many thank yous to do, and I hope I have done many of them in person. But for all of those who made this happen, from the racers to the volunteers and sponsors to the organizers and their long suffering families – thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking the last two years so completely over the top.
WPGCX official photos by Thomas Fricke, who you should hire, because he is fricken’ awesome.