Thursday, February 07, 2013

CX Worlds Report

We love ourselves some cyclocross. So when it was announced that Louisville was to host the 2013 CX World Championships, it wasn't so much a question of whether we'd go but how many of us would make the trip. In the end, there were 16 who made the 18+ hour drive from Winnipeg to Louisville.

We've been told that there are some who suspect that the whole thing was an elaborate stunt--not so much an imaginary girlfriend as a made up road trip. Some of our friends went so far as to say it didn't happen unless certain conditions were met, like Sven Nys receiving a high five from one of us or some sort of photo evidence in a newspaper. Sadly, we have no evidence of Sven receiving any high fives, just a photo of him walking past us on his way into the Foam Party. And we neglected to snap a photo of the high five we gave to Geoff Kabush at the Foam Party. The other criterion was not exactly satisfied either. Our friends at Cyclocross Magazine tweeted a photo of the Impaler and Co. getting ready for the first race of the day. But seeing as that is not exactly print news, Colin might say it doesn't count. We all know how seriously he takes his rules.

So just in case there still remains any doubt about whether we were in fact there, we begin with some documentary evidence confirming our presence at the Men's Elite Race. Note the times in case you want to scroll ahead to those precise moments in the video and see for yourself.

Exhibit A is a shot of David and his Hot Legs walking up a hill and through a crowd, right toward the camera. Footage this clear cannot be faked:

Exhibit B shows Little M, the J-Train, and me at our spot about 1/3 of the way up the limestone run-up. We are all wearing our white Helen Wyman supporters hats, as is Hot Legs in the photo above.

Since we are facing away from the camera, some might reasonably remain unconvinced. Here is a better shot of the J-Train watching Francis Mourey on the run-up while he was still leading the race.

KK and a few others were stationed on the other side of that run-up, catching riders on the way down. Here you see KK holding his orange horn and yelling "Go Jets Go!" Sven Nys looked back in confusion. Be he regained his composure to finish his task for the day.

We began our day by checking out the expo area. We were pleasantly surprised to find the TRP guys serving up shots of Makers Mark when we arrived at 9am. Yes, of course we had some.

The crowds were thick. Almost as thick as the run-up at DarkCross.

One vantage point we wanted to check out was the start line. So we made our way over for the start of the women's race to send good vibes to Helen Wyman.

Sadly, Helen's race did not go according to plan. She got stuck behind a pile-up early in the first lap and crashed again on lap 2. Is this what happens when the Dark Lord sends you his vibes?

Sanne Cant also had a rather shitty race. She crashed right in front of us on a tricky descent. And then she did the same thing on the next lap. Sanne is on my team in the 2012-13 FGBC CX Pool. Needless to say, I was hoping for a good result. More confirmation of the Dark Lord Jinx.

After the women's race, we made our way to the Kona tent to offer our apologies to Helen for the apparently rotten vibes we sent her. Wendy Simms was there to greet us and chat with Little M about her race. We heart Wendy. How sweet would it be if she started racing more cx again?

Helen was very gracious and refused to allow that our vibes might have played any part in her rough day. In fact, she felt bad that we might even think it was somehow our fault. So she gave us all hats and even gave Little M one of her old British Champion jerseys. She does have enough of those by now. But just as we were about to leave, she called us back and jotted down M's phone number just in case she needs to call and have M ask me to send my dark vibes someone else's way.

For the Elite Men's race, we decided the best place to be was on the limestone run-up. We showed up early and got a spot on the fence about 1/3 of the way up. It was steep and muddy. I very nearly took down the entire crowd at one point by slipping and falling on my ass. The ground, as the Impaler might say, was a bit uneven.

This location proved to be a good choice. Not only did we get to see all the riders close up while they were moving a bit slower. We also got to see some decisive moves: like this one, where Nys and Vantornout decided it was time to put an end to the Fancis Mourey show.

Lars Van der Haar did not get the holeshot. He chased hard and managed to grab the final podium spot. This kid looks like he's going to be alright.

Despite dominating this sport for what seems like forever, it was only the second time this guy has gotten to pull on the rainbow jersey. I suppose it is pretty cool that we got to see that. But I was hoping Klass Vantornout would hold him off. As if we needed any further confirmation about the Dark Lord's Vibes.

This is the same run-up that Adam Craig and Jeremy Powers rode up when the USGP race was here. It was not rideable today. Then again, Adam Craig wasn't there.

Kabush was the best-placed Canadian. At least he beat Jeremy Powers.

Alexander Revell's moustache showed up and got muddy.

On the way back to the hotel, JP was offered cash by some Belgians for Sven Nys's world championship flower bouquet. They were relentless. It took a lot of energy to hold them off.

So much energy, in fact, that even the Energizer Bunny ran out of steam.

It was a long day and there was more than enough walking involved. Fortunately, there were Giants around to provide rides for the kids.

Anna insisted that we make our way to the Foam Party. We take care of each other here at the Dark Side. So we made sure that Anna arrived in the good company of others.

This Foam Party, it did not have any foam. But it did have all four recently crowned world champions to go along with the small flock of Roosters.

Despite the absence of foam, it seems to have been very well attended. We were fortunate to have Barry Wicks and his sweet hair escort us to a room at the back. It was a little less cramped and also allowed Hot Legs to catch up with some old friends who apparently know him as Moose.

The mood at the back of the lounge, however, was a bit subdued. So Cousin Thomas took it upon himself to liven things up. Attending a party with Cousin Thomas is never a bad idea.

All in all, it was a good day. Some might even call it awesome. Too bad it will be a while before we can do it again. We might have to travel to Belgium.


halloewen said...

Very cool. Good times were had indeed.

JP said...

Awesome report Chris. I wish I'd made it to the Foam-less party!