Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fine Tuning at Hallowcross - Sarnia

Decided to stick close to home, and do some fun local grassroots racing this weekend. And I sure am glad I did. Hallowcross Sarnia, has been going on for about 4 years now. Very low key, very low budget, and very fun! Located 5 mins off the Blue Water Bridge, the race is located at beautiful Canatara Park right on Lake Huron. With lots of open grass, punchy natural ancient sand dune forest hills, and nature trails with steep climbs, this place has it all. Further, its great to support an event that has a vision to bring racing to an area that has absolutely none! So like I said, I sure am glad I did it, and plan to be back for sure.

For such a small event, I was surprised to see 50+ Racers. Including a few of Ontario's finest Elites, Peter Mogg and Michael Aston. With guys like this popping in to race, its a matter of time before this becomes one of Canada's must do races!

Todd Powers and I loaded the Jeep up early and headed over to scope out the venue and visit Timmy Horton's before the race. We did our warm up and I was feeling good. The cool thing about races like this is, everything is new! New country to race in, new event, new course, and most importantly, new people! We all were on the line ready to go, and we were off! Todd did a great job of pulling the hole shot! I sat in around 5th, trying to gage the other riders. Half way through the first lap, the lead group of 6 turning into 3. And Peter was slipping away. I accelerated around, and began to close the gap to Peter. I was putting time into 3rd place as well. Finally I was feeling good and able to put out a good effort lap after lap. Peter continued to pull away a few seconds on me lap after lap until he was finally out of reach. With 1 lap to go, Michael was able to claw his way back to my wheel. Michael made a move to go around me, and I was good with it. It gave me a chance to gage his effort, and try to come up with a tactic. He was trying to accelerate to shake me, but could'nt. Up the to the steepest and highest point of the race, he still could not shake me. I sat in, but the pace remained high. Now on the back side of the lap, all that was left was a flat flowing section through the trees. A small dune hill with a few tricking loose sandy sections, a beach sand run around a tree, a small wood roller section. And finally, a short paved section with a right hand turn back into the grass to the finish. I knew the sections coming were going to be technical enough that the leader going in to them would have the best chance coming across the line first. As soon as the course tape opened up, I made my move with 1/4 lap left. I buried it and did not look back. I could tell it was hurting Michael, but I could not shake him completely. Through all the tricky sections and into the final grass straight I opened up my sprint with about a bike length lead. Then suddenly, I realized that the barriers that had been placed about 15 ft after the finish line were still in place (starting line was only used to begin the race and not the same area as the finish)! I pushed on but slightly eased up and braked as hard as I could when I hit the line so I would not crash into them. This allowed Michael to come along side me at the line and he did the same. We both skidded side ways and missed crashing into the barrier by about 4 ft! CRAZY!!!! The officials said they could not determine who took it by looking at the video or photo, and since the barriers were still in place which cause the finish not to be clean, decided to call it a tie for 2nd.

What a fun day! Congrats to TP battling the rest of the field and pulling out 4th place!

Iceman next!