As some members of the Killington Mountain School Cycling Team returned from a week-long trip out to Colorado, the squad regrouped and got ready to head up to Canada. Little Lake Park in Midland, Ontario is home to the second-annual Silver Goose cyclocross race. The team arrived at the course Friday evening to get the lay of the land and to prepare for whatever obstacles they would face on race day. When asked about the course, KMS senior Turner Ramsay stated, “The course is very unique and has some very technical sections that can make or break your race.” That statement held true as Canadian native Tyler Clark used those make or break sections to his advantage by showcasing flawless skills while riding through the beach sand, running up two lengthy granite staircases, and staying upright on tricky off camber sections. Escaping from the field early on in the race, Tyler and three others in the UCI 17-18 men’s field were constantly attacking one another in hopes of someone tiring out. Tyler was not one to tire as he crossed the finish in third on Saturday, and in fourth on Sunday. Also in this race, KMS cyclist Leo Kirkpatrick-Baird showed great skill and power as he was constantly attacking those surrounding him or bridging the gap between riders ahead.
Competing in the UCI elite women’s field, Turner Ramsay showed her determination in her race Sunday evening. In C2 UCI races, only the top ten finishers receive points which improve their worldwide ranking and starting position at nationals, which is crucial. Everyone watching and heckling could see Turner’s desire for those points as she sat one position out of points coming into the last lap. With an extremely impressive second fastest last lap time out of the whole field, Turner placed tenth and got those points that she desired. Earlier Sunday afternoon, KMS junior Aliza Tobias raced in the women’s open field. With the Canadians in peak form for their nationals the following week, the race was aggressive and full of talent. After the sand, stair run-ups, and wooden flyover, she crossed the line in tenth place.
Following this weekend of racing, the team stayed in Canada for a week enjoying the landscape by building our own cross course to race on and perfect our skills. These skills would be handy as that weekend the team raced in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Cincy UCI CX Festival. After pre-riding on Friday evening, Aliza Tobias had some thoughts about the following day, “This course is one of my favorites dry so I can only imagine what the rain tonight will bring for the races tomorrow.” A strong storm that night brought with it plenty of mud to spare. Sections of the course that were easily rideable the day before were covered in sticky mud and presented a challenge to all riders. The course in Devou Park was almost always either moving up or down with a UCI plunge, a long run up, and a short, but very steep run up that gave the experience of a slip and slide to many. After the course had been worn down a bit from the mornings earlier races, Aliza was ready to hit the muddy racing in the elite U19 field along with the cat 3 and U23 women. From the whistle, women were sliding and falling all over the place while trying to remain stable in the tough muddy conditions. Taking the corners with skill and conserving for the longer run ups, Aliza finished ninth in the U19 field even before some of the cat 3 riders. KMS master of the mud, Turner Ramsay, may not have been feeling the best in the legs on Saturday, but technical skills on the mud shined. She finished 24th in the UCI women’s race proud of how she handled the conditions and showed some of the other women struggling in the mud just how it's done.
While Turner, Aliza, and Leo were racing at Devou Park on Saturday, Tyler Clark was racing at his Canadian National Championships. With a course much like the one the year before, but without all the mud, Tyler was ready to make this nationals a special one. Slick conditions in many places and exciting descents called for much focus from all riders. One longer power section on the finishing strip and a few 20 second or so areas of power was enough to Tyler to make his attack. Coming into the second lap, Tyler had a ten second lead on second. In the laps following, the gap only grew to finally be 31 seconds by the fifth and final lap. Congrats to Tyler Clark for winning this year's 17-18 Canadian National Cyclocross Championships! We can’t wait to see what you achieve next.
Sunday’s races in Cincinnati, held at a different venue then the year previous, were at Harbin Park. This park was full of tape that lead riders through many flowing corners, a 180 turn followed by a steep uphill, technical off chambers, two log barriers, and a long climb to the finishing straight. The first race of the day was Aliza’s as she raced again in the U19 field. Although she did not have the best start, she used her climbing strengths to her advantage and bridged the gap to riders on the finishing hill each lap. She finished fifth in her field feeling fast and ready for next weekend with a new favorite course. Leo’s UCI juniors race was next in the day’s schedule. An early attack in the race separated the field as Leo tried to remain in contact with the field. Due to painful leg cramps about halfway in the race, he had to recover from his cramps in order to chase back to the group. Sadly, he was not able to recover enough from the leg cramps, but he did finish in 16th ready to redeem himself the next weekend. In the UCI women’s race, Turner again showed her skills with the mud that was present and had a successful race on this flowing course.
This week, the team will be in Louisville getting prepared for another probable muddy weekend of races in the Derby City Cup. From a quick pre-ride early in the week, the team concluded that it will be a very tough course than seems to play more into the power aspect than technical. With more pre-riding this week, the team will be more than ready to crush the course for another successful weekend.