The CABC is proud to sponsor young riders to pursue their cycling goals. This year our own Ethan Palamarek stormed onto the Alberta Bicycle Association Cyclocross race scene and made us all proud. In advance of the Canadian Cyclocross Championships in Winnipeg this October, the CABC Executive offered financial support for Ethan to travel to and participate in the race. Ethan will be presented with a cheque for $400.00 at the AGM later this month. The following is a report written for us by Ethan, where he shares with us his experience from CX Nationals in Winnipeg:
2015 CX Nationals
Let me begin with a little insight into my introduction to cyclocross. In early spring of this year, I had very little knowledge of cyclocross. That is, until I was approached by Michael Meeres, who suggested that I start racing cross in the fall to extend my racing season. The idea of racing cyclocross immediately caught my interest. Fast forward to September 5th, I'm lining up at my first cyclocross race, Natural CX High in Okotoks. Clueless, completely unprepared for the rainy, cold, wet conditions, (somewhere around 35 psi in my tires), but I am absolutely ecstatic for the whistle to blow, and for the mayhem to unfold. And to mine, and everyone else's surprise, I cross the finish line with bars tweaked sideways, no brake pads left, and a smile on my face, with a minute lead on second place. It was the perfect start to my first season of racing cyclocross, and that race set the tone for the rest of the cyclocross season.
Friday the 23rd; I arrived in Winnipeg around 3pm, got to our hotel and put together my bike, then immediately left with my rear wheel to go to the course. It was cold and wet. The conditions were absolutely miserable, but the people were not. The course was already filled with riders, despite the conditions. The Shimano guys were giving out waffles, the party had already started. As much as I wish I could have stayed and watched the race that night, the race the next day was too important to risk losing any much-needed rest. So I did my sign in and headed back to the hotel to relax for the night.
Saturday the 24th; race day. I headed to the course at 9:30, which gave me more than enough time to prepare for the race at 2:30. Started the day right with a Belgian waffle to get in the right mindset for cross, topped with a generous amount of bananas. Preparations for the race then started. All the Alberta team tents were grouped together. Due to the fact three of the four team Alberta members were Juventus riders, I guess you could say I was adopted onto their team for the day. I had my bike checked over and prepped. All I had to worry about was getting myself prepared. The team atmosphere was absolutely incredible.
2:30pm. Call ups begin. Since I did not race last year, I was the 23rd rider to be called. That put me in the third row of riders, immediately I knew that I would have lots of ground to make up. My teammates Michael and Cody were in the first row, I made it my goal to catch up with them as soon as possible. The whistle blows, I was put to the very back of the pack right off the start and could not make up any ground. We immediately reached 42kmph on the starting straight, I managed to make up a few positions in the first corner by taking it to the inside while many other people went into it too hot. I started making up positions fast, the aggressiveness of the riders was unlike anything that I had seen in Alberta races. It was a real fight to get past people. I ended up on my own in about 10th position after the first couple laps and began focusing on riding smooth and staying upright especially in the more technical sections, eventually I caught up to another group of riders including Cody and Michael. Michael and I managed to get away from the rest of the riders and started trying to work together and take turns pulling on the road and cobble sections in order to try and get up to the top 5 riders. Though, in the last lap it became clear that the riders in front of us were to far away to catch, it then became a race between him and I. We made our way to the finishing straight and both begin to prepare to sprint for the line. My tactic was to try and use his draft to save myself some energy and quickly pull around him before the line, and his seemed to be to simply overpower me. We got up to 50kmph, pushing an estimated 1200 watts, I simply could not make my way around him. Michael finished in 6th position, with me behind him in 7th and Cody just behind us in 8th.
After the race, Michael and I were absolutely spent. As we were slowly cruising around, just fast enough that we would not fall over, Michael laughed and said “I think I might throw up now”, moments later, that is exactly what happened. We gave Michael some time to get back on his feet then went for a cool down spin as a group. The rest of the day, we spent eating fish n'chips from the Forks market and heckling the elite men!
I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to attend this event, I'd like to thank CABC and our sponsors for supporting me and helping me get to where I am now. I am already looking forward to next year! For full results check out:
- Ethan Palamarek