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Canadian cyclocross championships course snapshots

October 25, 2014

New Canadian ‘cross champions who will take home maple leaf jerseys on Saturday own their titles for 2015. To get them they need to win on a 3.2 kilometer course with a little bit of everything. The circuit travels through riverside park and a popular entertainment spot called The Forks in Winnipeg.

The start grid sits about 150 meters behind the finish arch, which is on the east side of the course near the new Canadian Museum for human rights.

Kick Cancer Derby corporate team relay race at the finish arch

During the Kick Cancer Derby corporate team relay mates tagged each other at the finish arch

Riders veer right onto grass as they head out, onto gravel, and then back onto grass to ascend then descend a low hill. There’s a couple of off-camber grassy turns here, one of which exits uphill.

Jeremy Durrin pre-rides an off camber section

Jeremy Durrin pre-rides an off camber section

The wrong gear going into the hill after that off -camber U-turn means a dab

The wrong gear going into the hill after that off -camber U-turn means a dab

More grass, barriers, and then a short section of cobblestones precedes a flat open area that houses a double pit. If there’s one theme to this course it’s alternating surfaces. Riders move from grass to thin gravel on to grass to thin gravel. They repeat the formula with short sections of loose dirt on the run-ups, cobbles, pavement, and sand.

Human Rights Museum overlooks the double pit

The new Human Rights Museum overlooks the double pit

The next section flows alongside and in sight of the Red River. A short downhill with roots poking out of soil dips onto a flat section of chalky soil littered with leaves. The run-up that follows is steep; it carries riders up to the main level of the course then dips down to the river in steps.

Short drop down to the Red River

Second short drop down to the Red River

Contestant in the University race approaching the "Abyss"

Contestant in the University race approaching the “Abyss”

The long, very steep run-up dubbed the “Abyss” will get competitors’ hearts pumping faster. Dry as it was on Friday riders easily dug their toes into footholds in the loose soil. If it rains — which it might on Sunday for the C2 Manitoba Grand Prix, it will become really interesting.

Catharine Pendrel on the Abyss run-up during course preview

Catharine Pendrel on the Abyss run-up during course preview

A little thin gravel and concrete later, the course swings right onto loose bark and into 46 meters of sand pit number one. The sand runs a few inches deep here.

Maghalie Rochette scoping out the sand

Maghalie Rochette scoping out the sand

After a U-turn on grass with a set of thick tree trunks, sand pit number two follows. It’s the same length as pit number one. However, the sand feels more compacted here.

Pipe-smoking professor (?) approaches sand pit two

Pipe-smoking professor (?) approaches sand pit two

From the sand a long stone staircase ascends to the heart of The Forks where shops and take-out foods from around the world are located. The custom-made podium rests in this area.

Inlaid stones form the surface in The Forks marketplace where the podium waits

Inlaid stones form the surface in The Forks marketplace where the podium waits

The course turns right around the edge of the marketplace. As it swerves south, cobbles appear. A section of dirt topped with scattered gravel and then grass leads into a small amphitheater where a sweeping curves and a U-turn sit on sloping grass.

Cobblestones, the real thing, in pretty good condition

Cobblestones, the real thing, in pretty good condition

Riders enter the amphitheater on the river side and exit opposite

Riders enter the amphitheater on the river side and exit opposite

A little bit of cobbles, a little bit of grass, and then a little bit of packed service strewn with gravel brings riders back to the start/finish area. Whew.

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From → Cyclocross

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