|Expert||Brandon Wright||Dave Knights||Luke Knights|
|Junior Sport Men||Evan Knights||Tyler Patenaude||Stuart Bishendon|
|Senior Sport Men||Ben Dobson||David Van Schie||Robbie McCrossan|
|Master Sport Men||Chris Graham||Martyn Sugar||Mark McArthur|
|Sport Women||Tessa Brinklow||Lindsay-anne Townsend||Kelly Cullen|
|Novice (Mixed)||Seamus Cullen||Eli Weening||Mike Jackson|
|Mini-Me||Ryder Cullen||Kaiden Sampson||Holden Allen|
Week 19 - September 5
The most appropriate course at this time is to begin with "thanks". Thank you to the athletes who participate. Our riders come in all shapes and sizes and with a broad range of skills and fitness but, regardless, they come out and create this beautiful diaspora that spans generations and highlights to all that it doesn't matter where you are at right now - it only matters where you want to go. We are there, collectively, to ensure you have fun and inspiration along your path.
Aaron Wright has transformed from a boy into a young man of poise, character, and an exceptionally positive attitude.
Thank you to the parents that facilitate the participation of their children. You are the enablers of our sport. You cajole, console, motivate...and sometimes dictate but keep you kids off of the couch and away from the screens in order that they can stretch their legs, relish the beauty of the outdoors, and enjoy the pulse-pounding thrill of friendly competition. While life's obligations compete for your time and energy, you make the time the support the mental and physical development of your children and for that, I thank you. If only there were more parents out there like you who grasped the importance of strenuous physical activity for their little munchkins, perhaps we wouldn't be battling an epidemic of obesity and sloth. Thank you.
Rick and Reid Allen tearing their way to the finish line. Needless to say, little Reid beat Dad easily.
And a massive thank you to the volunteers who help make our event a reality week after week, year after year. Between their regular and ongoing assistance with trail maintenance, Dave, Evan, and Luke Knights offer me the greatest gift of all - time. Their efforts at grass cutting, trail trimming, and blowing have helped us deliver some of the finest groomed race tracks in Ontario. Further to the hard work from the Knights family, Janet, Gord, Aaron, and Brandon Wright are there for us to help break down our setup and get everything packed away. At the end of what is often a 9-hour day of weed whacking, trail clearing, and trail marking, there assistance is always welcomed and certainly appreciated. More-so than even the time this saves, the message of teamwork and family and mutual support really drives home for me why we do what we do. There are also a slew of other people who lend a hand when called upon throughout the season in whatever capacity they are needed. From bridge repairs (David Van Schie) to chainsaw work (Nelson Papel), the community vibe and connectedness that effervesces from our participants is the greatest gift of all.
Tyler Patenaude and Robbie McCrossan chasing down the field - both have fast parents who ride (or rode) at our series. It's a family affair!
Many organizers rely on user fees from regular trail users, government grants from the province or other taxpayer-derived funding, or club dues from their membership in order to maintain trails and buy equipment and supplies. At our series, aside from the occasional fundraiser to purchase some wood, the equipment costs, fuel, and consumables are paid for by Spoke O'Motion so that the community at large may reap the benefits whether of not they ever set foot in our store.
Spokes has become one of York Region's favourite bike shops thanks in no small part to our commitment to you. By spending our money and by devoting our time to the community, we hope that the community recognizes the value that our store brings to all of you. We are passionate about riding and relentless in our motivation to create avenues for others to experience and engage in this remarkable pastime. A recreational activity that creates bonds that last a lifetime, inspires passions that transcend the sport itself, and benefits the mind and body in profound ways that improve every aspect of your daily life, cycling is a sport that lingers in your soul and always welcomes you back into the fold.
The new guard is now the old guard - there was no beating Brandon Wright this year! How long will he wear the crown?
While he did come in second place once (to club coach Paul Cooney), Brandon Wright was a force of nature this year. A force that packed the sustained power of a hurricane while being able to deliver the explosive energy of a lightning bolt when called for. While his busy schedule as a first year firefighter kept Brandon out of much of the Ontario Cup race scene, his performances at our series was nothing short of electrifying.
His pace, consistency, and technical skills are all beyond reproach yet he is as humble as he is kind and selfless. On this night, the opening lap suggested that Jamie Davies might have something to pull out of his hat as the two crossed the line in lock-step, but the second lap revealed that Brandon had just dipped his toes into the power pool where Jamie had already dove into the deep end and come out drenched. Brandon was able to maintain his tempo without dropping a beat and, while Jamie did an admirable job of keeping Brandon within reach at section of the course (quite a feat in itself!), he simply couldn't match Brandon's unwavering speed.
In the battle of the Knights, Luke Knights showed dear dad Dave that the tide has officially turned. While Dave eeked out the narrowest possible margin of victory in the overall points battle and secured 2nd place in the championship over Luke, the younger man was the faster man on this occasion.
Luke's speed this year started off impressively and his progress hasn't stalled for a moment. He has already consistently taken down giants like Steve Prosser and Dave on a consistent basis and there is no telling just how tall a performance mountain this young man will be able to climb. Now if we could only convince him to actually train!
Evan Knights works like a savage, rips corners on rails,
and plays second fiddle to no one.
Perhaps the emerging threat from Evan Knights will be the spark that ignites the training fire throughout the rest of the Knights clan. Evan emerges from this last race as he has from the 2018 season as a whole - an outright champion. Driven to win and never one to shy away from suffering or hard work, Evan treats every race like his final race. One needs only to catch Evan's eye before race time to know that this young man is all business.
What the Junior Sport field lacks in depth it made up for in quality as Evan and Tyler Patenaude chased each other all year long and both emerged as stronger riders for the competition. Tyler is newer to the sport and lacks Evan's depth of experience, but is driven to improve and continues to refine his technical skill and fitness in tandem.
Another rider with a real breakout season was Ben Dobson. Before the race, Ben confided to me, "I hope Dave [Van Schie] and Robbie [McCrossan] don't come." While his wish may have been thwarted, Ben's consistent performances over the course of the year along with a few spectacular races elevated him to the top spot in the Senior Sport category. With a couple of wins under his belt, a newfound commitment to racking up some training miles in the off-season, and a bunch of sweet bikes at his disposal, look to see more of Mr. Dobson on the podium in 2019.
That said, credit must be given to where credit is due and Robbie McCrossan set the house on fire every time he hit the starting line this year. While there was a little bit of category hopping as we got underway, Robbie settled into Senior Sport in fine style and kept the pressure on David Van Schie and Ben to bring their best to every race. Following in his father's footsteps, Robbie has a solid base of fitness and a natural ability that presents itself in his smooth, effortless style that delivers consistent results. Awesome racing guys!
Tessa Brinklow riding away to victory for the 2018 season.
One cannot write about domination on the race course without bringing up the amazing evolution of Tessa Brinklow. Entering her third year of racing in our weekly series, Tessa had previously shown steady progress and occasional flashes of brilliance.
For 2018, however, Tessa honed her craft and elevated her game to the point where her laps times are competitive with many of the fastest riders in the overall field. From flashes of brilliance to the sparkle of a fine cut diamond gleaming in the sunshine, Tessa is fast on the climbs, nimble through the singletrack, and competitive in spirit at every turn.
Combine that with consistency and you have the recipe for a freshly crowned Queen of the Mountain! Tessa's biggest competition of the year came from Lindsay-anne Townsend - the recently crowned Ontario Cup champion. These two went toe-to-toe during every race they competed against one another and produced some of the most exciting racing action of the season - often finishing within seconds of one another.
While neither rider would make boastful claims at the outset of a given race about the potential outcome, both women are quietly confident and driven to succeed. Of course, if you check their lap times that much is obvious! These two have proven to be weapons on the race course and well-matched adversaries that push each other to dig deeper, brake later, and turn harder.
Chris Graham maintaining the slimmest of margins over
a constantly attacking Martyn Sugar.
Another category where the final results were determined in the championship race was Master Sport where Chris Graham and Martyn Sugar battled hard for outright supremacy. Coming into the race, Chris trailed Martyn by a small margin. From this perspective, it was a championship race in the purest sense of the term. Whoever rode fastest without making a tactical or technical error on this night would be crowned champion. There was to be no hiding from the cold, hard reality of the results.
On the first lap, Chris went to the front of the pack and set the pace for others to follow. As the field appeared at the timing tent, Chris had the slimmest of leads over Mark McArthur while Martyn hung back a couple more seconds in third place. Mike Ceolin, hungry to upset the apple cart, sat in fourth.
That said, Mike used his fourth place position to his advantage and rode a near-identical second lap suggesting that his pacing was spot on. Mark, however, dropped his tempo on lap two and was relegated to chasing Mike's wheel. At the pointy end of the spear, Chris dropped 15-seconds on his second lap while Martyn, having recovered from an early crash and giving chase for everything he was worth, narrowed the gap on Chris and moved into second.
Amazingly, both Chris and Martyn spun identical third laps and, thus, Chris was able to maintain his slim 2-second lead and finish the night with both a hard-fought victory and the overall championship. Martyn was forced the settle for second place - an admirable accomplishment for his first season of racing at Coulson - and will wait until 2019 to exact his revenge.
Want to know what it takes to win?
Check out Seamus Cullen's face as he crosses the finish line!
The Novice field this year was one of our deepest fields and the opportunity to watch new riders turn into substantially faster riders is always a joy to behold. Over the course of the season, the penultimate battle was fought between Eli Weening and Seamus Cullen.
That said, as the season wore on, Mike Jackson really made himself a presence to be felt. In the championship race, for example, Mike posted his best result yet - only 22-seconds out of top spot. Each week, Mike seemed to improve his handling and cornering speeds and get just a little bit closer to dethroning Eli and Seamus. With a few more weeks of riding, the tides may have shifted in a significant way. For this battle, however, we will also need to wait until next season.
For the last handful of races, Seamus looked almost unstoppable. With few mistakes and consistent lap times, Seamus eroded Eli's championship lead and then finally beat Eli a few weeks back. On this important race, Eli wanted to show Seamus that the win was not necessarily his for the taking.
While Eli embarked on his second lap 12-seconds in arrears to an explosive first lap from Seamus, he was prepared to do whatever was necessary to eat up the gap. That was until the hornet got to him. Poor Eli was stung three times by the same pesky yellow jacket and was forced to pause to deal with the incident. While this took him out f contention for the victory, it is a testament to his courage and heart that Eli hammered home regardless and made a great sprint to the line. Eli is a fighter and an athlete all the way.
But the glory goes to Seamus with another win and the Championship sewn up tight. It will be a real treat to watch Seamus and Eli battle again next season and to see new faces like Mike get himself into the mix in his efforts to thwart the tide of these ripping fast youngsters stealing all of the fame and fortune. (Wait...this is cycling. Scratch that.)
Our end of season awards banquet will take place on September 26th at Boston Pizza. Celebrations get underway at 7pm and the awards ceremony will be at 8:30pm.
This is a fun social night where we hand out some awesome medals, give out some prizes to the 2018 champions and celebrate the joy that the sport has brought to all of our lives. It is also a family affair so please brings spouses, friends, kids or anyone else who would like to tell tall tales about how they could have won "if only...".
Here's a link to Google Maps.
Thank you all again for making 2018 another very special season. We hope to see you at Boston Pizza and then help you get all jazzed up for the 2019 season at the Spoke O'Motion Weekly Series!
Week 18 - August 29
Well it was bound to happen at some point this year. Having skirted every weather event of 2018 thusfar, it finally happened. After a season of scorching heat, dry trails, and awesome traction, this Wednesday brought with it recollections of 2017 when almost every race was a filthy, soggy mess. A fun mess, no doubt, as long as you are not the one stuck cleaning bikes and laundry, but a mess nonethless.
For our first rainy race of 2018, double points were at stake in keeping with our longstanding tradition of rewarding those brave enough (or foolhardy enough) to tackle the elements head-on and expose themselves to some slip and slide through the more challenging corners. With the points race in several categories being as tight as they are, these opportunities to bank some extra championship points can prove vitally important in the chase for overall podium glory.
Luke Knights flies through the air as he looks to build upon the lead on his father, Dave, in the background.
Of course, in some circumstances, the even the most ambitious plans can be thwarted by bad luck. Take, for example, the battle betweeb Luke and Dave Knights. Dave, Luke's dad, has kind of gotten used to being the cycling alpha dog in the household. His family has been riding at Coulson for many, many years as as the boys grew they also began competing in the Ontario Cup series. However, as inevitably happens, the past couple of seasons have seen a subtle shift in the balance of power between Dave and Luke.
It all starts with one loss to your child. Then the realization dawns that your days of domination are waning and that the young Jedi will soon evolve beyond his teacher's skills. This is the tipping point in the Knights household - both Luke and Evan (series leader in Junior Sport) are veritable rockets on two wheels and Dave now relishes every moment he can remain in the lead.
Luke and Dave battled hard through the first lap, turning identical times, Luke turned up the temperature on subsequent laps and Dave just couldn't handle the heat. In fact, Luke added so much gas to the proverbial fire that his fourth lap was as fast as his second. This speaks to his mental and physical fortitude - and perhaps his drive to beat his dad.
While Dave may not have won the battle between he and Luke last night, the points he earned were enough to bring him alongside his son in the Expert category where the two Knights men now share second place with 776 points. Imagine that after 18 weeks of racing that these two sit astride the podium together with but one race to decide the entirety of their 2018 season. In what other sport can a parent and child battle it out all year without compromise or handicaps and still be tied? Next week will define a whole lot in this articular household. Good luck to you both (but I just have have to root for the "old guy" to hang on for one more year!).
Brandon Wright was completed unphased by the wet weather.
From that story of the "up and coming" looking to usurp the "old guard", we segue into celebration of a young man at the height of his powers.
Brandon Wright has been a champion in spirit for many years now. His dedication to the sport, commitment to training, and abundance of natural ability has made him an absolute pleasure to watch grow up. The past few years, however, have seen Brandon's cycling catch up to the excellence in spirit has has demonstrated since he was a young boy learning the ropes of the sport.
On this night he demonstrated with abundant clarity that he has earned his first place overall and he ripped the course to shreds with a consistency that is hard to grasp. His first three laps were all within 1 second of one another and these three laps were the only laps in the Expert field to land under 11-minutes.
The only reason Brandon lost time on his fourth lap is that he wanted to see if there was any more cornering traction left at his disposal. Needless to say - there wasn't.
To top it off, the field that Brandon was defending against was positively stacked. Paul Cooney, Jamie Davies, and Steve Prosser - all champions in their own right - were all on hand to do battle and Brandon refused to even give them a seat at the table. It was a masterful display of skill and fitness.
Chris Graham letting it get loose in his charge to victory.
While Brandon may have offered a glimpse of runaway success, in the Master Sport Men field the results are anything but set in stone.
All season long the likes of Chris Graham, Martyn Sugar, and Mark McArthur have been battling back and forth for supremacy. Chris has been winning with consistency but his key rival, Martyn, has snagged points upon points all year long. As it currently stands, Martyn holds the reigns in the championships but by only 19 points.
Amazingly both Chris and Martyn turned negative splits this week and pulled their fastest laps last. Nothing could paint a clearer picture of two athletes gunning for gold like the suffering these two must have endured as they looked to eek out every possible advantage and rail every corner - despite the tracherous conditions. At the end of it all, the duo was seperated by only 10-seconds.
Much like the competition between Luke and Dave noted above, the whole season for these two will be defined by next weeks championship race. No pressure, guys. None at all.
In the same Master Sport field, kudos must go out to Yves Patenaude whose performance continues to improve - much to the chagrin of Dustin Sampson who managed to get through a race this week without taco'ing another Mavic Crossmax front wheel. Yves has shown tremendous progress this season and has become a natural opponent for Dustin. Overall, Dustin has had Yves number more often than not and this week marks only the second time that Yves has been able to usurp his biggest rival in the series. Congrats!
The Mini-Me gang: Future stars on bikes and beyond.
Back: Ella Sugar, Holden Allen, Brock Allen
Front: Ryder Cullen, Kaiden Sampson
To remember why you start riding, to recall the joy, the freedom, and the excitement, one need look no further than our effervescent Mini-Me category.
Week after week, these little rippers inspire us to be better, work harder, and put smiles on our faces. And after a few weeks of some challenging races, this whole gang crossed the line with smiles on their faces, some lactic acid in their legs...and mud all over!
The tone was set by Kaiden Sampson who lay down a monstrous pace from the word "go" and made work for those who followed. As the gang blasted through the timing area at the conclusion of their first lap of three, Kaiden had a solid but precarious lead with the trio of Ryder Cullen, Holden Allen, and Ella Sugar closely in tow.
Things were pretty much status quo as the Mini-Mes embarked on their last lap but Kaiden's lead had been effectively neutralized. As they passed through the finish area, everyone seemed content where they were and Kaiden's big pace didn't look to leave much room for attacking.
Unfortunately for Kaiden, however, the mud gods made their play and Kaiden lost traction in a puddle with his front wheel on a fast section of the Mini-me course. Just as he hoped to regain control and maintain his position, his rear wheel lost grip as it passed through the same puddle. Down he went with the Mini-Me gang craming on their brakes to avoid mushing Kaiden into the muddy morass forever.
Ryder, being the fierce competitor he is, seized the opportunity to make his move and accelerated past the field while Kaiden brushed himself off and prepared to remount. Wasting no time, Ryder inked his signature on the soggy race by laying down a thunderous pace on the last lap and put a full 30-seconds on the field and, in the process, posting the fastest lap of the event with negative splits on every lap.
If you want to know the secret to Ryder's success, just read his shirt. "Never quits." Words to live by, indeed.
Join us next week for the last race of the season where history - and champions - are crowned.
Week 17 - August 22
The most entertaining race of the season was a total blast in spite of some slick corners and the inevitable wipeouts that came along with them. Good times were had by all.
Week 16 - August 15
Before a word can be committed describing the outcome of this week's race, some thanks are in order. FIrst, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to Dave Knights, Luke Knights, and Evan Knights for providing such an extraordinary service to the cycling community. In my absence this week, the Knights clan performed all of the trail maintenance, signage duties, and towed the trailer to the event to esure that everything carried foreward without a hitch.
Secondly, massive thanks are also due to my amazing wife Kelly who managed to juggle the timing duties and three rambunctious boys amidst the chaos that is Wednesdsy night racing at Coulson Hill. It takes a village to raise a child ad on this case our "child" is the series itself and we sure couldn't do what we do without the ongoing and generous support of those around us. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
No on to the racing where the highlight of the evening has to be the impressive turnaround performance of Mike Ceolin. In regaining the mojo that had eluded him for so long, Mike has written the comeback story of the year. Whether battling mechanical gremlins that seemed to throw a stick into his spokes at every turn, mistakes on the race course, or the ever-present competition the blistering heat of the Master Sport category, Mike has stuck to his plan and persevered.
With two wins and three podiums over the course of the past four weeks, Mike has reestablished himself firmly amongst the top riders in his category. This is no small feat given the likes of his competition. On this night, Chris Graham and Mark McArthur - both defending championship podium positions - set the pace on the first lap and looked poised to make the night difficult for their cohorts. Unfortunately for Chris, he battled some ongoing chain retention issues on his subsequent laps and steadily dropped positions as the race wore on. Mike seized the opportunity - carpe diem! - and bolted to the front of the pack on the second lap where he kept it pinned en route to a solid victory.
Mark remained solid until the third lap when the heat and pace both caught up to him - at about the same time as Martyn Sugar. This strong showing, and awesome lap 3 negative split, by Martyn allowed him to not only grab a second place finish but also to leapfrog the embattled Chris Graham in the championship standings. As is stands, Martyn is currently sitting poretty in first place overall with a slim 7-point margin over Chris. The battle for gold is most definitely on!
In the Expert field, special mentions go out to Trevor Peyton and Tyler Spina who are both new to the category this season and who are both making tremendous strides with respect to the competition. These two riders are both clawing their way to within striking distance of some of the best in the field. On this night, Trevor and Tyler finished less than 90-seconds in deficit to Dave Knights - one of the most consistent and potent riders in the field. With performances like these, the landscape is sure to evolve even further in seasons to come.
The lesson to be drawn from this impressive progress in one of increental gains. One does not wake up a champion. One does not walk into a category and start winning (usually). Success comes from the most obvious way - hard work and patience. If we go forth every day and put in our hardest effort, if we do the work outside of game day to lay the foundation required to bear the weight of our expectations, if we keep our nose to the grindstone, results will come.
But progress and growth is not a linear path. Oftentimes, our mission towards self-improvement is beset with disappointment and unforeseen challenges. Whether a chain snaps on the final climb as you accelerate towards your first victory, or an injury that interrupts a key training block in preparation for a race, or a busy period at work or school that commands your full attention - life is full of road blocks that can seem to crop up at the least opportune times. Life is dotted with "two steps forward, one step back" reality checks.
But to those who not only aspire to greatness, but actually achieve it, these setbacks are not allowed to define them - they only delay them. Keep working, keep reaching for the stars and always be mindful that progress is not always a one way street.
Who knows...maybe you will be the next Brett Rheeder. In his time at Spoke O'Motion, Brett tirelessly pursued his passion and showed continuous growth as an athlete - and as a person. From mind-boggling bravery that lead to competitive victories to disappointment in his efforts at securing sponsorship opportunities, Brett fully grasped what it would take to succeed with all of the glory and pitfalls that entailed. But this "beautiful idiot" had a vision that could not be blurred by injury, failure, or rejection. Today, Brett sits atride his bike atop the mountain of success knowing this he is one of the most influential riders on the planet. A young man who inspires, leads by example, and brings his passion to millions.