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Championship Standings - 2024

Compete weekly for a chance to stand on the podium in the season championships. At the end of the year, the top three riders in each category will earn a sweet medal and some swag from our amazing industry partners. 

Your top 12 races of the season count towards your championship totals, so you do NOT have to attend every race to win. There is opportunity for all and no single mechanical or missed race should cost you a chance at the Championship title.

Also be aware that during awful weather, the race may be assigned a "double points" night making it all the more important to get out there and chase for the podium!

Expert

Sport

Novice

Mini-Me

  1. Chad Madaleno
  2. Myles Cullen
  3. Dave Knights
  1. Ethan McFarlane
  2. David Van Schie
  3. Craig McFarlane
  1. Kayleigh McFarlane
  2. Liam Cullen
  3. Lila Van Schie
  1. Olivia McCague
  2. Alison McCague
  3. Nora McCague

Click for Series Standings

Week 2 - Mud, Sweat and Gears

May 13, 2024

In inclement weather, there is a moment when a rider surrenders absolute control and must allow gravity, friction, and a little luck to take the helm. This was not the discussion we were planning to engage this week, but such is the hand we were dealt. When I arrived at the forest late yesterday morning, the skies were deep blue and the forest was awash in sunshine. The rainfall from the previous days was but a memory and the stage was set for a fantastic night of racing.

One filthy group of riders post race 

Halfway through the day, when I was taking a short break from trail maintenance, I noted an email from a new rider who informed me that, due to concerns about the weather, he would not be participating. Glancing up at that gorgeous sky and wiping some sweat from my brow thanks to the midday heat, I admit that I found his concerns tending towards an over-abundance of caution. When I checked the weather app on my phone, I did, however, note the thunderstorm warnings before returning to my duties of ensuring a fast, fun, and safe course for all.

Given the rarity with which active weather actually hits a little tract of forest, I was confident that we would be spared anything too nasty. By the time 6pm rolled around, it was clear that we were likely to see a little moisture but the darkest skies seemed to be skirting our southern boundary and I remained optimistic that we would be spared the worst of it. By 6:30pm, registration was well under way and a few new riders had even signed up despite the ominous weather.

Then, it happened. With several riders out on course warming up, and a dozen or so more milling around the registration area, the temperature dropped precipitously while the wind started whipping the trees and tents around us. Moments later, the first balls of hail started to fly. As the fury of the storm grew, people flocked to the tents for shelter to avoid being pelted by dime-sized hail that was now pummelling the area. Riders who were pre-riding fled from the fireroads to find shelter in the forest. It was a wild and blustery ten-minutes that put the event into question. In my almost 50-years, I have never seen hail in the volume, size, and ferocity that we experienced last night.

Fortunately, within 10-minutes the chaos had passed and even the rain was behind us. With the skies looking clear and active weather behind us, we declared a much-beloved "double points" night and got down to the business of getting dirty. And what great business we did! The great irony of bad weather riding is that most people do NOT want to start riding when it's miserable out, but once you start turning the pedals and your blood starts pumping, the cold is chased away and, with it, your doubts about racing.

Within the first couple of corners, riders quickly came to understand that your bike will squirm and slide when you change direction. When you apply torque upon corner exit, you will accelerate from the apex in a lurid power slide with a rooster tail of mud coating your back, your butt, and your bike. Hands need to be loose and relaxed on the bars to enable lightning fast counter steering when the traction is lost; your weight needs to be immaculately balanced front-to-rear to make the most of your available grip; braking needs to delivered with a delicate and measured touch to avoid skids.

The Sport class was a source of both heated battles and a legitimate blow-out. Let's start with the amazing news: David Van Schie rode a blistering race and posted times that would have netted him a spot on the Expert podium. In week 1, David was also smoking fast but gave up his own success to ride with his young daughter Hazel Van Schie who ride exceptionally to finish the adult Novice course at only 8-years-old. But this week, Dave's maniacal laughter could be heard throughout the singletrack as he took full advantage of his super aggressive tires to out-grip, out-accelerate, and out-climb the sport field. You may be thinking, "What kind of reward would David get for such a performance?". The answer is obvious to those who know me: More suffering! We focus on creating competitive events where athletes of similar fitness levels can enjoy tight battle, so David has been rewarded with a mandatory category bump to expert. It is tremendous to see David's return to form this year and I am sure there will be some amazing battles tom come from this transition.

Cole Geisler is a rider to watch out for 

While Ethan McFarlane  was similarly untouchable in Sport, he was being hunted by both Jon Weening and his dad, Craig McFarlane. Whether through courage or better bike handling skills, Ethan was able to lock in a 40-second margin of victory over his chase pack. The surprise performance in the category belonged to newcomer Cole Geisler who went out hard and came through the finish area in third place on lap 1. This great display of potential should raise some eyebrows amongst the series veterans who will have yet another emerging threat to keep on their sights on race day. The Sport category is always a home to fantastic battles and tight championships. Ethan is the rider with the biggest target on his back right now, but he has a slew of riders just primed to take him down should he falter.

Olivia and Alison McCague rode like champs! 

On another positive note, it brings me great pleasure to welcome the entire McCague family to our event. All three girls (Olivia, Alison, and Nora) were keen to get underway and were smiling from start to finish as they slipped and slid their way through the Mini-Me course trailed by their loyal mom who took the opportunity to motivate and encourage her little rippers before hopefully joining us to race herself next week. The whole family was a model of adventure and competitive spirit as they braved the hail, the rain, and the wind and carried on with a spark in their eyes and cheeky grins on their faces. It's easy to be happy when you're not the ones doing the laundry! With shockingly few women joining competitive/organized cycling activities, it is absolute treasure to see an entire family of young women out their pushing themselves and having a blast doing it.

No one could hold this wheel tonight!

In Expert, Chad Madaleno scored a pile more championship points with his second place finish and has taken an early but substantial lead in the championship points. But as more races rack up, he will be under increasing pressure as rider's fitness improves and some other Coulson veterans return in the (inevitable) nicer weather. This week, Dave Knights, Chris Graham, and Eli Weening all returned to offer a challenge to Chad's early dominance. While none could hang onto the pace that Chad dished out on this occasion, the season is young and there are several challengers just chomping at the bit to demonstrate their true capabilities.

Next week, we will have an entirely new experience for our riders when we reverse the course. Hopefully, we can go without the weather madness!

Complete results with lap times, splits and more can be found at the link below.


Thanks to Al Muma for the photography. Complete photo gallery can be found here.

Week 1 - The Geese Are Running Wild

May 6, 2024

Oftentimes, spring races present riders with a wet and mucky welcome to the season punctuated by muddy bikes and clothes that reflects the conditions - some due to tire splatter and some due to the inevitable slide outs. Those who raced Paris to Ancaster a couple of weeks back can certainly attest to this overview.

Given the statistical likelihood of a tough start, it was a thrill to launch our race season under blue skies and trails that offered "hero dirt" with enough moisture to be compacted and incredibly grippy while being dry enough to stay where it belonged - on the ground.

These fantastic conditions were complimented by a typical early-season course that stuck to the southern, flatter end of the forest and incorporated Coulson classics like Log-a-Rhythm - a trail whose purpose is to help you dial in your bike handling and help you get into a rhythm and flow found by carving from apex to endless apex. The two hundred corners over a few hundred metres may not test your legs, but will certainly separate the bike handlers from the pedal pounders.

Scott Morton leads the Sport group into the first singletrack 

Just under 30 riders hit the course for our season opener with an exciting mix of grizzled veterans and a handful of new-to-the-series riders putting down a serious effort to make their mark and figure out where they stand amongst the pack. 

Intimidation and self-consciousness is often a big hurdle for new racers to overcome when they begin to attend organized cycling events, so kudos to everyone who looked beyond their fear of failure and brought themselves to the line in the spirit of friendly competition. At the end of the day, your fiercest competitor is often the lump of grey matter between your ears. This mass of cognition can either drive you to extend yourself beyond your comfort zone and experience the "new" where fresh neural pathways are formed and exhilaration drives you forward, or can paralyze you with the fear of the unknown.

Those who join us, choose a life worth living. The cast of characters at our series is always welcoming, open, and passionate about riding and, once people push through their insecurities and join us, this group will inspire you, motivate you, and encourage you to aim higher and push harder than you ever though possible.

Lila Van Schie rocked her 2023 gold medal (Mini Me) while shredding the course

Of course, rider error is also par for the course if you will pardon the pun. In my pre-race spiel about etiquette, safety, and rules I always lay out guidelines about best race practices. A theme that I revisit regularly is to keep your head up and to keep your eyes trained on trail signage in order to keep yourself on track. When you are cross-eyed from the effort and your brain is starving for oxygen, it's easy to follow the wheel ahead of you into oblivion like the proverbial lemmings being lead over the cliff.

Jon Weening leads Dustin Sampson...to nowhere

So let's just preface any performance discussion by making it clear that in order to be effective, one must actually complete the course without any unnecessary detours. While Jon Weening started the race in a solid sixth place position and was looking poised for podium glory, instead of staying the course (whoops, I did it again), Jon took a key competitor, Dustin Sampson, under his wing and lead them on a wild goose chase through some beautiful trails...that were not part of the course.

While Dustin managed to get himself together and claw himself back into the game with some great riding and contested a photo-finish sprint with Ethan McFarlane for a fourth place finish, Jon took a second detour later in the race and cost himself an additional minute. By that point, his goose was cooked. (Jeesh...enough already!).

Anderson Liddle dominated the Sport class

The performance of the night belonged to Sport rider Anderson Liddle. While his dad, Dave Liddle, joined us for his first race and notched an impressive 7th place finish in a highly competitive field, Anderson picked up right where he left off last season: Fast! Turning laps right around the 9:30 mark, Anderson lead the race from start to finish and built an uncatchable 2+ minute lead on the field. 

As riders return year after year, their cumulative experience and fitness increases performance almost without intent. Cycling is a sport that rewards long-term consistency and, if you keep riding regularly, the payoff is substantial. Anderson's performance is proof positive of this long held certainty and Anderson will now be moved to Expert where he can stretch his legs a little further with longer races and tougher competition. He won't find that his next results come so easily! Congratulations to Anderson for his exceptional riding and we look forward to seeing continued growth.

Chad Madaleno (Expert) made it clear that victory is the only option

Now that Anderson is being bumped up, he will face the unenviable challenge of battling a field of talented and diverse riders in the Expert field. This race began with Steve Prosser, a multi-time series champion, setting the pace as the athletes entered the forest for the first time in 2024. Being the tight field it is, Steve's attempt at dominance was quicky thwarted by Mark Cairns who made an assertive pass and was first across the line after the first lap with a ridiculous lap time of 8:48.

Even this was not enough as the lead quickly changed hands again as Chad Madaleno countered Mark's offensive by getting around second-place rider Seamus Cullen and then catapulting himself into first by the end of the second lap. Seamus had slipped into third by this point and was faced with the daunting task of having to regain a spot while carefully managing his effort so as to not blow up by the fifth lap.

From this point, Chad clung to his lead with an iron grip and refused to give another rider a chance at the top spot. Seamus made a hard effort on lap three to regain second and this is how the podium sat when the final bell tolled.

What an exciting bit of racing to start the season!

Kudos to Dave Liddle, Cole Geisler, Rob Gentile, Kevin Briscoe, Sadegh Hadiasgasr, and Jan Lutzen for pinning on a plate and joining our big, crazy family for the joy, pain, and organized chaos that is MTB racing. From the smiles on everyone's face, it looks like we are primed for another amazing season.

Thanks to everyone for their participation and I look forward to our next race.

Complete results with lap times, splits and more can be found at the link below.


Thanks to Al Muma for the photography. Complete photo gallery can be found here.