The Mud Runneth Over: Paris Ancaster Race 2012

April 16, 2012 by  Howard Chang

I began campaigning to get club members to join me for this fun spring event a couple of months ago and was happy to have 7 riders register. Alas with an injury, a vacation to Jamaica and a couple of no shows it was down to Rob, Andre, Angela and me to uphold the honour of Les Domestiques!

Paris Ancaster is the brain child of Tim Farrar who has been running this spring classic for 19 years. The event is classed as an endurance cyclocross race but can be ridden on a light mountain bike as well. The course covers 60kms of rolling dirt roads, farm fields, ATV trails and technical single track. We started the day in driving rain and Rob and I took shelter UNDER one of the bike transport trucks. As we lined up for the start Andre found us and with a horn blast we were off.

The rain created some interesting riding. Within minutes we were all covered in wet mud kicked up from the rider in front. 45 minutes in and Andre, myself and Rob were managing to stay together until bang my chain breaks. Stupid move trying to force a shift going full on over a steep muddy hill. After what seemed like an eternity, but was likely 5 minutes, I fixed the chain (yes I can do that as Mitch knows) and proceeded to ride myself inside out trying to catch the boys. Well 20 minutes with my heart rate pinned at 170 and they were still not in sight. The only thing I accomplished was to blow up so badly I had to limp along for 15 minutes just to catch my breath.

We all agreed it was a ton of fun and maybe a few more intrepid members will venture into the dark side of riding without the benefit of pavement for Paris Ancaster 2013!

Up ahead Andre and Rob were riding like champs. Rob survived a crash or two but both he and Andre finished well ahead. We all managed to ride the final steep one kilometer dirt climb (unlike most of the field) and were very happy to get washed up (with a hose) and jam some food down our gullets. As you can see from the photos we did our best George Hincapie at Paris Roubaix impression with our faces and bodies plastered in mud for the duration of the race.

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