Saturday was a busy day of championship racing for Canada’s top male cyclocross racers, with solid battles under snowy conditions across categories.
Multiple national champions, and several newer faces made appearances at the front of the elite men’s race. Starting with previous wearer of the maple leaf, Rahaël Gagné, who took the hole shot off the start.
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In the end, it would be mulit-time, multi-discipline national champion Geoff Kabush and defending ‘cross champ Michael van den Ham duking it out for top honours in Peterborough. Behind them, Mark André Fortier rode consistently all race to take the final podium spot in third.
Before the elite and under 23’s took over the course, Carter Woods (Naked Factory Racing) of Cumberland, B.C. slid through the snow to his second national title of 2018. The junior XCO champ, earned in Canmore this summer, flew through light flurries for his second title.
Behind the elite men, Gunnar Holmgren and defending champion Rahpael Auclair were locked in a back-and-forth battle in the early laps of the under 23 race. Holmgren rode a wave up home-province support to take the win, while Auclair held off Quinton Disera to take silver.
With one cross championship to his name, Gagné was on the front early
Van den ham made his way to the front quickly after that, intent on extending his time in the maple leaf jersey
Hot on van den Ham's heels was veteran campaigner Geoff Kabush, riding his Open U.P. cross bike
Behind the elite men, Auclair and Holmgren were trading turns on the front
Nearly everyone hit the deck at some point. Woods slides down Heckler's Hill on his way to winning the juinor mens title
Auclair out in front and full speed down Heckler's
Immediately after going through the wringer of Heckler's Hill, racers hit this greasy off camber corner.
Many of Canada's best mountain bikers showed up for cross nationals, even if they hadn't been racing all fall. Andrew L'Esperance rode from the back row up into sevent in Peterborough.
Crows cheered racers sucesses and slides up and down Heckler's Hill.
The Shimano run up was especially greasy on Saturday, with a good foothold nearly impossible to find
Van den Ham and Kabush trying to mix speed and traction up the muddy mess
Bringing a bit of downhill to the cross course, these guys had loud voices and a louder chainsaw to motivate riders
Quinton Disera mixing speed and balance across on his way to third in under 23 men
Showing signs of the effort late in Saturday's racing
Van den Ham powering away for the win
Geoff Kabush with perhaps less than optimal front tire pressure. A flat far from the pits left the veteran chasing van den Ham
Carter Woods celebrates his second national title this year
Under 23's collect themselves after a hard effort
Michael van den Ham defends his Canadian cyclocross championship title