“I’ve never been disqualified before,” said Aaron Schooler. The cyclocross racer recently returned to Canada from Germany to get acclimatized and ready for the Canadian cyclocross championships in Winnipeg on Oct. 25. He was glad he arrived a few weeks early to adjust to the time zone change, which affected his first North American race in Rochester, N.Y. He also had some other challenges.
“I rolled a tubular while bunny hopping a barrier. So I crashed. I then had to get up and run to the pit. I had one guy helping me out holding my [spare] bike. I thought I’d better ditch my bike to run with enough time to my new bike. I basically dropped the bike on the fence, pick up my new bike and went. I thought nothing of it. But at the end of the race, they disqualified me for running too far without a bike. The commissaire said the rule states you can only run 15′ without a bike. I guess I ran 20′, which is essentially an extra step running. So, they disqualified me for taking one extra step,” he said.
A few days after that disqualification, Schooler could laugh about it. He was looking forward to Fireman’s Park Cross in Niagara Falls, Ont., the weekend before he planned to fly to Winnipeg. He was looking forward to the national championship race and the Manitoba Grand Prix of Cyclocross the next day, a C2-level race that has UCI points on offer. Schooler compared the location of the event, The Forks, and the festival atmosphere that the organizers of the events are fostering to the Canada Day criterium that used to run around the legislature in his hometown of Edmonton. “The reason the crit was so popular for spectators was that it was a bike race put on in the middle of a huge festival. It was pretty cool. The legislature is where people go to hang out. Families go there all the time,” he said.
After nationals, Schooler will have some downtime in Canada before he heads back to Germany. For close to a year, he’s been based in Tübingen, about 40 km south of Stuttgart. He’s connected with Focus CX, one of the few German teams dedicated to cyclocross. One of his teammates is Felix Drumm, Germany’s under-23 national champion. The focus of the team is predominately development, but it’s expanding its reach to more elite races. Schooler will be heading to the European continental championships on Nov. 8. Then it’s the start of the World Cup, which includes races at Koksijde, Belgium and Milton Keynes, in Great Britain.