Derrick St. John talks cyclo-cross

My Cross season so far … a conversation with the Dude.

— By Stevens Racing p.b The Cyclery rider Derrick St. John

Derrick St. John races in the snow at the Anvil cyclo-cross organized by Ride With Rendall. Photo by Rodd Heino

Derrick St. John races in the snow at the Anvil cyclo-cross organized by Ride With Rendall. Photo by Rodd Heino

Dude: “Yo DSJ, whats up with your ‘cross, I thought you were the man, you had a wicked road season, you won a bunch of races, you slayed it in June, then you won Tour of Bowness solo, you got to do the Tour of Alberta with the National Team, why haven’t I seen your name in any results? I mean any, I’ve looked for your name, but you’ve been on like the second page of results … you stop training or something? Tell me you got a new job and your working like 60 hours a week … c’mon man”

DSJ: “…uh, no I ve been training, pretty hard actually … work is good … things just haven’t clicked..”

Dude: “You sure man? cause I saw you racing, and you looked like you were going hard, but you just didn’t look like you were going that fast, did you develop an allergy to Red Bull or something?”

DSJ: ” No, I mean I’ve had some bad luck here and there…”

Dude: ” I don’t know, I’m pretty sure you make your own luck, and what did you tell me, this season ‘no alibis,’ I think I saw Natasha riding faster than you in warm up!.”

And that about sums up the ‘cross campaign for me so far. Things should have been a lot better, but it just hasn’t panned out. Not for a lack of trying, and if I wasn t so stubborn, I would have DNF’d a bunch. I think I flatted six times in the first two months of the season. Its been a rough go so far, no fairy dust and pixies, that’s for sure.

I’ve had some dark moments, where I have let my frustration get the better of me. I don’t think I’d be human if I didn’t get frustrated. But one of the best things I’ve ever heard, was that when things are good, its easy to be happy, but when things don’t go your way and you can turn it around, that’s when you actually take something away from this sport. It’s about challenging yourself to be the best you can be. I try and let those things stick with me. When things go to heck in a race, I just take a deep breath, breathe it out and try to get back to the task.

Ok, maybe between those breaths I have blurted out some minor quasi-profanities. Maybe I’m a bit of a narcissist, I thought, ‘well I’ve had a great year, I’ll just ride my cross bike, train hard and for sure I’ll win. Its simple.’

Ha ha, joke’s on me, not so easy. So that leads me to this weekend.

Hammer and Anvil

RWR put on some of the best races in Ontario/Canada. This weekend was no exception. The courses were different from previous years, although the venue remained the same, The Nepean Equestrian Park, we were allowed to use one of the barns on the property for warming up and vendors’ display. Good thing, as the temperature was below freezing Saturday and it snowed just before the noon race, making the men’s race a snow-filled romp. I got off to a quick start, and I could almost hear the announcer Rob Orange, say “St. John with a lead and a gap on the first lap?” as I m not generally known for crushing first laps. Well, the later crushing that was to come was Norco Rider Andrew L’Esperance running over my head in one of our three crashes into each other. That left me a bit discombobulated and then I proceeded to find every patch of ice hidden on the course and kiss it with my knees and hips. I thought I was going to need an ortho consulation.

Evan McNeely (Norco) jumped out to the lead, but then rolled a tubular and his teammate Andre Watson took the win. Osmond Bakker rode strong and showed that the older guys can push when conditions are nasty.

Sunday the temperature dropped to about -15C with wind chill and the course was run backwards , it had some interesting changes and was even more challenging technically. The three Norco Riders took off early in the race and fought it out between them. I managed to come fourth, racing a bit conservatively with my tail between my legs as I was fairly banged up from Saturday’s Icecapades debauchery.

Both days the Ride With Rendall crew and OCA staff braved the weather even more so than the riders to make for a very exciting race in the nation’s capital. Thanks to Dave Busch we had a nice Stevens/Cyclery compound to show off the armada of Stevens Super Prestige Bikes. I’d like to thank the RWR crew (Glen and Taz Rendall, Jason, Rob and company) for hosting yet another great event showcasing the ability of RWR to make the race happen no matter what.

If you’ve never done an RWR race you don’t know what you r missing. Thanks as well to recent OCA award winning soingeur ALex Sanna(SRS) , who not only brought riders from Toronto, but had a tent pitched inside and outside and did a wicked job of providing support to riders throughout the day.

So the weekend was nice, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I still got a fat plate of Shawarma Palace to ease my heartaches tonight, so I’m good. Next up: Nationals in Surrey, B.C., next weekend!