Greg Sowak provides a HUGE Cross Season Wrap-up!

Juventus regretfully bids farewell to another exciting Cyclocross (CX) season; as always, our Juventus CX racers performed extremely well during this year's campaign - across all age groups and all categories. 

From rookies to "senior citizens", our CX team raced hard, smart, and managed a good number of podiums along the way!  This is really saying something, considering Alberta CX fields are bigger, deeper, and faster than ever!

Here are some highlights and photos of our athletes from the 2017 CX season:

(Our thanks to intrepid photographers Nancy St.Hilaire, Bill Quinney, Doug Bristow, and Ken Germaine, whose pics we feature here with their permission)

Alberta Cup

The season began on September 9 & 10 in Calgary with the Beans n Barley and Pumphouse Cross races.  Sean Germaine “looked sharp” on opening weekend, managing a 3rd and 2nd in the top tier Open category, with Cody Shimizu racing to an 11th and 9th.  Junior racers Ryan MacLean, Luke Bristow, and Alex Webb also came out flying!  Ryan managed a 9th and 7th in Open; Luke placed well in the challenging Expert category with a 9th and 13th; Alex left the Sport category in his dust, with podium finishes both days: 3rd and 2nd.

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Our team’s impressive run continued the following weekend at Canmore’s Drie Zussen Superprestige CX.  On day 1, Luke Bristow finished 5th in a strong and deep Expert field, Sean Germaine continued to dominate Open Men with a 2nd place, and young Ryan MacLean was not far behind, finishing an impressive 7th.

Sport and Novice categories also saw Juventus athletes finishing well.  Alex Webb and Chris Heinemann finished 1st and 2nd in Sport, with Mathieu Meurer (1st), Issac McKague (3rd), and Ben Damant (5th) performing well in Novice.

On day 2, Sean found another podium (3rd) and Ryan McLean was right on his heels with a very solid 5th place finish.  Meanwhile, Matt Meurer and Issac McKague owned the Novice podium, finishing 1st and 2nd, and Chris Heinemann placed a solid 3rd in Sport. 

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Our own annual CX showdown, The Jim Horner Grand Prix of Cyclocross, was held on the weekend of September 23 and 24th in conjunction with Hardcore’s Hop n Hurl. Wet weather leading up to the weekend forced a last minute venue change, but as we know, Lorne Dmitruk and his determined team stayed up late, got up early, and put together a fabulous race weekend in spite of mother nature!

Of note, junior rookie Ben Damant continued to climb through the ranks with a 6th place in Novice, Sean Germaine (3rd) and Ryan MacLean (6th) continued to perform well in Open, and our team dominated the Sport category with Matt Meurer (1st), Chris Heinemann (4th), and Greg Sowak (6th) all placing well!

Juventus and Focus CX Canada athlete Sidney McGill took top step in the Open women’s race.  Well done!

The following day, Isaac McKague had a solid result in Novice (5th), while Matt (1st) and Chris (6th) earned upgrades and Greg (7th) scored more points in Sport! 

In the top tiered Open categories, Sidney won another one and young Ryan MacLean had his best result as an Open racer, finishing second in a very experienced field that included Focus CX Canada racer Aaron Schooler (3rd).  Way to go Ryan!

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The weekend of October 14th and 15th was hosted in Devon by United Cycle and the awesome Devon Bicycle Association (DBA).  A favourite venue for many Juventus athletes, this year’s course did not disappoint as all the favourite features factored in the lumpy, slippery, and technical races: pump tracks, berms, sand pits, greasy run ups, and the notorious “agitator”!

Saturday’s United in Cross saw more excellent Juventus results!  Luke Bristow posted an impressive win in a tight Expert race, Sean Germaine crushed the Open men’s field for an awesome win, and Greg Sowak finished a strong second in the Sport category.  Meanwhile, Annie Scott performed well in Sport Women with a solid 6th place.

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Alberta Provincials, Devon, Alberta

Sunday’s Alberta Provincial Championship races also saw great team results.  Ryan Kohlenberg, gaining form all season, finished an impressive 6th in Masters A, Tracy Shearer (7th) and Greg Sowak (3rd) worked together well for a gratifying Masters C podium, and Sean Germaine (2nd) just missed winning the Men’s Provincial Championship in a furiously paced Open race!  Well done!

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The final local CX race of the season was back on our home bowl.  The Red Cross and School of Cross weekend, hosted by RedBike and ERTC on October 21 and 22, featured familiar, twisty grass switch backs, run ups, off cambers, and crisp but clear weather.  Awesome!

No stranger to the top step of the CX podium, Luke Bristow saw his last race in Expert on Saturday with another sweet win, and Ryan Kohlenberg continued his impressive run, finishing 4th on Saturday and 3rd on Sunday! Annie Scott also got in on the podium action, taking a solid win in Women’s Sport.  Great job, Annie!

Meanwhile, Juventus owned the Men’s Open top ten all weekend!  Proving they were well on form for Nationals, Sean won both days and Ryan finished 3rd and 2nd, while Cody Shimizu (8th and 10th) and Michael Verveda (10th and 5th) rounded out the rest of the best.  Well-done lads!

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Canadian Nationals, Sherbrooke, Quebec

For those who attended, Nationals in Sherbrooke, Quebec on October 28 marked the season highlight!  In addition to our stalwart Junior coaches, Ken and Tracy, who raced hard and looked fantastic in Master C, Juventus was proudly represented by Ryan MacLean, Luke Bristow (U19) and Sean Germaine (U23).

Although we did not score podium finishes this year, Sean placed an impressive 7th after a hairy start, and young Ryan worked his way through traffic to finish 5th in U19!  Congratulations to our Juventus Nationals CX team!

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Of course, no CX season would be complete without a race in the snow, and the season’s final race weekend provided just that, at Calgary’s Dark Knight and Cadence Cross races.  The old guys really came through at the Dark Knight, with Tracy finishing second and Ken a close sixth!  Must have been the Sherbrooke Poutine!  Alex (7th), Matt (9th), and Cody (11th) also had strong finishes.

On Sunday, Cam McDowell finished the season strong with a third place in Novice, and the Juventus [Sean (3rd), Ryan (6th), and Michael (7th)] show finished an amazing season - among the top CX racers in Alberta!

Meanwhile, Annie Scott earned another podium finish (3rd) and has really shown impressive form this year.

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Congratulations to the 2017 Juventus CX team!  (Now it’s time to sit back and sip on a nice Belgian bitter!  You earned it!

Posted on November 19, 2017 .