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Hamilton CC March 2003 Newsletter



Don Sloan




George Garrett




Chris Kiriakopoulos




Keith Oliver




Chris Kiriakopoulos




Randy Brown




Dave Harrison




Martin Reid




Keskinada ’03

by Dave Harrison


            This year 2003 marked the 25th anniversary of the Keskinada Loppet in Gatineau, Quebec.   Gatineau Park to be more precise.


            My first nordic skiing experience was the Gatineau 55, the 55km predecessor of the “Keski”.  Now when I say my first experience, I literally mean my first!  In 1992, I’d just taken up the sport with some friends when one of them suggested we do this loppet in Gatineau Park.  I’d been skiing for only a few months at the time!  So off to Ottawa we went to meet up with a few other skiers, armed with skis and poles which I now know were better suited for a chap 7’-2” tall, and freshly waxed up with a coat of parafin that nowadays I wouldn’t use as a travel wax.

              The morning of the race we were welcomed by some very cold –20oc conditions, fortunately back then I was too green or naive to know that waxing for extreme cold can be a little tricky, so we set off for the start line.  With a blast of the horn we were off, close to a thousand skiiers, what a rush, but why did it feel like I was skiing in sand?


By start time my group of Nordic colleagues was whittled down to just three of us.  My friend Joe entered “only” the 25 km event because of the extreme cold, while Dave and I soldiered on into the 55 km.  About 5 km into it I had lost Joe and Dave.  They had been skiing for many years, and must have reached the Pink Lake summit far ahead of me, so be it, I’ll wear them down over the long haul, I thought.


            Many km’s and two feed stations later into the race I experienced first hand the “Penguin Climb”.  This is Keskinada’s equivalent to Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill or the Tour de France’s Mount Ventox.  The climb actually starts at the base of the Penguin picnic area off the Gatineau Parkway.   I thought it took its name from the skiers doing their best impersonation of our tuxedoed friends as they herring-boned their way up the grind.


Along the ridge road trail up top, I marched on in the cold and wind finally reaching the Champlain lookout summit.  The view from the summit is a God send and one almost wants to stop to fully take it in.  I truly believe it’s a gift from the snow gods for only those who dare climb there on skis.   From the lookout the race heads back mostly downwards and I use the term “mostly” quite loosely.


Still thinking that even on top of slight frostbite, I never could catch Dave, I wondered if he’d dropped Joe before the 25 km turnaround?


You know it’s funny how races work, at half-way you sometimes feel awful that, that how will I finish kind of awful, but there it is, “1,000m to finish” and wow the energy rush almost drops you to your knees.


This year I did the 25km event due to the lack of training and took a different route into the finish area.  Yes, the 1,000m to finish sign was still there but more importantly, more inspiring  was the mini-keski children’s event which was being run around the field beside me to my left.  Little children of all ages, sizes and some with poles, some without, but all laughing and just playing in the snow on their skis, it was magic, my keski was complete.


Oh by the way, unknowingly, I was ahead of my two mates from the start and Dave was forced by the cold to turn back with Joe at the 25km cut-off.


Fast forward, 11 years to February 16th, 2003, my pals Dave and Joe no longer do the race, but this year Rob Cheskey and his brother Edward did the 50km and 25km races respectfully.   In fact Edward did both 25km skate and classic!  My friend Hans from Hamilton won the 30-35 age group 25km classic and was 24th overall.  Their success and those children brought a smile to my face.  In the end I realized what most people must have suspected for 11 years, that I’m not an exceptional nordic skier, but I do have an exceptional love for nordic skiing.


Hamilton Cycling Club Kit

Limited sizes available

Call Keith at (905) 335-5278


Jersey - $45

Skin Suit - $85

Shorts - $55

Bib Shorts - $70

  2002 Specialized Hotrock – Size:  19” Asking  $450.00

Contact:  Tom at (905) 383-5226


Set of 13” aluminum rollers

Asking $50.00

Contact:  Dave at (905)  529-6420


Giro Aerohead Helmet

Asking $30.00

Contact:  Dave at (905) 529-6420


See Naples & Die

by John Bonfield


Just as educated citizens of an older culture would say, “See Naples & Die…” meaning that seeing Naples was the ultimate life-time experience for a civilized person, so, any enthusiastic cyclist who had once seen the Montreal Velodrome had the urge to ride on what was probably the world’s newest and finest indoor track.


            Although I was a little on the wrong side of 39 years of age the compulsion to ride a bicycle through those sweeping bankings was so strong that on every business week in Montreal I would spend one evening watching Federation Cyclist Quebec training sessions.


            On Tuesday, January 20th I spoke with Jacques Tessier of the Asoc. Cycliste Veteran Quebec who was at the track helping.  Jacques introduced me to Robert and Eric Van Den Eynde, top Quebec riders that run the velodrome and bike rental.  It was arranged that I would turn up at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 2nd since at that time the track would be open to the ordinary, unlicenced cycling public.


            I duly arrived on the Thursday, making my way downstairs (after signing the register with the security man at the main entrance) and into the labyrinth of corridors below the stands and track.  Opening off these corridors were numerous changing rooms, washrooms and locker rooms.  Some of these rooms contain large wired enclosures in which the various club lock up their track machines.


            I changed into shorts, jersey and helmet and presented myself at the “machine room” to hire a suitable bike.  Eric Van Den Eynde selected a large, black-framed machine for me and adjusted saddle and bars to my requirements.  I vaguely noticed a steel chainset and cottered cranks before mounting and trying a few timid circles in the corridor to get used to the fixed wheel.  Apart from the two laps at the Windel track on the borrowed machine in 1977 I hadn’t ridden a “fixed” since 1952.  Furthermore, apart from half a day on my road bike at Windel I hadn’t ridden on a banked track since 1939 when I spent an hour on the asphalt track at Kettering in England!


            Finally, a group of about 20 unlicenced riders was assembled and we were escorted through to the track.  Robert Van Den Eynde gave me my instructions first since I was only mono-lingual, also the oldest and therefore possibly the most in need of precautionary advice.


            I moved off carefully on the flat infield, tightening toe straps and stealing apprehensive glances at the towering slopes of the boards at my right shoulder.  If the track looks impressive from the stands it looks even more impressive from the infield, just as Niagara Falls looks more impressive when viewed from the “Maid of the Mist”.


            What madness had got me into this situation; what vanity lead me to believe that my pitiful 22mph (30kph) time tria speeds would be sufficient to hold me on these dizzying bankings?


            I couldn’t aimlessly circle the flat infield all evening – I had to make my move.  This required easing onto the straight at the earliest possible moment, climbing the slope diagonally and at the same time gaining enough speed to hold me to the banking.  A quick glance over my shoulder for traffic, out of the saddle and dig…dig…dig…speed building up, faster, faster – the banking was now too close, my course was committed...suddenly the surface has tipped hideously and I am conscious of the green painted infield a long way below my left elbow.  I was also very alert to the fact that my machine was not holding a smooth line through the banking, but quivering with the desperate thrusting of my legs was gradually dropping below the black line until at the exit my wheels were on the blue line.  Now down the straight trying to hold my speed and into the second banking.  Again the result, into the banking above the black line but exiting low near the gutter.


Already I was exhausted and rode off onto the flat, back-pedalling hard to avoid slamming into the banking like a wall ahead.  Lungs heaving after only one lap I trundled around the infield allowing the pounding of my heart to subside.  Several times during the next hour I tried a single lap.


One fact became apparent, at my speeds to hold a line through the bankings required slight “understeer” that is a slight pressure on the bars to the right.  This means that the bicycle isn’t tracking properly and is scrubbing off more power than if the banking was a shallower angle, suitable for my speeds which are so much lower than speeds of the demi-fonde.


            During one of my laps there was an ominous ‘thump’ behind me as one of the other riders slipped down the banking.


            Finally, Robert Van Den Eynde gave us all the ‘last lap’ signal and feeling a little relieved I slowed to a stop, picked up my bag and bike and staggered down the stairs on rubber legs back to the changing rooms.


            I had done it – had ridden on this superb track, although not young or fit enough to ride more than one consecutive lap at a time!  I had “seen Naples” but of course I’m not ready to die yet, it will be enough to simply go back to the humdrum routine of the daily grind – until the next trip to Montreal!

To Hell & Back - December 8th, 2002

A “Sportif” ride presented by the “Midweek Cycling Club”

by Rob Cheskey


            2002 was a year when I’d taken on a few new challenges, such as the “Paris-Ancaster” race in April and the Coupe des Ameriques stage race at Sutton, Quebec.  I felt I’d done pretty good at these and so I tried the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont, around Labour Day.  To cap the cycling season, following an October and November of cyclocross, this “Hell & Back” ride seemed interesting.


            I’d hoped Randy would come with me, but he passed on it.  I arrived at the Box Grove Community Centre (northeast of Toronto) before 7:30, one of the last cars to fit in the parking lot.  The first thing I noticed was a ‘fixed-gear’ bike leaning against a fence.  Kevin Lehman saw me eyeing it and proudly said “It’s a 51 x 16!”  Stupidly, I didn’t take take to examine the bike, as to tires, brakes etc…I assume he had a front hand brake on, but only remember noticing the ‘cow-horn’ handlebars.  The thing is, Kevin finished in an astonishing 3rd place!  Especially so considering some fairly major climbs and descents and some very snowy ‘track’ sections, mostly ‘rail-trail’ and one horrible 2 km stretch on a forest trail.


I’d bought a pair of nylon-fronted, fleecy tights for cold weather riding and, with the forecasted high of –2 or so and snow, I dressed warmly.  I even worse Lifa under the tights; also wind-briefs and cycling shorts.  Under my helmet, not one but TWO balaclavas, giant snowmobile mitts; I didn’t want to get cold.  I’m known for dressing warmly, other riders even kid me about it.  This time I admit that I overdid it.


Fifty of us started at 8:15 a.m.  The pace picked up after 2 or 3 km and already I felt sluggish and overheated.  We hit the first off-road section, which was dry.  I’d opted to use my road racing machine with hard tires, after calling up Rodney Merchant in Toronto, who I knew was riding the ‘Hell’. Rodney had told me that the trails were mostly hard and fast; he’d ridden them a week and a half ago.  A cyclocross tire would be slow on the fast road sections; maybe a beefy road tire would be the way to go.


I happened to have my Spinergy wheels on my road bike; hadn’t raced on these all year because of the new U.C.I. rule banning certain wheels in sanctioned events.  Might as well get some use out of ‘em.  The Continental tubulars were tough, I was sure; even if the rear tire was only a ‘19’.  I had my tires pretty hard, and found myself losing ground due to the bumpy ride on the off-road.


Back on pavement now, we headed north and I was a bit off the back of the lead position after only 5 km.  They were hammering and I couldn’t gain any ground.  Julia Bradley and Peter Oyler caught me, with the pack still in sight ahead, but we made no progress on it.


The next off road section was snow covered and I found the going tough; I was snaking back and forth as my skinny, hard tires cut through the snow.  I slipped and fell hard, hurting my right hip.  My overbooties had came up over the toes of my shoes; I had to remove the big mitts to pull the bootie toes back over the shoes.  Clipping in was difficult with the Look pedals and cleats iced up.


I caught back up to Julia and Peter on the next road section but it took a good effort.  I’d tried to drink a couple of times but the nozzles on my water bottle were frozen; two hours into the race I was so desperate to drink that I let Julia and Peter go, stopping to remove a top from a bottle to have a good drink.


It began snowing heavily – almost horizontal with the strong sou-wester.  I’d been riding with a guy on a ‘cross bike’ and was surprised how good he was going:  finally had to let him go as I needed to stop for water again.


I slowly caught back up, the road hard-packed with snow, a plow recently on it.  Visibility was poor; the edge of the road wasn’t clear and it seemed more slippery closer to the shoulder, so I tended to stay mid-lane.


Attempting to chew a bite off a frozen Gatorade bar, I needed to use so much force that I inadvertently jerked the handlebar slightly with my left hand.  Down I went, sliding along the snowy road.  The bike was sliding ahead of me, edging toward the other lane, in which a van was approaching.  Luckily the driver steered clear of my bike and I and we were able to continue.


I’m sure the driver must have been shaking his head at the sight of the bicycle riders in a blizzard, one of them sliding on his butt along the road.  I chuckled to myself at the lunacy.


Yet it got worse, much worse…


I reached a turn onto the so-called ‘Hell of the North’ track section – found out later that this was about 76 km into the ride.  This was a long (11 km) section.  My progress was slow in the 6” or so of snow.


My seat height became a real problem; I’d meant to lower the saddle pre-race but was pressed for time at the start.  The problem was that I was forced to a stop on many occasion on this snowy track, and my saddle, at summer road racing height, allowed me to barely touch the ground with my toes.  I actually fell over several times.  Remounting and restarting was very hard, as I had to pull the booties over my shoe toes every time and I couldn’t clip in to the pedals.  The snow offered resistance to a push-off, my high saddle was very awkward.  It was hellish.  Several ‘slow’ riders on mountain bikes were passing me now.


I was so glad to finally get to the end of this ‘track’ section and the ‘Feed Zone’ where there were several marshals, offering cookies and ‘energy’ drinks.  I gulped down a can full and removed my glasses, which were so iced and fogged up that I couldn’t see with them on.  I was tempted to pack it in; I’d one near 4 hours.  But maybe it’d be easier heading south.  It was lonely; I never saw another rider.  It was all roads for a long while, some paved, some gravel, some badly washboarded or potholed.  Visibility was bad; my wrists hurt from the rough ride; icicles kept forming on my eyelashes.  My big mitts had a hard backing, which hurt my face, so I had to remove a mitt to rub or pull at the icicles.  I’m amazed at how few cars there were on the roads; this was a positive thing!


I though about packing it in and sitting in the warm car of a marshal.  I’d ridden over 4 ½ hours.


I never saw another marshal for a long time.  Some of the roads were fast now, a tailwind helping.  There were some big climbs and long descents.


I reached a marshal (at the 108km mark) who directed me off the paved road onto a ‘track’ section.  I cursed out loud.  I decided to keep going, as I figured there was only 32km or so to go.  It was colder now, but the sky was clear.  This was the WORST section; 2km that was almost unrideable for me.  I couldn’t run, with my awkward booties and road shoes; I had to walk, as I was not able to mount the bike and move forward on it.  I was so glad to reach the road again, but it took so long!  I was counting down the km’s now; 30 to go, 20 to go, etc.  There were a couple of 5km stints into the cold wind, but I finally made it.  6 hrs, 27 mins.


Ryan Roth, the first ‘back from hell’, had finished over 1 ½ hours ahead of me.


Would I do this ride again?  Maybe; hopefully I’d make better clothing and equipment choices, and have a less hellish time of it.  I still haven’t spoken with Kevin, about his amazing third place finish on a fixed gear.



Sue Palmer-Komar Joins Genesis Scuba/FFCC Cycling Team

As reported to the Canadian Cyclist Website on January 28, 2003


It was last January when Wynter arrived here in the deep South – that is former Olympian Iona Wynter.  Iona’s addition to the roster marked a major milestone for the regional development team based out of Atlanta, GA.  Exactly one year later, an equally important milestone has been reached as the Genesis Scuba/FFCC Cycling team proudly announces the signing of a second Olympian to the squad.  Canadian standout Sue Palmer-Komar will join the women in blue for their North American campaign.


“From the first time I saw Sue race in the Atlanta Olympics, I knew she was something,” said Genesis Scuba Director Sportif Mike Skop.  “Since that time, she has quietly gone about the job of proving that she is one of the best women cyclists in the world.  It’s hard to believe that she’ll be part of this team.  We are all so excited to have her on board for 2003.”


Is she really one of the best riders in the world?  “Absolutely,” says Skop.  “There are only a few riders in the entire world who have finished in the top ten at World Cup races, Elite World Championships and the Olympics.  Sue is one of those riders.”


Highlights of her brilliant career include:


1st – Fort Ord Race Race, Sea Otter Classic

3rd overall GC, Sea Otter Classic

4th overall GC, Solano Bicycle Classic

8th overall GC, Hewlett Packard Women’s Challenge

9th Plouay France World Cup

1st ITT, Millionaires Row Stage Race

1st RR, Millionaires Row Stage Race

1st overall GC, Millionaires Row Stage Race


Silver Medal – 2002 Commonwealth Games Road Race

10th – 1996 Olympic Games Road Race

6th – 1994 Commonwealth Games Road Race

1996 National Road Champion

Silver Medal – 1995 National Road Championship

Bronze Medal – 1997 National Road Championship

One stage win and Mountain Competition winner – Haute Garonne FRA

4th – 1998 Fleche Wallonne

Stage Win and 4th overall – 1997 Street Skills Women’s Cycle Classic NZ

1994 – 1997 Mountain Competition Winner – HP Women’s Stage Race USA

1994 – 1997 Mountain Competition Winner – Tour de l’Aude FRA

Over 24 Mountain Competition Wins



11th – World Road Championship FRA

3rd – Univest GP USA

7th – BMC Series Arlington USA



10th – World Road Championships POR

4th – National Road Championships CAN

1st – Jimmy Peak RR USA

1st – Springbank RR CAN

3rd – Fitchburg Stage Race USA


Sue’s time on the racing circuit will be slip between riding for Genesis Scuba while racing here in the North America and the Canadian National Team for a European schedule that includes a number of World Cup races.  The combination of sharing her time is a perfect fit for her.  “Outside of the support being given to me by the Canadian National Team and North American Bici, I was preparing for a very limited U.S. itinerary.”  Sue explained recently.  “After talking with Mike Skop, we were able to forge a U.S. schedule that is mutually beneficial to both parties while enhancing my international objectives.  I am very pleased with this development, and would like to thank Mike for the opportunity to join Genesis Scuba/FFCC.”


The entire team welcomes Sue, her husband Chris and their daughter Trinity to the Genesis Scuba/FFCC family!





Club Bio

Member:  Dave Harrison


What’s the last meal you cooked?

Pasta and steamed veggies with pesto…mmmm.


What’s your favourite drink?

Beer, coffee, but honestly it’s a real toss up.


What was the last book you read?

It’s not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong.


What’s the last CD you bought?

Springsteen, The Rising


What’s the last movie you saw?

Stuart Little 2


What’s your favourite website?

Not much of a surfer just yet, but I guess it be our own Hamilton CC or Canadian Cyclist.


What non-cycling magazines do you read?

Goalie’s World (if you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand)


Where do you live?

Locke Street district in Hamilton.  Maria and I bought here 1 ½ years ago, it’s a small two-storey, perfect for the two of us.


Other then cycling, what other sports do you do?

Too many to mention here, mainly running, nordic skiing and hockey.



Editor’s Note:  You may have noticed our first bio is about me.  So read over the questions and prepare some answers because you never know when I may be calling you.



Text Box: If you have a story for the newsletter, want to add an item to a buy and sell list, or just mention a group ride, call Dave at 905-529-6420 or mail me at 5 Chatham Street, Hamilton, ON  L8P 2B3 or send via e-mail at dchcycling@aol.com.


  Calendar of Events


MAY 2003



May 4 – O-Cup Mountain Bike #1,

Pleasure Valley

Chico Racing

(905) 852-0381

May 4 – 35th Annual Springbank Road Race

Charlie Squires

(519) 852-0381

May 6 – Start of HCC Tuesday TTs, White Swan Road Circuit **


May 10 – Giro d’Italia Starts


May 11 – Fisher Enduro #1, Mansfield

Chico Racing

(905) 852-0381

May 13 – White Swan TT **


May 17 – Rapid City Niagara Classic Stage Race, O-Cup Road #2 (2 days)

Tim Lefevre

(905) 688-1296

May 17 – 40k BAR Road Race, Ayr **


May 19 – Giant 5 #2, Ganoraska

Alpha Racing

(905) 986-0959

May 20 – White Swan TT **


May 25 – O-Cup Mountain Bike #2, Kelso

Chico Racing

(905) 852-0381

May 27 – White Sawn TT **



** Club Event






Spinning Wheels – Editor’s Column



            My second installment of the HCC newsletter is here, and not without a few glitches.  A couple of weeks into February my computer went down with a bug that took several days to have repaired, nothing serious, but my hands were tied without it.  I had the old “Remington” out ready to type out things the old fashion way.


            I have to thank Rob Cheskey and John Bonfield for their articles this issue.  I think you’ll enjoy both of them.  Along with their pieces, I’ve put together some new segments and old standards, along with a race calendar which spans three months and covers most contacts.


            The newsletter wouldn’t be a reality without my fiancé, Maria to help me out.   I write, collect, and arrange the pages, but she’s the glue that binds it all together quickly and efficiently, something that’s not always within my grasp.


            You may notice throughout the newsletter, various bike shop ads.  These are just a few stores that offer us a range of discounts, with a membership card of course.  Please be sure to support them and mention the club.


            Our race season is just around the corner.  By the time you read this, the Good Friday race will almost be here.   This is always a huge undertaking for our club and volunteers play a big part.  If you think you can help at all, please contact a club exec and we’ll fit you in.


            On the pro front, I see Paolo Bettini of Quickstep Davitamon won the Tour of the Mediterranean with Laurent Brouchard – AG2r – Provoyence a close 16 seconds back.  With new teams formed and others gone, new team leaders, this could be a great year with a lot of people looking forward to the worlds in Hamilton.  Bettini, Merckx, Armstrong just to mention a few have talked about keying on the rainbow jersey this October.  Our own Sue Palmer-Komar was also in the news.  Read all about her in this issue.


Yours in Sport,



David Harrison


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