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Batty Cross: A-maize-ing

Emily Batty knows how to throw a cross race! Big thanks to her crew who helped put on such an a-maize-ing event. It was one of those days that when I got home, I was still riding a high. From the course, to the spectating, to the social atmosphere, it was a great day.

Batty Cross is held on Emily's family farm in Brooklin. It really is a neat venue with a well thought-out layout and spooky vibe. The course had a mountain biking twist too - a Batty twist with lots of mud. Features included: a start on an uphill, straight-aways to pound it, flowy berms, a corn maze with multiple lines to choose from, a mud chute, forested trails with some off camber sections, a *rideable* run-up and muddy stairs.

Race Report Niblets

I was lucky enough that my race was in the afternoon so I got to pre-ride a couple of times before show time. I wasn't too shabby at the technical bits during the race but fumbled a lot with clipping in. The first lap I actually got passed by several racers on the second straight away because I couldn't clip in. A couple times I even had both feet unclipped on downhill turns or when I had to dismount just before the stairs - thankful for no mishaps! (Perhaps it's time to give Crank Brothers pedals a try?)

I spent the first couple laps behind Amy W. and Stephanie R. at their pace. In hindsight it would have been a good experiment to try a different line through the corn field and see if I could come out ahead. Next time!

P.C. Nick Iwanyshyn

High intensity racing isn't really where I excel, so I have a tendency to just sit back and do my thing without attacking. I remember trying to pass Stephanie on a trail saying 'on your left; actually, no, nevermind' - I had no power to pass. I only got ahead when Stephanie took a little spill after a sandy bit remounting. Then I was behind Amy the rest of the race.

The crowds cheering were great. Having strangers yell 'ya, Santa Cruz!' was really motivating. As was 6-year old Devin cheering for me in the kid's zone. Thanks Devin! My team tried to get me to spice things up too. I remember Vance yelling 'one more gear!' and I simply said 'no'. I didn't have it in me. Probably not true considering I am smiling in most photos captured. Oops.

P.C. Lauren Daniells

I've never raced a men's race, but I'm not so sure it's the same as a women's race - we seem to have a certain sense of camaraderie, even amidst chasing one another. There were several times throughout the race where I passed others on opposite sides of the tape, where we smiled or told each other to keep going. I loved it. Even Amy was keeping my motivation high as she looped passed me.

One of my race highlights was when Jenn Jackson was about to lap me and let me hit the berms before the pass. She passed me on an uphill and I was yelling out 'look I'm racing Jenn'. The best. Siobhan Kelly and Nicole Bradbury were also in the mix - strong ladies who race the Worlds circuit. Looking at my lap times, they were pretty consistent: 9:58, 9:40, 9:38 and 9:43. Just a little more umph and I would have been able to pull off a fifth lap.

P.C. Lauren Daniells

I ended up coming in third in E3! My teammate Sophie H. came second, and didn't get lapped! Pauline B. from Lantern Rouge killed it.

I was off cleaning my bike when they called my name and almost missed my podium. Vance came to get me and I quickly pedalled to the hay bale step, dismounted and got my hug from Emily.

P.C. Lauren Daniells

Jo from Pedal Harder came second in Masters Women and gave me a vogue shot:

Emily and I chatted for a bit following podiums. I let her know that as a mountain biker, this course was a cyclocross dream. I can't decide if she was pointing at me because she thought I was cool or because she wanted everyone to know I was super sweaty:

P.C. Pedal Power Photography

I celebrated with fries and a smoked donut with bacon bits sprinkled in the glaze.

Corny Friends and Family

The Faction turnout for this event was awesome. Fifteen of us were racing across the board. Many of our regular competition was also out in full force which made for a fun day. I even met another fellow racer who is signed up for The Rift!

The course was set up in a way that there were lots of areas to spectate. I stuck around Jo from Pedal Harder to try and learn some heckles - still an area of expertise for which I need to grow. I wonder if Emily has any good ones?

P.C. Lauren Daniells

The venue was set up so well for kids that many friends brought along their kiddos. Pump track, kid's zone, snacks - you name it Batty Cross had it covered. One of my favourite videos of the day is Luke tackling a big berm on the pump track:

There were so many kids ready to race (60 plus!), that the kid's race had to be split up into three age groups. That there is really the success of the event.

While I was busy cheering, Lauren took many lovely photos of the kids:

P.C. Lauren Daniells

I sadly missed the 'Ride the Plank' challenge as my carpool wanted to jet. It looked like a lot of fun though! Riders hopped on a bike decked out in foam and tried to make it across the pond on planks floating on inflatable donuts. Mmm donuts.

Batty Cross is definitely not one to be missed. Looking forward to next year already!

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Results from the event are here on Enfield Timing. (Results online aren't finalized yet... still show me fourth even though my lap times were faster.)

If you're looking for more photos of the event, check out the following:

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