The dream is finally becoming reality for Race Organizers Chris Huebner and Ian Hall, along with the support of a passionate and hard-working cycling community eager to profile the sport of cyclocross to Manitoba. Many hands have been hard at work for months now but the past 48hours have been dedicated to transitioning the Forks into a cycling race course.
Although the sport of cyclocross originated in the early 1900’s, it didn’t make its way to the local Manitoba scene until early 2001 when a small group of guys (Ian Hall, Paddy Humenny, Dallas Sigurdur, Allan Robertson, and Gary Sewell) got together after Mountain bike season to clear a path through the snow in 3 degree weather to create a different kind of event. For the first few years this group created their own races as cyclocross wasn’t on the official MCA race calendar and there wouldn’t be an official Cyclocross Provincial Championship for a few more years. A small group of local racers started to travel to places like Minneapolis, Indiana, and Saskatoon where the race scene was growing in popularity. A group of core organizers like Hal Loewen, Tomek Jasiakewicz, Olli Hyytianinen, and Chris Huebner started to form bringing unique talents to help nurture and build the community. There were also many others – organizers, racers, officials, and volunteers that contributed to the success. What started in the early days with just 25-30 racers has blossomed into a vibrant race scene with over 200 racers showing up at local events.
This weekend (and again in 2015), Winnipeg has been chosen to host the Shimano Canadian Cyclocross Championships. Participants from across Canada and the USA are arriving not to mention World Class talent and local athletes defending National titles. This weekend is not only about experienced racing, as there are activities for all levels and abilities. It will be a fun atmosphere, the weather gods are on our side, and the sport is infectious, but don’t take our word for it – come out and see for yourself!
This is just a small example of what a group of talented, passionate volunteers can do for a community and for amateur sport. Thank you to Chris Huebner, Ian Hall and the entire entourage of volunteers (over 100) who are putting in tremendous hours to make this a success.
The Manitoba Cycling Association