I loved the Devon Puncheur race. I also love that it got a writeup entitled The Best Grassroots Cyclocross Race You’ve Never Heard of1 I hadn’t been to Devon, which is just southwest of Edmonton, before this race, but Voyageur Park was a really nice example of this region’s river valley terrain. The course went through the trees, around a flat corkscrew feature, down by the river and was my introduction to sand on a ‘cross course.

Me riding through sand - picture by Nancy St-Hilaire2

Sand is a pain to ride through! It also was trickier because just before the sand pit there was a sharp hairpin around a bench that I needed to shed a load of speed before. On my practice laps I couldn’t make it through the sand and had to run. In the race itself I think I rode the sand twice, ran it once fairly cleanly and wiped out once (which led to a lot of swearing and a heap of apologies to the commissaires and riders around me for the cussing).

But the sand was something to anticipate, not exactly a dreading kind of thing. For myself I enjoy the punchy little climbs in a course where I can gap a person behind me. Puncheur had a couple of those, including one that was too steep for me to ride.

Me dismounting to chase a Hardcore rider up a hill - picture by Nancy St-Hilaire3

By the end I’d done my best race of the season, and the food was delicious.


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  1. Although it’s weird that it’s on the website of a bike rack manufacturer. This is actually part of why I’m trying to build out my own storytelling about biking on this site. ↩︎

  2. Me riding through sand - picture by Nancy St-Hilaire ↩︎

  3. Me dismounting to chase a rider from the Hardcore Bikes club up a hill - picture by Nancy St-Hilaire ↩︎