iBike Crit Series : Jackalope Fest 2018
text : David Van Eerd - photo: Gophrette Power
Was I really going to fly halfway across the world on my own for one crit? When I got the invitation from The iBike/Jackalope Fest crew I was instantly interested since I'd never been to Canada, but I also had some reservations: going alone didn't seem like that much fun, and with the long flight and jetlag it would be a lot of hassle for one 45 minute race. In the end I realized I had travelled solo before, and that I would make sure to have some days before and after the crit to discover Montreal and make the most of it. The week beforehand I got more and more stoked, seeing my name on the website along with childhood heroes like Tony Hawk and Matt Hoffman (yes, I too used to skateboard and play those videogames when I was young).
When I arrived in Montreal I was well taken care of, being picked up at the airport together with a bunch of nice skateboarders and a basejumper and dropped of at a hotel close to the event location. Afterwards we went straight to a bar where I soon found out that skateboarders treat every evening like it is an afterparty after a bike race. After following the first few moves I decided to call it a night though, and went back to the hotel to sleep off my jetlag. The next day I went to the Ibike shop, where Josh took great care of my bike, which was in need of a few tweaks after being folded into my small cycling backpack. The rest of the day was rainy, but at the end of the day it was dry enough to see the course. 2 technical hairpins and 2 long swerving and sometimes narrow straights would make for both a fast and technical race.
Luckily come raceday the sun was back and there was nothing in the way of a great raceday. The vibes around the whole olympic stadium were great and I managed to win my qualification heat by a photofinish margin. After having some lunch and walking around the festival it was time for the the final, which was full on from the beginning. Soon we managed to break away with Nicholas Cote (the Tall Nicholas ) and a rider from The Pack, building a steady but small lead. With 10 minutes to go the pace went even further up, which turned out to be just a bit too much for the rider from The Pack. Shredding the course at full speed made the hairpins even more treacherous, and unfortunately caused Nicholas to crash out and be passed by the 3rd rider. From then it was a solo TT with 3 guys riding at 10-20 seconds from each other, with no changes in position untill the finish. This resulted in my first ever solo fixed gear win, which was ofcourse a cool feat, though it would also have been cool to go for a sprint-a-deux.
At night we went for a few beers in a park before heading to the so called Trash bar for the afterparty. All of the stories I'd heard turned out to be true, and being able to take our bikes inside the bar and seeing skateboarders rip it up in the inside skatepool were just a few features of a crazy evening.
The days after the top notch guys of the Ibike team took me out training in the countryside and sightseeing at the coolest places of the city, which made my trip even more unforgetable.
I'd like to thank Jackalope Fest and Ibike and everyone else who was there for this great event!