Look for Vicki Thomas tearing it up at CrossVegas © Balint Hamvas,

Canadian Elite crosser and Cyclocross Magazine contributor Vicki Thomas checks back in with us after getting her ’cross wheels a little dirty.

Brrr. I don’t know where you are, but here in Ottawa it’s downright chilly. In fact, today it’s 13 degrees Celsius. That’s a bit cold for the second week of September. I must admit I don’t miss the heat of the summer, but I could do with a few days in the high teens and low twenties – I really don’t feel like pulling on my leg warmers and long-fingered gloves just yet!

Ah well, it is cyclocross season after all, so really there’s no point in complaining about the weather. It is what it is, and it’s the same for everyone. All this brings me to the start of the racing season. Amazing how quickly the summer has whipped by, and my bike of choice in the garage has now switched from my road bike to my Stevens Carbon Team DA. Perfect for a frosty fall day, really – the trails and trees protect me from the wind and focusing on the single-track, sand and double-track does a lot to keep me warm.

So my race season started last weekend – and it did not go as planned. Yes, I’m writing about some negative racing experiences. It would be too easy to pretend that these races didn’t happen and just gloss over them. But if there is one thing you can count on from me in this space, it’s honesty. And honestly, last weekend, I stunk. Not good. I went into Saturday being over-confident and when things didn’t happen as I had anticipated, I basically stopped racing my bike. I simply road around beating myself up mentally. Sunday was a bit better, but again I didn’t drive my bike like I know I can. I rode to the level of my closest competitor and really wasn’t aggressive. So there you have it  –  a rough start to the season. But in hindsight, I’m glad this weekend happened when it did. It was the wake-up call I needed to remind me that just because I’m well prepared, that doesn’t mean the results are going to come easily.

I’ve hit the reset button and I’m looking forward to the next block of races. This weekend I’ll be down at Williston, Vermont racing in the opening races of the Verge New England Cyclocross Season. I really enjoy racing at the Catamount Outdoor Center – the venue promises fast and challenging racing. Not to mention, it’s a great opportunity to re-connect with all my New England ’cross friends. From this race weekend, I’m hopping a plane and, with a detour in San Diego to attend a trade show with KingsBridge (one of my sponsors), we’re on to Las Vegas for CrossVegas and Interbike.

I won’t lie – I’m a bit nervous about this. I’ve never raced at CrossVegas before, and the pre-race hype is doing a good job on me! But I’m telling myself it’s just like any other ’cross race. After all, I’ve raced in World Cups and the World Cyclocross Championships, so surely CrossVegas won’t be such a big deal…. Right? I know one thing – the heat will be a definite shock to the system. I’m looking forward to experiencing the hype, the crowd, the atmosphere and of course getting out and racing in front of super passionate ’cross fans. On Thursday I’ll be at Interbike taking in the booths, probably walking around in a daze looking at the number of products, companies, and people. This will also be my first time visiting Las Vegas, so really this will be a trip like none other! Can’t wait.

Well, this is where I’m at. Racing this weekend. Getting focused on racing like I know I can. Looking forward to the season and soaking it all in. Check back next week when I tell you all about my CrossVegas, Interbike, and Las Vegas experience!

(To keep tabs on me in-between these rider diaries, visit my site: and follow me on Twitter (@vickitopcrosser).)