Valentine's Day Massacre '96

from Hideouswhitenoise, Spring1996

The Valentine Day Massacre began and ended like no other race in itsillustrious history. Unlike past years the detail of the event was givenout in advance and it was a puzzled surprise to most. The race was notto be held on Toronto’s city streets, but was to be held on the frozenwaste of Lake Ontario.

The first thing I thought of was the scene from the movie the Dead Zone,when the psychic foresees young children, who had been playing ice hockey,break through the ice to their deaths.

Crossing on the ferry on the night of the race, the crunch of ice ringingagainst the hull, I half expected to see bikes racing across the malformedice, bunny hopping from ice flow to ice flow. The race course turned outto be a figure eight ice rink, properly maintained with just a sprinklingof granulated snow on the inner canal of the main island.

Racers clocked around the rink, the spikes in their tires holding thecorners as they sped around the course. The poster had announced only studdedtires would be allowed to race the track, but there were a few hard coreriders that attempted the track with only rubber for traction. These cyclistsshowed their best, with the most ambitious riders being Roddy Roadsterdoing 360’s going into the corners.

The track was completely unlit and when the spiked tired bikes started,all that could be seen was helmet lamps going around the track. The mostinspiring competitor was Chris Yates who blew everyone away with his trackbike, easily taking the turns, making it appear he was riding on pavementinstead of ice. Kevin X took the second heat taking the course with whatappeared to be practiced ease.

The final heat was dominated by Kevin X until he flatted and the entirepack passed him. The winner of the competition was Dave De Yonge of SpinningWheels.

The turn out wasn't great in comparison to other Valentine day races,in all perhaps 30 cyclists participated. The worst part of the race wasthe huge problem of the riders flatting out. But now these racers havethe knowledge to construct better tires for next year. The car driversand pedestrians of Toronto are safe for Valentines day races have beentransported, for the foreseeable future, to the canals of the Toronto islands,but then there is always Halloween.

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