Ascent Cycling’s Final Words From The Road provided by our very own Mike Little
Well, after a bucket full of race days, countless dropped energy gels (actually, probably about eleven), and more sugar water than we’d like to consider, the 2017 road racing season has come to an end. This season was an important one for us at Ascent Cycling, being our first. We began the season as a new team, hoping that things would go well and that we could grow our program into something sustainable, fun, and formidable. This season was a success, pure and simple. We did get some strong results throughout the season, but even when the results were not there our team was always present, aggressive, and animating every race we took part in. We will take everything we encountered this year and use it as fuel for 2018, to come back even better than – more racing, more results, and good times (the most important).
Our final race as a team in 2017 took place on a beautiful Sunday during Labour Day weekend in Windsor – the Tour di Via Italia. A shout out must be given to Nick Dwyer and his team for putting on a fantastic event, we feel very lucky to have taken part and look forward to racing the event again in 2018. Everything about the crit was great, there were plenty of spectators lining the course, and the weather was beautiful. With a relatively large field of strong racers, the race promised to be a fast and challenging affair – which, to be honest, is just so much fun.
Ayrton, Keith, Mark, Simon, and I made the trip out to Windsor for the race, with Eric and Derek (rhyming names, ha) out nursing some lingering injuries, unfortunately. The race started off pretty hot after the neutral lap and a small break of three got up the road and established a forty second gap on the field. I set off on a futile solo bridge attempt, for a time, and eventually picked up breakaway cast-off Niles Vaivars along the way as we were trying to bridge to Dan Doddy and his remaining breakaway companion. No dice. The field brought us back after some time, and the pace was ratcheted up considerably in an attempt to bring back the threatening duo, their gap steadily decreasing as a lot of guys were taking monster pulls in the bunch.
After an hour and ten minutes, the attacks were starting to fly and the racing was really active, and enjoyable. I love aggressive racing, especially if I don’t need to ride my bike up a hill, and on this flat course I was thinking maybe it could be a good day. Ascent had good numbers near the front of the bunch and we all looked to be ready if another move went up the road. Plus, I was eating gels and taking in fluids like a real champ that day, to try and stay well-fueled for when the final selection would inevitable occur.
Going into corner one, I was forced to abruptly change my line– at a considerable speed – because a fellow bicycle racer also wanted that line (he could have asked). Now, he was behind me and on the inside, also going very fast – faster, possibly – and I had to grab a handful of brake to avoid hitting him, or the barriers (we call this getting “chopped”). Unfortunately, my tire decided to go flat and roll off of my rim at that exact moment, resulting in me doing a back/head flop into the ground, immediately followed by getting run over by a number of my fellow racers. I am truly sorry to everybody who found that I am a terrible, and wiggly, speed bump and I hope that nobody was too banged up. Not the way I would have liked my racing season to end.
I was sort of quick trying to get myself up off of the ground, but realized that I was a little too banged up to continue racing that day and clumsily climbed over the barriers and sat on the ground trying to gather myself. Because I smashed my helmet, I won the opportunity to get immobilized and transported via ambulance to the nearest hospital. The ambulance ride was….neat….and it was a few hours of laying on a stretcher in a hospital hallway until a doctor gave me the all clear to head back home to Toronto. I must also note that my excellent hydration strategy came back to annoy me for the two or three hours I wasn’t allowed to get up and walk around. Although, the doctors, nurses, and paramedics were very friendly and only made mention of the fact I am a grown man with shaved legs a few dozen times.
I got away from my spill in pretty good shape, considering how bad it could have been. Also, my Cannondale helmet saved my noodle that day, and I am quite grateful for that.
Back to the race…sorry.
Simon ended up finishing a strong fifth place, and holding his own in the bunch sprint against some of the top fast guys around, a great ride on his part. Keith and Mark were beasts in the field all day, as well, and did a great job for the team all race long. Ayrton unfortunately suffered a mechanical during the race and had to DNF, but was super strong up until somebody decided to collide with him. It was a nice race on a beautiful day, even with the crashes and broken equipment. Thanks again to Nick and the organizers for having us at your top-notch event!
For 2018, we are looking to add to improve upon what we have been doing this year. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our supporters this season: Neworld Cycle, Movement Solutions Physiotherapy, Cannondale, Pearl Izumi, Raceday Fuel, and Quality Sheet Metal. It has been real treat representing these great companies this year, and they were an important part of the team for our first season.
Looking ahead, we will be making some exciting announcements as the offseason progresses, so please make sure to look out for that! Also, please feel free to reach out to Ascent Cycling through our blog if you like to say “hi” or work together in the future. I think I can speak for the whole squad when I say that we are really excited to rest, recharge, and get back to it even better next year! Riding bikes is super fun, so…let’s keep doing that, cool?