There have been so many races that I could talk about this year...some good, some bad, but regardless I’ve had a lot of race days this year, and to finally be recapping a couple seems like it’s been a long time coming! Sorry for the delay to all of those who have been waiting with baited breath for me to write a gripping tale of my amateur racing experiences…The season started out with some ups and downs; a crash on the track and a shoulder injury dampened some good form. A good P2A seemed like a good omen for the season, but that seemed to not ring true. While Ascent Cycling has had some successes, I think we can agree that we’ve all had a lot of races where we came home frustrated. For me it seemed like that was most races.
Then a couple of weeks ago some of the team headed to Preston Street in Ottawa for one of my favourite races in Ontario. It started off hot, Simon making a break from the line. The pace was so hot that I was having a hard time moving up, but I knew if his move came back I had to be ready to counter. Our plan was to be aggressive, and my ever supportive teammates Mike and Simon insisted I race better when I just lay it all out there. I had my doubts of their faith in my aggression. I’ve heard it called “stupidity” a lot more often than “positive aggression.” But not wanting to let my team down I launched my counter as soon as the first move got brought back. From there I’m not sure what happened, I kept trying to pull the race apart, and I know at one point Mike bridged up to me, but honestly I was probably hurting myself too badly to really know what was happening behind. Things got a bit dicey when I was attacking and finding that I was needing to respond to the counter attack myself...but somehow it happened! I MADE THE BREAK. From there it was business as usual, roll the break and hopefully attack it late if possible.I managed to follow the attacks of my breakaway companions, that is until Gee launched off the front...there was no way I could get there having just covered an attack. It was clear that his was the winning move, so I knew I was going to have to sprint it out. Final corner I was 3rd wheel...perfect! I took the inside line, and I’m not sure what happened, but I had to grab the brakes as I found myself almost riding into Derrick St John’s wheel. My sprint suffered from the brake-grab...actually I wouldn’t even call it a sprint. I rolled across the line last out of the break, and 6th overall. Not bad, but definitely not what I had envisioned!
This was also my first race with teammate Keith Brouillette, who had an impressive race, especially considering it was his first Cat 1 race! I’m sure we can wait to see more good results from this promising talent!Preston Street Criterium
It has been my main cycling goal to finish Nationals Road Race. So once again last weekend I drove up to Ottawa after work on Saturday to race Nationals with teammates Derek and Keith. It promised to be a crazy one with the weather promising severe thunderstorms, 145 people registered including Svein Tuft, the whole Silber squad, Ben Perry, Rally, and many more heavy hitters… so I was definitely punching out of my weight class. The race didn’t disappoint. The weather was awful, and after 1 hour of 48 km/hr through rain, wind, thunder, and 19 corners per lap, the race was neutralized. As soon as the lightning stopped we restarted, and the second hour was as fast and hard as the first! For the first 2 and a half hours I had one bottle of Scratch, and half a Clif Bar. The pace and dynamic of the peloton was just so taxing that I had a hard time eating and drinking. The rain started again, bringing lightning, thunder and high winds, as well as low visibility. We were 2:30 into the race, and the rain had killed my computer, and my soul was feeling pretty crushed...or drowned. At some point the break had to go so that the pace would slow down! Then it happened...Tuft went to the front through the circuit part of the race, and gaps started to form as people were crashing or just letting wheels go. I chased back onto the peloton just in time to witness the winning split. At that point, I think I just felt relieved that there would be some reprieve. The rest of us rolled around the course for the next two laps until the finish. At 4 laps to go, there was a moment where I realized with huge excitement that I was going to make it; I was going to finish Nationals!
I rolled across the line 31st. It may not be the most glamorous result to some from the outside looking in, but for me it was a dream come true. I went home shivering from rain and cold, but ecstatic from having met my goal. Finally a race where I could feel happy with my result and my form! It was a big learning experience, knocking elbows with the pros is hard, and mentally taxing!
A big shout out to Keith and Derek who gave it their all, and Derek who drove me all the way home after the race. What an experience!