Lois dropped me off at Fig’s house at noon and Fig and I rode from his house to Bronte Park where the race was happening. It was an 11km warm-up...perfect...but cold and windy.
When we got there, and got registered, pinning our numbers to our jackets...the ambulance came screaming into the lot to attend to downed riders in a crash in the intermediate race that was proceeding our race. Not a good omen...especially for one who is already nervous about his first road race. Racers were walking from the crash site with their fancy carbon bikes in pieces. And a racer got taken away on a backboard. Oh boy...
Met Martin at the start. He was racing in the Mountain Bike race that was taking place at the conclusion of our race. He was nice enough to make fun of the fact I was wearing neoprene shoe covers and a mountain bike jacket in a road race. Damn it man, it’s cold!! And lay off, I’m already fidgety enough about this whole thing; and I’m not the nervous type! Besides...I’m Canadian...
So, after I round house kicked Martin to the temple (a move I learned from Chuck),
Fig and I got into the paddock as the organisers called the racers to the start. I noticed everyone looked much younger than me...dammit again. (As it turns out the closest was 10 years younger...the rest were 20 to 30 years younger). Ah well...after a short neutral start...bang!...we were off! Blasting down a dirt road (yes, 70% of this road race was on dirt roads...). And it was cold! I was thankful to have my jacket!
Besides, it’s not like my jacket and boot covers were quite this bad...
Anyways...the dirt did not work to my advantage. Being a mountain biker, I was not used to riding in a pack...and the looseness of the dirt made me even more wary...to the point that on the twisty points I would get out of the pack and go wide...only to be faced with a rather solid headwind. When we got to the pavement I decided if I was going to ride out of the pack anyways I might as well be up front...so off I went...riding up front at my own pace. I managed to get out front about 30 yards when, according to Fig, the pack decided they had better catch me and they began circulating to draw me in...and they did. Ah well, it felt very cool to lead for half of the first lap.
And so it went for the remainder of the race...me trying to ride in the pack...getting nervous and pulling wide to ride on my own, into the wind.
Before I knew it, we were on our last lap...and I started to wonder about taking off again and getting ready to kick to the finish...when before I knew it; the group took off!! Caught me by surprise...and while I up and gave ‘er, the group was too fast and there was not enough time and distance to make up the lost ground. As the pack crossed the line as a group, Fig beat me this time...he finished 4th...I finished 10th. Ah well, 10th in my first road race, not so bad, and the experience was invaluable; the strategy involved in the road race thing much different than mountain biking.
Won $20 (Fig won $30)!!
Told Lois, I can now quit my job and go pro! After she spin kicked me to the temple (damn that Chuck Norris!!) I decided that may not be such a good idea. So now I’m just looking forward to trying another road race.
In the meantime the next race coming up is the Paris to Ancaster (commonly referred to as the P2A). This weekend (April 14th).
This is kind of a hybrid race; a mix of mountain bike trails and dirt/gravel road climb...70 kms long finishing in a long steep climb. So I will be using the CX bike. This will be my 4th time doing this race, but it is 10 kms longer than it has been in past years, in celebration of the races 20th anniversary or something like that. Yup...celebrate by adding more pain...great idea. The P2A is also famous for extreme weather...it’s just that time of year. It shouldn’t be this bad...but you never know;
NewfieSteve, and EnglishJim skipped the road race (they were too busy writing this note),
But they will be in the P2A...should be worthy of some good stories...
I will let you know how it goes...stay posted!!