The thing that I may remember most about today was that when the second and third place riders in the E4 category were called to the podium after the race, there was a faint ripple of polite applause from the assembled crowd, but upon the announcement of our very own John Lobraico to the top step as our worthy winner there was whooping and hollering at the tops of many voices! This is of course because BCC were so well represented by not only the Mens and women's E4 riders that came out today from BCC, but also our brethren from Cycle Solutions, Andrew Mouck from E3, and numerous family and friends. No other team seemed to have this kind of support, and it made me realize once again that BCC is a different cycling club. It is a very special cycling club and i was really proud to be part of the team today in my first ever O-Cup Race.

My version of the race is as follows (and i am sure the rest of the team will plot their races for us) - after an uneventful neutral roll out the hammer went down immediately for 11 non-stop laps of gas around the Calabogie Motor Racing Circuit. The circuit surface itself is epic for bike racing the grip is extraordinary and allowed hard cornering at well over 40kmh, with no concerns about drains/gravel/potholes etc. I actually felt compressions coming around some of the fast corners, which is all very new to me, and quite a rush. Ultimately the pace was so hot (returning a 40.5kmh ave) that no breaks were going to succeed today, as it was just too hard an effort to establish a gap. I watched the first few laps play out and although it was fast I felt safe and comfortable with the pace. It was clear that breaks had to occur in the slight hills near the end of the lap to make it hard on the chasers.

By lap 7, the pace slowed a touch and I had a brief word with Alex and John, and said i fancied trying to light it up a bit, partly for  fun to see if i could get away and partly just for the experience of what happens when you do get away, and also to make the Morning Glory boys chase me, (who were clearly out to boss this race). I gave it everything for about a minute or so and to my surprise I established quite a big gap (but i did have to get it way past 50kmh to make that kind of ground, which isn't really sustainable for long). 20 seconds later i look around and John joined me out front. I obviously wasn't a concern to the peleton, but once John came out it seriously woke them up, and they chased us down fairly quickly. I probably could have tried harder to stay out there but was quite concerned with the general pace that i would get blown off the back when they caught me, so i ended up sitting up early and assumed my position back in the pack. It did liven the race up again to pre-lap 7 pace, and there it stayed to the end.

It took 2 laps to recover and in the last 2 laps i felt great again and found myself near the front and  after promising John that if i was anywhere near the front to the end I would help him. I found the best thing I could really do was to go with all the accelerations on the last lap to prevent breakaways. There were quite a few of these as teams went in ones and twos,  and I found myself marking 2 or 3 attacks with a few others so no one was actually able to get away. I didn't have any serious gas left for the lead out and coming in to the last hill and sprint so i just got my head down in the main pack and gave it my last ounce of energy. It was also important personally to me to finish with the group and not get dropped! As i looked up i saw John raise his arms in victory, which was an awesome feeling to see your team mate win in such a tight and fast race. In all honesty John won this race by himself as he was super strong, has a serious sprint, rode a smart race and was in the right place at the right time, without a proper lead out, which is something i will definitely have to learn going forwards if i am to be a more effective team mate.

I am really proud that I raced today, as 3 years ago when I took up cycling and  joined BCC I rode with Group 4 and watched the Group 1 boys from behind, and wondered how you ever get so damn fast on a bike. I never though i would be fit enough to compete in this calibre of event. I had the opportunity to represent BCC today because of the unbelievable support of Dan and everyone I have ridden with in BCC in the last 3 years, which has made me a much stronger and much better rider and has accelerated my learning way beyond what would have been possible otherwise. Thanks to all of you. I had a great day. Now I just have to win one of these things!!!

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Comment by DY on April 19, 2015 at 8:47pm

Hey Simon,

Thanks you for your account of the race.  This is exactly what the BCC is here for... to support new riders, empower them, build them up and then support them with their goals.  Your ability to be support for your teammates comes from all those hours on the trainer that you didn't account on this post.  You hard work in the off season is definitely paying dividends.  

Great representation on the course today from all BCC/TWESPBCC Team members!  More Pics added...



Comment by Wayne McCutcheon on April 19, 2015 at 10:40pm

Wow!  Love the report on Calabogie and happy to hear about such an amazing performance by you and the group. Congrats to the whole BCC team!

Comment by Alex Mulholland on April 20, 2015 at 9:06am

We really worked well as a team for this one.  My first 5 laps were grueling. I tookup the job of working at the front to mark or join every breakaway attempt that formed with strong riders in it (there are some 'marked men' in E4.) Marking 50k/hr breaks over and over hurts bad!  We lost Jason around the 3rd lap to a crash, but luckily he's ok(ish).

I was given some reprieve when our guys started launching off the front, which let me situp mid pack for a few laps.

I managed to connect with John on the final lap. He wanted me to 'Make it HARD' on the last little kicker before the final bends.  Thats what we do ;).  Draining the tank let me drag him into somewhere around 6th place I'd guess before I was gassed. He took up the pace and I grabbed his wheel, making myself 'big' and blocking up the line he needed for the sprint. He took it and absolutely smashed the sprint.  Big show of power, and actually gapped the field (2 second final gap, including all the time sitting up showing off the team colors as he took the line)

I'm proud to have taken my first top ten, but hardley noticed my position at the line, I was too busy roaring like an animal at John's win.

Final lap at 41.8km/hr.  Avg speed of 40.5km/hr. 

Thanks to all the guys for putting in work!

Comment by Jeff N on April 20, 2015 at 10:01am

AWESOME!  congratulations Simon on your inaugural race and to John for the podium. Nice report on the race.   My heart beats quicker just reading it.     

Comment by Paul McKeever on April 20, 2015 at 11:03am

Awesome report, Simon! Always great to see how well our constant focus on teamwork and camaraderie pays off so well both in the club and especially in the races when it matters so much to have each others' back. We lead by example and it most certainly shows. Well done, everyone!

Comment by David Raponi-Monk on April 20, 2015 at 11:09am

Always great to read a blog [post from you Simon, as I recall your exploits last year at the GFNY.

It looks like all the sessions in the TR "pain cave" paid off. It is hard to think that you are the same rider who did a Group 4 ride on your first Saturday with the club. You progressed very quickly and now we only get to see the back of you.

All the best to continue your racing season, and who knows, I may be at one of your races, as I was inspired to get a Citizen permit this year to try a Sportif race or two.

Comment by Jon Spira on April 20, 2015 at 8:46pm

Wow!  I can almost picture the scene.  Congrats to JoLoLoco on his big win, to Simon and Alex for giving it everything to help get him there, and Jason who, despite getting smashed up pretty hard, dug deep.  It's stories like this, about working hard, supporting your mates and loving every minute of it, that make us what we are.  What a way to represent! Well done.

Comment by Simon Kelley on April 22, 2015 at 10:24am

I loved your attacks Jake! Especially on lap 1!! It gave me confidence to just get out there and mix it up. Let's definitely organize a proper wave of annihilation at the next race, maybe Niagara? Lets get 3 or 4 of us off the front. Foolish but fun.

Comment by Paul van Dongen on April 22, 2015 at 2:07pm

Just fantastic. Congratulations, Simon – and Ivana – for doing your first races, and everyone else for representing yourselves, your teammates, and the club so well. Nice win, Lobraico. Love that you could sit up and at the end, point to the jersey, and take it in in the moment.


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