As you may or may not have heard, BCC was well represented last Sunday in the provincial road races up in Holland's Marsh. In the early races it was Jim W and Peter C holding it down with a solid 19th and 32nd respectively. I'd be really interested to hear about their ride and thoughts on the course. Our own Leslie H took silver in her race for her sponsor Cyclepath Oakville.
In the late morning races it was the two Peter Ss (Sutton and Skalenda) wearing the BCCs on their backs. Unfortunately their races involved a mechanical issues and an early exit thanks to some over zealous officiating, but I'm hoping one or both of them will elaborate.
As for my race, I was in way over my head (and I liked it). I'd start by saying that it was won the guy in front above, Ryan Roth, a pro rider of 10 years, one of the original members of spider-tech. He moved to champion systems this year as spider-tech unfortunately folded. If you look closely, you can see on the sleeves of his jersey, the flags of a past National Champion (2012). So you know it was a long day for me.
It was a nice feeling to finally start recognizing and talking to the guys I had known through the o-cup. I actually warmed up with the guy who beat me at KW. Not having any intentions of doing well sure takes the pressure off.
The pace was blistering, but the pace is almost never the issue at that speed with that many wheels to suck, it is where the pace is injected that makes it hurt. Every lap of the course would lead us to a long steep hill followed directly by a completely exposed crosswind section at the top. Each lap the boys in front used this to "trim the fat" of the peleton.
My race started on a terrible foot though, as I blew out my rear tire on the first lap over the atrocious roads on parts of the course. Timing couldn't have been better however, with the wheel truck right there behind us and the peleton easing up to speed, I was able to get changed, get moving and rejoin the pack. It sucked, and burned a match, but was a great experince to have had for the future.
By the second time around the hammer was down and it took everything I had to hang through the all out hill/crosswind section for the 6 minutes that it took to start going down wind again. It was at this point that I realised that this was not likely to end well for me. These folks were just too strong. I hung on for deal life through lap 6 when someone attacked in the feed zone and I wasn't prepared, so I had to chase back to the group for the the whole downwind leg (4K or so). I managed to catch the group, but as it would turn out I wouldn't be able to hang for long.
The next time up the hill was even harder than the last and the already dimished field was strung out to the limit. I fell of the back and again tried to chase on the downwind stretch. I picked up 3 others (2 I knew) and we got a little paceline going. We chased within sight of the pack for a lap and almost caught them at the base of the climb (it would have been hell if we did catch them, to go from chasing to working to stay in).
The guys I was with called it quits and I carried on solo for a while and put in a really solid couple laps. My wonderful feed helpers later told me that I was only about 5 minutes behind the group on my second last time around, however on that last lap when I picked up a bottle (the glorious cold of an icey bottle mid-way through a ride like that is indescribable) and promptly dropped it accidentally, it was the last straw. At that point my motivation was gone, I had gotten all I would want in terms of a workout (100kms at 38km/h), I felt bad for my lovely wife and Dad in the feed zone, and knew it wouldn't impact the race, so I did what 2/3rds of the field did and pulled the plug. Only 16 people finished the race in my catagory (30 or so riders). It was brutal.
Learned a bunch. The wheel change process, the feed zone process, the thinning the heard process (very different than S4, these are much longer steadier efforts compared to short punchy attacks. They wear on your soul and the only way to manage them is with a higher ftp, guess I know what I'm working on ;))
P.s. When I changed my pads I noticed that there was a significant groove worn in one of the rear pads indicating that it may have been rubbing after the wheel change.... Oh great, that was just what I needed to keep up.
P.p.s. All photo credits go again to my Dad who took them in the first 5 laps before the feeding began
TL;DR - Got obliterated, learned a lot