BCC was well represented yesterday in the Calabogie O-Cup, with four of us in Mens E4 (Chris, Alex, Gordon, myself), Ivana in Womans M3, and JoLo in Mens E3.  I can only comment on our race (and only from my viewpoint) so everyone else please chime in on your experiences.

The Calabogie race track is a great spot to race bikes at high speeds - it's wide open, has a couple small hills to kick over, and most turns are wide enough you can pedal through.  The wide open nature of it and lack of big hills (or big wind) makes it difficult for any breaks to stick unless you have good coordination between a couple teams and some very strong legs.  My guess going in was that it was going to end in a bunch sprint unless we got a bit lucky.

With this being the first O-Cup of the year after Good Friday was cancelled, we didn't really know much about the competition nor did us newbies have a chance to get our feet wet beforehand.  The E4 crowd was a bit twitchy, but relatively well behaved.  There was one crash in the early/mid laps on a straight portion that must have been due to inattention, but all BCC'ers avoided it - though I needed to do some off-roading and a bit of an effort to catch-up to the group.  

The pace overall actually seemed a bit low key versus what I expected.  Our race average said 40k/hr but it really didn't seem that for most of the race.  My personal goals going in were to learn as much as possible - I didn't think I'd be comfortable committing to a bunch sprint at the end, so I planned to better learn pack skills, try a few attacks, counter a few attacks, and generally try to liven up the bunch.  If nothing stuck then my end goal was to lead out someone else for the finish.

In general I accomplished my goals - I was far too active and burnt a lot of energy doing so - experimenting with moving up through the pack, up the side of the pack, attacking from 1/3rd down, attacking from 5th wheel, following attacks, even leading the pack for a while (never, ever, lead the pack...).  I had a couple people willing to break with me, and I thought that there were two real opportunities that could have panned out with a bit more luck/help.  Once, there were 2-3 Waterloo's up front so I took a run up one side while an independent flew up the other side and we passed them.  My hope was that they would send 1-2 up and then kick back with the other one or two...but they sent no-one.  I also got one of the Tekne guys to break with me another time but I pretty much let him down when he flew by me and I couldn't keep the wheel...oh well!

Chris, Alex, and Gordon had a much better race strategy for actual results and in general kept in the pack to conserve energy.  Chris moved up near the end to near front of the pack, while Alex was about mid pack on the straight leading into the final turn.  I was able to push through to get in front of him and give him a wheel to follow through the final turn and into the last straight.  With my job done, he flew by me and hit a quality top 10 result - that's what fresh legs will do.  Chris got to the podium all on his own skills - I didn't see his finish so he'll have to fill you in on that last straight.  

After Alex passed me by I was just trying to hold on some form of effort to finish with the back of the bunch, but everyone was passing me pretty easily as I was gassed.  Unfortunately someone clipped my handlebars pretty hard (despite having wide open space on all sides as i was well back from the front) and I went down.  Gordon had a good view of that and he slowed down as he went by, costing him spots after a good race by him.  

So a DNF for me, but a great race for everyone else.  I'm not letting that result get me down as I had an awesome time racing with the BCC crew and accomplished most of what I set out to do.  Looking forward to getting out with the team again!

Views: 359

Comment by Christopher Wu on April 18, 2016 at 9:43pm

Thanks for posting James.

I'll start off by saying, I think James and Gordon (outside of the last 10 seconds) had rode great and didn't look out of place at all in their first racing experience. Saw both of them try various tactics, getting to the front of the peloton and controlling the pace. But like you said, James, don't do that too often.

Alex also had a good race, hiding for the first half of the race. He was so good at hiding in the back that I never saw him until halfway through and thought he was dropped on the first lap. I should have known better and was happy to see him magically reappear in the second half of the race and push the pace at the front.

As for myself, the race was mostly uneventful, which is usually a good thing. There was the one crash James mentioned at around the halfway point that I luckily avoided. Someone came up to my right and asked if I was Chris. It turned out to be Jon Maloney, a guy I had met a couple years ago when I first started cycling. As he reached out to give me a fistbump, I went to return it and in an almost cartoon-like moment, just as the fistbump connected, he collapsed. No, I didn't punch him. The rider in front of him went down in a crash and he got caught in the pileup. Somehow I managed to just miss the pileup by mere centimetres and kept going. Not that it made a difference, but I have a new rule that there won't be any fistbumps during a race.

As for the finish, it was a bit of a blur. I think I was in about 10-15th position in the final turn into the straightaway sprint and the guys immediately in front of me weren't pushing for a sprint. I made a couple mistakes. 1. I went wide around the turn to get around them, adding a couple extra metres to my sprint and 2. I went really wide around the turn and didn't have anyone to tuck in behind or lead me out. I put my head down and next thing I know I'm at the finish line. Looking at Strava, I never hit top speed for the sprint. A little smarter and I would have put BCC into second place.

The aftermath of the race was the most eventful, unfortunately due to James' accident. It was a scary moment to hear someone on the team was down and an ambulance roll onto the track. I probably put in another 10km into my ride between chasing down the paramedics, following the ambulance, searching and asking around for his bike, going to the ambulance again, searching the track for his car keys (which ended up still being in the liar's pocket), going to the ambulance, looking for his car, looking for his wallet, going to the ambulance, and telling James to shut up as he gave attitude to the paramedics. Don't do this again, James.

Comment by Christopher Wu on April 18, 2016 at 10:01pm

I need to add, it was exciting watching Ivana and Jolo's sprint finishes. Ivana started the sprint a little late but I saw her pass about 20 cyclists in the last 50 metres. Jolo had a tough sprint. It looked like nobody wanted to help him out and was waiting for him to kick before anyone else would go. Sucks when everyone knows how good you are ;)

Also, my tiny winnings are going towards #JamesBCCreplacementkitfund!

Comment by James Eaton on April 19, 2016 at 8:40am

Sorry about the whole key searching thing - but in my defense, I wasn't in the best of minds.  I'm also not a fan of hospitals at the best of times and I think that unfortunately showed through on Sunday.  

I really appreciate the team helping me out so much afterwards, despite my poor manners.  My doctor is having me keep an eye on things and asked me to take it easy for a few days but has otherwise given me a (relatively) clean bill of health.  Everyone in the club - please make sure that you are wearing a helmet that both fits and is built well.  Do not cheap out on this piece of equipment - ever!  Road rash heals, but a good helmet can make the difference between walking away and being carried away.  

Comment by Marc Des Rosiers on April 19, 2016 at 11:13am

James, sorry to hear about your crash. Hope you and bike are OK.

Congratulations on your podium Chris!

Thanks both for your "race reports". Good insights!

From racetiming.ca, I see everyone did really well in their races and it all came down to group sprints.

Comment by Gordon Walker on April 19, 2016 at 12:23pm

Great summaries Chris and James! I don’t know if I can add too much more to what has already been written.

Calabogie Road Race was my first road race and my goal going into it was to experience racing, avoid crashing, and to hopefully have a good time. Mission accomplished (mostly!) I definitely used a lot of the tips offered from more experienced BCC members (thank you Paul, Chris, Alex, Andrea, Jason, Steve, JoLo, Jason, etc.)

I didn't have podium ambitions so I was pretty relaxed for the race. After spending the first couple of laps hidden in the pack and with heightened awareness, I began to settle into the rhythm of the race. I found myself thinking, “this is just like a fast group ride.” Shortly after this thought crossed my mind, I heard the unmistakeable sound of a crash and was quickly reminded that I was still racing, so I returned to my state of heightened awareness. I was on Chris’ left side during the first crash and I was able to swing out and around the tangle of bodies and bikes pretty easily.

The race continued and I spent a couple of laps sitting in a slightly more exposed position in the peloton, resulting in my heartrate shooting up to threshold. I forced my way back into the middle of the group and tempo rode for a couple of laps before moving to the front of the peloton to relieve Alex Mullholland from a long pull at the front. The pace picked up quite a bit for the last lap and I couldn’t subdue my competitiveness towards the end of it. I made a push to move to the front of the pack in anticipation of a sprint finish (I nearly hit 60km/hr going into the last corner.) As I was going around the last corner, there was some contact and jostling between riders and I ended up chickening out, blowing my line, and losing a decent spot for the sprint. I wasn’t really upset about it because I didn’t intend to be competitive in my first race anyway.

As I entered the final straightaway, I accelerated and took to the left side of the track. I glanced over my right shoulder as I passed James Eaton who was all the way over on the right side of the track. Just as I looked over, I saw him get clipped by another cyclist. It happened really quickly, but it looked like the other cyclist’s hip caught James’ handlebars, resulting in a really ugly crash. The pass was so unnecessary and so reckless because the entire center of the track was open. It was also basically a sprint for 15th place, at best. My first instinct was to stop and help James, but I realized that it might be dangerous for me to stop and cut across the track, so I coasted across the finish line and met with the rest of the team. When I looked back, James hadn’t moved from where he had fallen.

Chris and Alex had a great race! It was a proud moment seeing Chris up on the podium. And up until the last part of the last lap, James was awesome! I’m really glad that he’s ok. Despite witnessing a very scary moment, I’ll probably race again. Seeing James up and about after the race makes the decision a bit easier.

Comment by Alex Mulholland on April 19, 2016 at 2:28pm

Great race guys!  And thanks for the leadout James, it was well timed.

My plan for this race was to work on my race craft and see how low I could keep my watts.  My fitness is not very good right now as I'm looking towards races late in the season.  I had an absolutely lazy ride at the back of the pack for the first 6 laps.  I'd decided to move to the front with 5 laps to go and to stay there until the final sprint.  

I actually had ambitions of trying to put myself in front of Chris for the final run but my race craft was just not there.  Chris was in a great position at the pointy end of the race.  I was sitting about 20th coming into the final corner, and had James not given me a wheel and pulled me up a few bike lengths I wouldn't have finished so well.  Managed to smash past alot of bikes in the sprint and felt very fresh at the final turn.  

I was convinced I had 5th place (counted 4 bodies in front of me and one beside me that I beat on the line).  I didn't know we had a solo breakaway about 11 seconds up track though, so that would've been 6th place.  Somehow ended up placed in 8th?  Can't complain either way, for a first race that I didn't target!

Thanks to James and Gord for working so hard for the team and congrats to Chris for smashing the sprint!

Was good to see James on his feet and smiling by the time I was done my post race recovery beer ;)

Comment by James Eaton on April 20, 2016 at 11:50am

If anyone hasn't checked - there are  some great shots up at http://www.ivanrupes.com/-/galleries/cycling/2016/road/calabogie-ro... by a professional photographer

The highlight shot for our team is the final sprint.  Chris up front giving it and Alex in the background with some effort reflected in his face as well.  

The kit looks great in the pics!

Comment by Ivana on April 20, 2016 at 5:22pm

Racing is about growing as a cyclist, someone said to me a few weeks ago as my mind was going around in circles during one of my “race or not race” quandaries.  When I’ve asked people before why they race, the answer has usually been “because it’s fun”, but as someone who had never done any competitive sports before, I was never convinced.  Having been sheltered in the comfort of club riding for three seasons where you (almost) never don’t get dropped and everyone in the pack is watching out for each other’s safety, the prospect of a race did not seem even remotely fun.  Neither was my past experience encouraging, with my only race attempt at this very same event last year featuring a minor crash in the 4th kilometre and essentially a solo ride.

 

So I went into Calabogie with the two modest goals of redeeming myself from last year and learning as much as I could from the race experience.  Big check marks on both fronts!  As a bonus, I now also understand the “fun” part of it.  Not being too focused on how I finished or placed (hey, I was still in the peloton!), I was late to start the final sprint but super happy crossing the finish line middle of the pack, 5th in Masters B. 

 

Happy to see how well the rest of the BCC team did.  Great to hang out with everyone after, and big relief to see James back up and smiling again. 

 

So much fun. 

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