The Good Friday Road Race is *normally* the kick-off of the Ontario road race season. A little different this year, as the Calabogie race near Ottawa actually started off the season, but that's a closed course - technically, it's not even a road (it's a speedway).
So once again I kicked off my "road" race season at GFRR - complete with oncoming traffic, parked vehicles, street furniture (although mostly temporary fencing in this case), and "yellow line" rules (must stay on the right side of the road - makes moving up in the peloton very, very challenging!)
A total of 12 riders from Beaches Cycling Club and our affiliated trade team (To Wheels / Epic Sports Performance / BCC - or TWESPBCC for short) lined up for GFRR this year:
Sportif Men (32 km):
Senior 4 (64 km)
Master 3 (64 km)
Senior 3 (80 km)
Masters 2 (80 km)
Senior 1 (127 km)
This year's GFRR was a return to the "new" Ancaster Fairgrounds course we first saw last year - each lap of the course featured a short ride through the Ancaster Fairgrounds, about 75% of which was gravel surfaced (whoa - did I mention this is supposed to be a ROAD race!?!) It sounds a bit sketchy - and it is; Peter Cahill (BCC) was taken out of the M2 race by a rider losing it in a turn - but I found this area to be the best for gaining a decent position in the field, and used it to great effect each lap
My own race was a decent result - 44th place, same time as the winner (i.e., I finished in the bunch sprint at the end) that masks a disappointing race. I was the only TWESPBCC rider in the M2 race, and while I did have Peter Cahill (from BCC) in the race as well, with only two of us we could not be an effective "team". Moreover, Peter C. was unfortunately caught up in a crash on the fourth lap, and did not finish the race. Nonetheless, I was in great position on the start of the last lap - sitting in 7th wheel out of the Ancaster Fairgrounds, we turned onto Trinity road (southbound) into a series of short rollers with a slight crosswind. However, the combination of the tight exit corner and minor cross-wind meant that the peloton was strung out at this point - a line of riders, single file, down the road. All it would take to shatter the field was a surge at the front - 2-3 minutes as most - and somewhere down the line of riders someone would be unable to close a gap, resulting in everyone behind getting dropped from the lead group.
I was generally feeling strong, but being alone I was very worried about the lack of any support should a "flyer" prove to be a futile plan - plus, I had unfortunately had a slight mishap trying to retrieve my power bars from my jersey pockets on the third lap (I was wearing gloves - a rarity, as I detest gloves - and dropped all my food). Thus, I was alone, without any additional nutrition, and it all combined to make me pause and look for others to take up the hard work.
Naturally, everyone else at the front of the race was also looking for someone else to do the work and no one did. The opportunity to split the field and get into the lead group passed us by. Disappointed, I drifted back, as I am not a sprint and contesting a sprint finish is more dangerous for me (and for other racers).
Lesson learned - "carpe diem" should have been my race motto for GRFF. Nonetheless, I finished strong and avoided the myriad of crashes throughout the day.
Congratulations to Marco Li for this 4th place finish in the S1 race, hanging onto an early breakaway. Jeff Schiller managed to take the bunch sprint for 7th place in the same race. While Isaac, both Michaels and Craig managed to finish in the main or lead packs in each of their races Paul, Andrew, and Peter Cahill were all forced to withdraw - oh well, no one as seriously hurt, and crashes are a part of bike racing.
Finally, a big congratulations to BCC's Jamie Gilgen who, riding for Real Deal/Gears took first place in the Women's Elite 1/2 race!
Well done, everyone!
Results for the GFRR races can be found here
Pictures and videos via Dan's Instagram account can be viewed here
Want to see what a M2 road race looks like from a heart rate and speed perspective? Click here
Jeff in the Peleton:
Marco in the Lead Group:
Issac on the Peloton with Jeff: