The Good Friday Road Race is the traditional kick-off to the road race season in Ontario.  This year, the race was also part of the Ontario Cup (O-Cup) series, so relatively large fields were expected.

 

The weather at GFRR is always the big variable - I've done this race a number of times and I've had snow, sleet, rain, sun, high winds, below zero temperatures, and highs in the 20s.  The forecast this year was for plenty of sun, but with a chilly start to the day.  The temperature was a chilly -2 degrees when Peter Cahill and myself rolled in for the early race, but fortunately the sun would soon bring the temperature north of freezing.  There was a wind out of the northwest, but nothing as bad as we've seen in past years.

 

Representing BCC at this years GFRR were myself, Peter Cahill, and Quentin Broad in the M3 race, and Jamie Gilgen in the Senior/Elite Women's 1/2 race and we managed some pretty impressive results:  QB crossed the line in 6th (same time as winner; Peter C. and I also finished in the bunch sprint, s.t. as winner).  Jamie managed to get into an early breakway (after only some 10km into the race) that managed to stay away the rest of the race.  Jamie crossed the line in 4th, narrowly missing a podium spot by half a wheel !  WOW !

 

Julie Toole is planning to ride under BCC colours, but was granted a license as an independent.  She rocked the Senior/Elite Women 3 race, crossing in fourth.  I'm sure she'll get her club affiliation changed for the next race, and add to the BCC 2012 race palmares.

 

A number of other BCC members were also riding, though flying other club colours for unknown/obscure reasons (boo, hiss):

  • Joe Correia was riding in M2
  • Jim Weir rode M3 and also finished in the main group (s.t. as winner)
  • Leslie Horn took first in the Womens Master A race

Apologies to anyone I missed in the above list.

 

Race results may be found here.

 

Racers: please post your war stories below - many members of the club while not personally interested in rolling up to the start line, find racing facinating and look forward to the race reports.

 

Views: 319

Comment by Peter Sutton on April 6, 2012 at 5:16pm

I finished in 50th spot, which seems to be pretty far down.  Well, it may not exactly be 6th place, but both Peter Cahill and I were really riding with the idea of supporting QB, so our goals were to be with the lead group at the finish.  We both finished s.t., so from that perspective, the race went very well. 

 

Turns out that with all his training for ATOC, QB did not need any assistance.  Realistically, we probably did not provide much.  Nonetheless, we were right there for him if he had needed it!

 

Although overall my race went very well, I did make a fairly large mistake that nearly cost me big time.  On the last lap I let my mind wander slightly.  I made a lazy shoulder check while pulling out to push hard up the inside line and move forward in the pack pack.  However, someone was braking up ahead, and I wasn't paying attention.  Before I knew it, there was the sickening sensation of my front wheel touching the rear wheel of the rider ahead, and the sudden shimmy as my front wheel was deflected by the contact.

 

Touching wheels is never a good thing.  In the midst of a pack in a race at more than 35 kph, it`s a really, really, bad thing.  Fortunately, years of racing MTB has taught me not to overreact or panic when things go a little sketchy.  I resisted the urge to touch my brakes, or attempt to make a sharp correction to the wheel deflection.  Instead, a unclipped my foot so I could get clear of the bike if I went down and just tried to stay loose so that I might emerge from the imminent crash with as few injuries as possible.

 

Somehow I was able to ride out the wheel shimmy, no doubt aided in large part by the fact that the rider in front of me did not react to the contact - if he had, it would likely have resulted in an immediate crash by me.  Although my speed had dropped in half as a result of the wheel shimmy (and because I stopped pedalling as soon as I unclipped), I wound up only 20 m or so off the back of the peleton and was able to chase back on fairly easily, even if I was shaking slightly.

 

I am glad to have got the first race of the year out of the way, and to have gotten off so lightly from what was really an absolutely stupid and unnecessary mistake.  I am sure that is one error that I will not be repeating!

Comment by qb on April 6, 2012 at 7:18pm

Peter, as you suggest this race has seen all kinds of conditions and all kinds of ugly outcomes, the good news for BCC is that we all kept the rubber side down - a key element of any road race!! The last time I raced here was the 2010 disaster, when a rider was sent to the hospital badly hurt and needed to be induced into a coma. It was with this in  mind that i went to the start line, thinking of going hard but knowing that survival is key. Peter Sutton, Peter Cahill (PeterX2) and I were close to the start line, an ideal place to be with 100 riders and a yellow line rule. The start of the race was uneventful, some jostling but nothing too intense. The pace was quite subdued with nobody wanting to push hard. The climbs today were great for me and really reflected for me the work i have done this winter. While all around me cyclists were jumping out of the saddle, I kept seated and just powered up the hills. The BCC crew were able to keep it tight through the first 2 loops, we were certainly within the top 25 riders. The pace was soooo slow that the commissaires had to allow the S4's to pass us by putting a pace car in front of us and holding us up (they started 5 minutes behind us!!). This brought the group back together and certainly slowed down the pace furhter.  As we went into the third lap I decided to move up to the front and sat on the wheel of the leaders. I took a short turn at the front as we made the first of our final four turns of the course. A number of guys tried to break away but we were into a headwind, which broke the spirit quite quickly. All went well as I just kept within the top 10 as we moved through the third turn. I had planned that by 6th concession i would need to be in the top 5 or 6, so that I could be more aggressive without being a part of the crazy sprint finishes. Unfortunately the group was getting antsy and we were starting the pre-sprint antics. Two guys off to my right had started to pull hard, unfortunately one stood which created a pull back in his bike which then jostled the guy immediately to my right, in a nanosecond both were crashing hard onto the shoulder. Of course the leaders had begun pulling hard and i needed to find a wheel where none existed. I could hear somebody behind me yelling "go QB, go QB" (later found out Jim was pushing me with encouragement) , which helped put it into the next gear. We made the final corner, which means there is about 500 meters to the finish. I pushed it hard, producing 1200 watts for about 10 seconds trying to catch the leaders. I was able to pull in about 5 riders but couldn't find the podium. Overall I was pleased with the outcome, a decent training ride. Average watts of 252 watts, heart rate was just not stressed at all. Most importantly i was very pleased with the hills. While these dont compare to what i will face in California, it certainly felt good powering up in a sitting position. A huge Congrats to Jamie, Julie and Leslie - the women rocked. I look forward to having more men out to these races so we can set the pace on these races.

Comment by Alexx Hooper on April 7, 2012 at 6:03am

I love hearing the stories - both scary and exciting. Fantastic first race of the season - sounds like you're all off to a great start. Congratulations!

Comment by Peter Sutton on April 7, 2012 at 8:50am

Sorry - I missed Brian Malone, a BCC member riding under other colours.

Brian rode in the new "Sportif" category and finished in the main group.

Comment by julie toole on April 7, 2012 at 10:07am

Great day altogether at the GFRR. I went in with two goals for the race. 1: keep the rubber side down (I narrowly avoided a crash in the third lap); 2) finish in the lead pack. That all went well, however, I hadn't thought about what might happen at the finish. The race started off slow and I stayed near the front and made a couple of friends, the pace stayed well within my comfort level, even on the climbs. I took some turns at the front and felt really good. I got boxed out in the final sprint and finished 6th overall (out of the Cadet, Junior, Master1-2, and Elite3 women) and missed the Elite3 podium by one spot finishing in 4th. I was sprinting dangerously close to the inside barrier (so close that the finish line camera missed my numbers as they were out of the frame when i crossed) and had to hit the brakes before the line to avoid said camera tripod. oops! Prior to the race, it hadn't crossed my mind that I might be in contention for the sprint so I hadn't put any thought as to where I wanted to be in the bunch. Lots of learning to do and some bunch sprinting to practice and strategize around. Nice to know that the winter at Wattsup kept my legs in good shape though. looking forward to next time. Congratulations everyone for a great season opener!

Comment by qb on April 7, 2012 at 4:29pm

Great work joe, it sounds like you put in a really good test of the legs and you kept the rubber side down. 

Comment by qb on April 7, 2012 at 9:29pm

Hamilton spectator has a photo of jamie pre-race with her dog, or at least i think it is jamie

Comment by Paul van Dongen on April 7, 2012 at 11:06pm

All fantastic, you guys.

One important thing I noticed about Jamie's result: yes, she crossed the line in 4th, but the three ladies who crossed in front of her (all s.t.) are Elite 1s, so technically, Jamie WON the Elite 2 race! Wicked!

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