Well it was once again time to take a beating at the hands of Effingham. Being about 10 pounds heavier than last year and less base fitness, I knew at the start this was going to be painful. Emile, Austin and I got to the race site at about 7:30, lots of time to get ready although not enough time to actually get warmed up. No issues, that is what the first 11km of this race is all about. Kudos to the race organizers who learned something from good friday as the S4s and M3s were started in two waves given there were about 90 M3s registered. The start was good and everything was quite uneventful. It appeared that two guys went off the front early, which everyone discounted and clearly we shouldn't have.
By the third climb up effingham, I was being spat out the back as my lack of hill fitness in particular played a role. Each time, I had to get back onto the peloton but pushing hard, which probably did little to prepare me for the final climb. I could see emile and Patryk looking well positioned at or near the front of the main group (or little did we know what was the chase pack). I kept working with Peter Sutton to claw our way back onto the main group. After the fourth climb, i was dropped even farther and it made the catch exceptionally difficult. I kept trying to pick up riders one by one to create a chase group to bridge to the main peleton. We managed to get 5 guys working together to bring us back but we would never quite catch the peleton. As we turned onto effingham for the last climb, my legs were howling at me to stop this ridiculous endeavour. It was a very slow grind - i could have walked faster - but there was no succumbing to the hill. With cheers from Austin, Alexx,Trish, Brooke, Peter, DY, Lana, Jason and probably a few others, there was more than enough incentive to get to the top.
My garmin suggested an average speed of 35.1km/h, 43rd in the master 3 category. It is clear to me that the old men are getting tougher each year. Last year an average speed of 34.3 won the event and the year before that it was 35.1 with poor weather. The winner this year was 35.6km/h, although the peleton was probably closer to 35.3.
A great race, well organized, and huge call out of thanks to all of our BCC supporters, we probably had as many watching the race as we have racing the race. A BIG THANKS.
For the data junkies, here is my ride.