The thing that I may remember most about today was that when the second and third place riders in the E4 category were called to the podium after the race, there was a faint ripple of polite applause from the assembled crowd, but upon the announcement of our very own John Lobraico to the top step as our worthy winner there was whooping and hollering at the tops of many voices! This is of course because BCC were so well represented by not only the Mens and women's E4 riders that came out today from BCC, but also our brethren from Cycle Solutions, Andrew Mouck from E3, and numerous family and friends. No other team seemed to have this kind of support, and it made me realize once again that BCC is a different cycling club. It is a very special cycling club and i was really proud to be part of the team today in my first ever O-Cup Race.
My version of the race is as follows (and i am sure the rest of the team will plot their races for us) - after an uneventful neutral roll out the hammer went down immediately for 11 non-stop laps of gas around the Calabogie Motor Racing Circuit. The circuit surface itself is epic for bike racing the grip is extraordinary and allowed hard cornering at well over 40kmh, with no concerns about drains/gravel/potholes etc. I actually felt compressions coming around some of the fast corners, which is all very new to me, and quite a rush. Ultimately the pace was so hot (returning a 40.5kmh ave) that no breaks were going to succeed today, as it was just too hard an effort to establish a gap. I watched the first few laps play out and although it was fast I felt safe and comfortable with the pace. It was clear that breaks had to occur in the slight hills near the end of the lap to make it hard on the chasers.
By lap 7, the pace slowed a touch and I had a brief word with Alex and John, and said i fancied trying to light it up a bit, partly for fun to see if i could get away and partly just for the experience of what happens when you do get away, and also to make the Morning Glory boys chase me, (who were clearly out to boss this race). I gave it everything for about a minute or so and to my surprise I established quite a big gap (but i did have to get it way past 50kmh to make that kind of ground, which isn't really sustainable for long). 20 seconds later i look around and John joined me out front. I obviously wasn't a concern to the peleton, but once John came out it seriously woke them up, and they chased us down fairly quickly. I probably could have tried harder to stay out there but was quite concerned with the general pace that i would get blown off the back when they caught me, so i ended up sitting up early and assumed my position back in the pack. It did liven the race up again to pre-lap 7 pace, and there it stayed to the end.
It took 2 laps to recover and in the last 2 laps i felt great again and found myself near the front and after promising John that if i was anywhere near the front to the end I would help him. I found the best thing I could really do was to go with all the accelerations on the last lap to prevent breakaways. There were quite a few of these as teams went in ones and twos, and I found myself marking 2 or 3 attacks with a few others so no one was actually able to get away. I didn't have any serious gas left for the lead out and coming in to the last hill and sprint so i just got my head down in the main pack and gave it my last ounce of energy. It was also important personally to me to finish with the group and not get dropped! As i looked up i saw John raise his arms in victory, which was an awesome feeling to see your team mate win in such a tight and fast race. In all honesty John won this race by himself as he was super strong, has a serious sprint, rode a smart race and was in the right place at the right time, without a proper lead out, which is something i will definitely have to learn going forwards if i am to be a more effective team mate.
I am really proud that I raced today, as 3 years ago when I took up cycling and joined BCC I rode with Group 4 and watched the Group 1 boys from behind, and wondered how you ever get so damn fast on a bike. I never though i would be fit enough to compete in this calibre of event. I had the opportunity to represent BCC today because of the unbelievable support of Dan and everyone I have ridden with in BCC in the last 3 years, which has made me a much stronger and much better rider and has accelerated my learning way beyond what would have been possible otherwise. Thanks to all of you. I had a great day. Now I just have to win one of these things!!!