Toronto Criterium - The most exciting racing in Downtown Toronto

I love this race, it suits me, no hills and lots of cardio. Unfortunately they moved the race to Sunday this year from Friday the previous two years which meant fewer people out to watch. It also meant a smaller field given the divided the races up more extensively than in prior years when there was only two fields.

The M3/S4 group was probably about 50-60 riders. Different from other years, they rolled the group out from Scott street and created a rolling start after the neutralized first lap. This race is great because it feels like an all out TT until the group pulls up as it goes into the tight corners. This year as in previous years the 4th corner was a trouble spot. This is where we come north on market street and turn left to head west on front street (yes going the wrong way!!). This turn is less than 90 degrees and as such, when you go wide you run out of room quickly. Unfortunately at about lap 10 or so, Jason touched a wheel and went down just in front of me. The good news was that he came out of the crash relatively unscathed (a little road rash on the arm and leg). I managed to stay inside and powered on. The race is interesting as I have tried to compete in prior years right at the front. But you tire quickly given the wind and the all out effort. Today I kept in the middle of the pack for most of the race about 20-25th in the group. This always risks being taken out by a crash but I managed to avoid the two that happened on turn 4 in the first half of the race. Just past half way i was feeling wiped out, the sprint in the back stretch was killing me as the group accelerated hard away from scott street before having to slow down going into the turn at market. I should have just relaxed but I was quite concerned about losing the group. Thanks to my wife Dianne, DY, Lana, Alexx, Jamie, Jason, Peter and others for keeping the cheering going, it always helps to power the legs.

With about 8 or so laps left i started to get a second wind and the legs were responding, I used laps 7-3 to move forward in the group, coming up on the inside of front street, I almost got wiped out as the leaders made one of those big waves from the right to left, which cuts off any aggressive riders trying to move up. With the second lap left i moved again to about 12th or so and felt comfortable but still needed to get into the top 5 or so in order to avoid the sprint issues that take out riders. For the last lap, I took to the top 5 as we came back down front and i felt comfortable. I got passed by 4 riders at the backstretch as we made the second last turn up market. The 4th and final turn is always sketchy as the focus on the sprint begins. Luckily for me, I avoided the crash that took out about 3 or 4 riders and was able to jump up the inside and start the sprint to the finish. Unfortunately my garmin readings on heart rate failed at this point as I thought my heart was coming out of my chest. I didnt have a lot left and couldn't reel in any of the 4 in front of me and got passed by one rider. I finished 6th overall and 3rd in the M3 grouping.

From the initial results it looks like the group averaged 43.5km/h for 40 minutes vs 43.3 last year for 60 minutes.

Peter S finished 33 in the M2 category, and I am not sure why Demetre was NP for the M1 race. It is astounding to me that the S1 category were able to achieve a 47.6km/h average speed on that course. That is just flying!

As usual, here are the garmin stats.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/35087719

Views: 393

Comment by Alexx Hooper on May 30, 2010 at 3:49pm
QB, great race report. What an exciting race! It was like you said - you stayed smartly tucked into the pack, behind half way back, but with breathing room on the inside - not boxed in. Coming up on the last 7 laps, you started inching forward, and then every time you came around, you'd have sneaked up several places! By the second last lap around, you were firlmy in the front section - we were all amazed and yelling with excitement! On the last dreaded sprint, there was a crash, and we all sucked in our breath, then, as Lana described it, you came out of the crash rubble, unscathed, the way a surfer emerges from the wake of a giant wave, and you cranked on the power and came barreling across the finish line! It was great! Good job! You looked so excited, and I'm glad Dianne got to see such a triumphant, SAFE race finish!

Jason, you looked great before the wheel incident - keep it up - next time's a charm. Peter Skalenda was fabulous too - he took several laps to warm up his legs and gage what the pack was doing, then he also started sneaking forward - strong, steady and consistent, every lap gaining ground. Also very exciting to watch! Great finish, Peter! And Demetre's race was very impressive too - basically, it was a full-on sprint for 1 1/2 hours, and Demetre kept well withing the pack, even making a few aggressive attacks, until he said his legs just died only a few laps from the finish. Great DK, you kicked ass.

Fabulous day, everyone! Loved watching the excitement and we're proud of you!
Comment by Kerri on May 30, 2010 at 4:18pm
Awesome job QB! Sorry to have missed your race. Was great to get down to watch the final one, very exciting and scary. That fourth corner is rather sketchy looking, and that's just a bystander's viewpoint. Couldn't imagine riding it. The speeds that they guys were holding was amazing to see - was an exciting way to spend part of a sunny Sunday afternoon. Well done to all BCC riders!!!
Comment by DRU on May 30, 2010 at 5:03pm
Wow QB! You're incredible! An absolutely fantastic job! Cheers!
Comment by Paul van Dongen on May 30, 2010 at 5:20pm
Sorry I missed the earlier races entirely. Was a long ride today. Glad to hear everyone did so well and finished relatively safely. Criteriums seem a pretty tough way to race, so Jason, next time's a charm. Nice podium QB! Heard our buddy Edgars got a similar result too! Was exciting to see a bit of the S1 guys (Spidertech etc) pin it along Front. I mean, those dudes are pros. Demetre, you looked good and fresh in the middle of the pack along the way so sorry to hear the legs just gave out in those final few laps.
Comment by Peter Sutton on May 30, 2010 at 9:02pm
Congratulations, QB! I am sorry to have missed the fun this year, but I am very happy to hear that you, Peter S. and Demetre came through unscathed, and that Jason C. is not that much worse for wear - it's incredible how much stronger a rider he is this year as compared to last, and it's unfortunate that he's had a lot of bad luck in racing this year.

Get ready, K-W 'cause here comes BCC!
Comment by Steve Wolowich on May 31, 2010 at 3:05pm
Great job to all that raced. As you may have seen I was also in a race this weekend and placed second overall. The caliber of the field was perhaps a little less than that at the crit. Think the guy with runners on and who also had his boxer shorts creeping out from under his cycling shorts summed it up best. I managed to hold him off. It was a good weekend for all of the BCC.
Comment by Jodie Ferneyhough on May 31, 2010 at 10:31pm
awesome work (and nerves) all of you! QB a great report and a great finish! and thanks to the BCC cheerleading team for supporting our team, its a great feeling to know someone is in your corner when you are racing!

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