Well this weekend I trekked out to Bronte park to participate in a new race on the schedule. The tour of bronte is a test of riding skill due to its transitions from road to hard packed dirt and gravel. It is 8 laps around an 8km course. Unlike last week's ocup, this was a small field for the M3/S3 group as only 43 riders came to the line. We had 4 riders from BCC, Trevor, Brian and James. Interestingly, this is a different allocation of riders than most OCA races as M3 are usually paired with S4 riders. Consequently, I expected a quick pace. I didnt know what tires I should ride having never competed in this type of race. I tried to run continental contact on the front and back but alas the front tire rubbed just a snick, which meant I had to go with the prorace 3s on the front. This would end up being a problem.
As usual I got to the site with no time to go for a spin around the course so I would have to rely on the peloton to show me the right direction. Despite the effort by the organizers to clean things up, there were more than a few potholes throughout the course that just added to the challenges although it did not take away from the race itself. The group was neutralized for the first 200-300m and then we got it going. As usual, there was a lot of accordian action as riders stepped it up and then backed it down. In my view, the key with this small of a group is to keep things calm and let the group do the work, stay within the top 15 so that I am positioned for the last couple of laps. I have included the link to my garmin, which shows you the course and of course my activity.
The first turn is a hard right, that takes you off of the pavement and begins the hardpacked effort. This was fine although this led you through a bit of chicayne which was looser and you could easily lose it if you didnt feather the brakes. The entire first two laps were uneventful. I felt quite good and was pacing nicely relative to the group. I hadnt spent any time on the front, but i was certainly in a good position to work toward the front when the time came. However, as I came into the hairpin turn at the end of the second lap, the front end of the bike felt wonky, I thought there may have been a problem with the fork given the punishment out on the course. Fortunately, it wasnt that big of an issue, just a flat! Of course the support car was right there but I hadnt brought along an extra wheel (i never do but probably should have for this track) and there were no neutral wheels in the van, so I began to strip the tire and change the tube (you can see that at the 15.47km mark). It took me about 4 mins to change the tube and get back at it. Of course my race for a top 10 finish (prize money!!) was now over, I just wanted to start reeling guys in who had come off the back of the peleton. I managed to get things going and passed a few riders, then I picked up trevor and we started to ride together sharing the pulls in an attempt to get back into things. This was working well until I lost my concentration. At 23.84 kms, we come back to the first right turn. Unfortunately as we were coming up on this turn, I had turned my attention on a rider who was ahead of us and went straight at that point. As trevor was leading, he was paying attention and made the right turn. Me, I clipped his rear wheel and went down on my left butt cheek (thank goodness i have put on some padding there!). No damage to my bike or his, a bruised ego, a big road rash on the butt and some other scraps and bruises but able to keep going. So after a few expletives, I got back on the bike and we started spinning and getting things going again. Bad omen strikes again at 26.66km as trevor has one of those massive flats where it sounds like a shotgun has gone off. Without another tube, he was done for the day. I continued on for another 2 laps, pulling a rider from Oakville for almost all of my last lap, before I called it a day just as I was about to be lapped by the field.
Off I went to get my road rash treated and make my way home.
A very good race and one that I will probably add to the calendar for next year. I am not sure how much more challenging it might have been with the 100 rider limit given the narrowness of some of the trails but I think it is a very interesting track. Well done for the first year out.
Things learned again:
- need to ensure that the tires are appropriate and fit the bike - this course will create flats for sure
- always keep your focus, cycling can be fun but it is dangerous particularly if you dont pay attention, you can be down in a split second. Thank goodness I didnt take trevor with me and nobody else was around us.
- Competing keeps you sharp, it forces you to get out of the comfort zone, there is no chance to regroup at the next light or at timmies, you must bust your butt to get back on and this will increase your fitness - i still need to work on my fitness