Since the Canada Cup final in Whistler, BC I have been working with my Coach Kevin Simms to prepare for the upcoming Tour of Alberta. During this time, I have revived some of my ‘roadie’ stamina (lasting more than 90 minutes). Before heading out to Alberta I decided to hit up Road Provincials on the beautiful Bruce Peninsula.
Located north of Owen Sound, right on the coast, the scenery was spectacular. The 30km loop prove to be difficult with a few spicy climbs and solid head wind / tail wind in sections. The damage was scheduled at 150km for the day (so right down the middle of the Tour of Alberta stage lengths). The race started off as most Ontario Road Races start: attacking, no one letting anything go, sitting up, attacking again. Finally two riders went clear. After 70-ish-km I sent a flyer. The breakaway of two was sitting around 40 seconds up. I crossed that gap solo in the head wind. Making contact with the group of two was a relief, but no sooner did I make contact before one of these riders dropped, leaving Gaelen Merritt and I stuck in the wind alone for the remaining 75km.
Silently I hoped that some of the ‘homies’ (Simon Fothergill, Eric Johnson) would bridge across, because after 40km I was more or less wrecked. Still, we had one 30km lap to go. I apologized profusely to Gaelen as I was no longer in a position to help drive the breakaway. He understood that since I was an U23 and he was Elite rider, both jerseys were up for grabs and we didn’t have to fight each other. He continued to drive and I did what I could to help.
Just as things were wrapping up with 7km to go, a group of three bridged across. Derrick Gee was in that group with two Elite riders. Now we were in an all out fight but at the same time a two-up fight. All I had to do was beat Derrick to win U23 Provincial Champion. If I were to have won the race outright I would still not be considered Elite Provincial Champion. This is different from racing at a national level where U23 and Elites race together, however U23 riders can win the Elite title if they beat everyone else in the field out-right. So with this in mind I became a passenger to Derrick, knowing that I could kick around him in a sprint. Although I was trashed, I knew I had a sprint in me if it meant the win.
Here’s a backstage pass inside my head during the last 1km:
1km to go:
Sitting on Derrick’s wheel, ‘chilling’ (absolutely wasted), Elites are attacking and Derrick keeps dragging them back.
300m to go:
Sitting second wheel behind Derrick, nervous energy in the bunch, self-talk about waiting for the most opportune moment has begun.
200m to go:
Surprisingly no one has jumped, I will wait until the last moment, I do not want to drag this sprint out any longer than it has to be (seeing that I am completely mangled).
180m to go:
Elites jumped to the right of us, Schiller leading it out with Gaelen tagging on. I go left at 150m with a hard bunch of pedal strokes, enough to come around Derrick and put a bike length between us.
Rolling in 4th overall, 1St U23, and absolutely trashed.
Good day on my Tactic SLR. Setup for the day was pretty rad: Shimano Dura-Ace 11-28, Dura-Ace C35s with 24mm Challenge Tires Tubulars, GQ-6 Flooid + GQ-6 Energy (Caffeine) in my bottles, and my OGIO bag keeping it all together!