This is a post I started in early July but found myself distracted for the next few months.
Since coming home from the Mount Hood Stage race I avoided writing about the season to date. Results were mixed since the Velocity Stage Race and I was struggling to move along in subsequent races. Neither high nor low my June racing results started off with personal disappointment and quite a bit of fatigue. The last stage of the Banff Bike Fest was a tough slog that started at 7 am with cold temperatures and light, not to mention a driving peleton that had some serious firepower, I found myself looking for an exit. My own team drove the pace and set a high tempo that was too much for me after racing back to back weekends. I rode well the previous day with a double header of a time trial (TT) and criterium. I had a personal best in the TT and showed some panache in the crit by attacking off the front on more than one occasion which is a bad habit I have when my family is out watching. Going off the front was a reaction to show off for my daughter in the crowd and not really a smart thing to do but it was fun nonetheless.
Cycling is humbling. Full stop. Not everyone is going to win, the experience is generally painful… reality of bike racing so take in stride and take a few days off the bike.
After dropping out of the last stage at Banff I started a taper for the following week in an attempt to boost my form and be competitive for the Provincial Criterium and Devon Road Race. I was wiped out and resting was key. I landed up riding well in the crit but had great form the following day in the road race. We forced a split in the group and eventually road off with a group of eight riders for the remaining 80 km. Two hours of tempo riding and dealing with two groups of three team mates had me wondering what would transpire. Speed Theory launched attack after attack while the ERTC guys sat like docile pack rats. With the exception of Ben from ERTC the rotation of our small group was painful. Work or get caught by the chasing grupettos was the situation so it was work. I knew that if I played it right and backed off over the last 10 km I could probably work out a good finish. Surprisingly, the Speed Theory boys decided to start a lead out without about 4 km to go. Not quite sure why they would martyr themselves so far out I sat on the train while looking over my should and waiting for the inevitable attack from ERTC. Waiting…. waiting…. then bang. The other independent rider I was with in this group of eight launched a wicked sprint and had a large gap but it wasn’t the second train from ERTC that I expected. The Speed Theory riders were toast from their bizarre lead out and I squeezed around them with Ben from ERTC on my wheel, Ben worked hard throughout the race so I was pleased to see him ride ahead of the rest to finish on the podium.
With 800 m to go this was an excruciatingly long sprint. I could feel the lactate acid bubbling and after a 130 km I just put my head down and was mustering every ounce of remaining energy. With 10 m to go I was trying to propel my bike forward by pumping my arms to no avail. I crossed the line in second place but the effort in the race had me feeling like the victor. Even better was that we out foxed six team riders who had every opportunity to control the race and the outcome. Nevertheless, it was a great day and vindication from the Tunnel Mountain Road Race.