Sunday, April 20, 2008

For whom the bell tolls.

That was not I this morning, after spending the evening getting all my gear organized for my third Paris to Ancaster, I set my cell phone alarm for 6:00 a.m. hoping to leave at 6:45 ish. A nice bright sun pleasantly awakened me right in my eyes. I looked at my watch and sure enough 7:22. Ok so there I was laying in bed and I should have been halfway down the 407. To make this worse I was supposed to meet up with another racer from Barrie (well midhurst) at 8:00 to be able to leave a car at both the start and finish (it’s a point to point).
Thanks to my ocd I had everything packed up and ready to go the night before, so all I had to do was throw my stuff in the car and I was on the road by 7:32. The really crappy part was I had to stop at Tim Hortons for "coffee", it was a challenge to choke it down but I didn’t have time to brew up any myself.
After breaking a couple land speed records I pulled into registration at 9:00 to see Brad hadn’t abandoned me and had all my registration kit all ready for me.
We left my car at the finish and headed the 30km down the 403 to the start in Paris. We arrived with about 25 minutes to spare, which on a normal day would have me freaking but it was such a nice day and I was crazy excited just to get back to racing I really didn’t care. I did a short 250 meter warm-up and then lined up to ensure a good start position, since the first 10-15 minutes are pretty chill I decided to opt for a front line spot as opposed to a regular warm-up.
As an added challenge this year I decided to convert my cross bike into a single speed. I knew my chances of winning the whole shebang were pretty much out the window I was still aiming for a top ten overall. I was also lining up for my first full year in Barrie Cycling Club clothing, after a short term cross contract we decided to extend it through this year.
So the race started out pretty much to plan, except during the first couple of pot holed gravel sections, my chain fell of the pulley wheel of my chain tensioner. I back pedaled quick and it went back on. I didn’t want to stop right then cause I would have been back about 200 people in 30 seconds so I decided to wait until the first steep climb that takes you off the rail trail and onto the first gravel road. I knew I’d be running so I’d just double-check the tensioner there were I would loose a lot less positions.
Everything was going well I was riding comfortably near the front end of the race staying out of trouble on the first rail trail section which is known for its crashes. Sure enough about halfway to the run up my 15-dollar tensioner gave way and I was left on the side of the trail looking for the pieces. After a couple minutes of trying to find the pulley wheel in the leaves I decided to try to take out a link with my tool and see if it would work with out the tensioner.
Luckily the chain was almost a perfect fit, it was a bit tight but I was able to ride it no problem. So I put my head down and began the chase to see how far up in the results I could get. I knew there were 249 riders in front of me from the first wave. The next 55km was pretty much a blur of gravel, wind and chasing down group after group. Nearing the end I started seeing some familiar faces so I knew I had moved up a far bit. I caught a large group before the first of two "chutes" which basically signals the beginning of the end. The most dreaded part of the race for many and myself today is the final climb to the finish, its not very long but its steep, I think I was pushing around 30 rpm. After all was said and done I finished 28th overall and 2nd in the singlespeed class.
A big thanks to Brad Watts for helping me out today, next up Mansfield next Sunday.

2 comments: said...

wow, congrats Andrew, a very respectable result considering the technical difficulties!

Keep it up, the BCC couldn't be happier to have you representing us!!

Darren said...

Hey Watson,

Good to see you again! Good job getting back up to the front after your mechanical--that's awesome!