Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Highlands

Today I awoke to a beutiful crisp sunny morning, and got ready for the days event the aformentioned Dundalk interclub. I had my oats and apple sauce and coffee like usual, i had my bag all packed last night all i had to do was load up the van with Nigel and Robb, and get on the road. I was trying to make amens for the blatent ungreeness on friday by carpooling today.

At 20 to 8 Nigel knocked on my door, informing me it was going to have to be a solo effort as he had some family things to do and that Robb, was feeling iffy. So i switched car keys and loaded up the Mazda, with my bike in race trim, meaning i used the carbon rear wheel instead of the 4 pound powertap. I figured it would only serve to physch me out if i was pushing really hard.

The drive went well i even got this shot of the windfarm near Dundalk, it serves to show how fracking windy it can get on the highest ground in Ontario. I don't think its the highest point, but the overall area is the highest in the province, so im told.

I arrived and got registered but not after getting a very hefty guilt trip laid on me for riding in group 4. But i laid down an equal guilt trip about the groups exploding before the first lap is over. In the end they combined group 4 and 5 to make one 11 man group. Which i think worked out well for everyone. I got a little warmup and got caught up with some of the other riders.

I lined up with the 10 other people about 20 or so minutes behind group one. But the biggest threat was the bigger group 3 starting 5 minutes ahead. The start was actually with a tailwind for the first long stretch. A rider that will remain nameless (Tony) kept the pace high and the group was on the verge of explosion, i did my best to keep the group together by not pulling through and keeping the other riders on my wheel and forcing the dirvers to ease up. I really wanted to keep it together for at least a lap. When we hit the second long stretch that was pretty much straight into the wind it was nice to have everyone on board and pulling through. I think we lost one rider but it was mostly still together. The pace settled into a rythem, with people getting onto wheels they liked. Also in the group was one Jake McCague, if you ever wonder why i am the way i am, its due to him and his buddies totally corrupting me at a 24 race back in 97 when i was 14. I was never the same after that.

anywho, we also had crank the shield singlespeed winner Mark Summers, who opted for a couple gears today. The group was able to put 2.5 minutes into group 3 on the first 22 km lap. This is when the pace was really lifted, and my hr data file confirms it. We started to loose a few more riders. By the first corner again it was again close to exploding as we went past the first couple of dropped riders from group 3. Just before turning onto the back stretch Summers flatted basically exactly halfway around the course. The group settled again with 5 of 11 riders, the gap had fallen to 40 seconds heading into the wind. I was starting to get a little ancy to catch them quick, as i was prety redlined and was hitting some pretty good hr's. I could also see the group 1,2,3 all merge, and got a little worried as it was down to Neil, Tony and myself puling the most, a couple other riders were moslty hanging on but pulling through when they could. The gap stayed at about 30 seconds for what felt like forever. In a little dip in the road i put a good hard effort in cause i really just wanted to get in that group. It closed it up a little more and when we hit the last little "climb" before turning north we were on their wheel.

At that point i was feeling pretty toasted and just wanted to sit in. I wasn't sure if Tony or Neil were going to attack the group, but if they did i had no intentions of going after them. I sat in and slid all the way to the back, and chatted with Orrin and Ben Aubin a bit. Mainly about how they were critical of my clothing choice before starting. I asked Ben how he was and he said "cooking"

The whole tailwind section was pretty chill, some of the other riders were dreading the headwind section and sounded like they were already packing it in mentally. As we rounded the corner into the wind an eagle attacked, it was chased down, i took the oppourtunity to counter it but i knew pretty quick it was futile, as no one would go with me. I settled back into the group and waited for Tony and Neil to make there moves. The pace was really low, as everyone was trying to recoup as much energy for the last push to the finish. On one of the "climbs" Neil jumped the group, Tony and I jumped on it pretty quick. Along with two others. The one rider commented, "good break, good break, lets work" which i think he regreated as we kept the pace high and the two couldn't pull through and just sat on. Not wanting to pull them all the way in, Neil and I maxed out the next "climb" and detached the two. So with about 5-6 km to go it was down to Neil, Myself, and Tony. This was the point that i said eh 3rd isn't bad to myself. We worked right to the last corner which sets it up for a tailwind slightly uphill, 200 (ish) meter finish straight.
I shifted into my 52 11(yes for some reason i have a 52 big ring) and waited to see what would happen. We lined up pretty much three wide, with about 100 meters to go, i knew the only chance i had against Tony was to get a gap and try to hold it. I pretended to be pushing buttons on my hr monitor as we rolled along, but i hit the gas full tilt and tried to open up as much of a gap as possible. Neil wasn't able to get up to speed quite fast enough, i was able to hold Tony off right up to the line, but as it crested the little rise he got his front wheel infront of mine take it. I felt really good the last couple km, better than the second lap. The legs are really starting to come around. After i did some calculations i figured out we averaged 38.3 km/hr, so not to shabby.

After a cooldown/chat i headed to the car for some eats, and get changed. It sounded like everyone had a good time, with most of the people that got dropped being able to group up again and ride together. Just as Mark Summers came running in Barefoot, after running 10 or so km, back. Definetly gets the tough guy award, not only does he do Crank the shield on a fully rigid singlespeed he runs 10km barefoot on pavement pushing his bike. I would have sat in a ditch and waited for someone to pick me up.

While driving home i passed a couple guys getting ready to long board down the honey wood hill on county road 21. I pulled off and grabbed my camera to take a couples shots. Which turned out well as i had 30 seconds to setup and they were cooking pretty good.

Up next monday night, night singlespeed ride out in Oro, which i havent ridden yet this year.
better be nice or else Spak is getting an ass whooping.

"good break, good break"

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