Sunday, June 21, 2009
Riverport Road Race - June 21 09
Golden in color and cold my Sleemans beer tastes like the milk of paradise after an afternoon of Heculean effort at the Riverport road race. Upon awakening this morning to rain and strong winds,including gusts of 50kph,I was loathe to even contemplate the misery of a 84km jaunt around the mouth of the Lahave river.
Having taken my camera gear as well it was only the change from rain to rainy mist at 11AM and the scornful looks of my teammates that resulted in my participation as cyclist and not photographer. A quick bite and change into kit I was ready(?)for the 12:05 start.
The turnout was low from the weather and the Provincial MTB championship today so our pack of Master B and C riders numbered in the low/mid teens in scope.BPCC/Gleneagle was the dominant squad with seven riders and from the outset we worked well and actually used some team tactics which was really fun.
A two man breakaway went off the front on the first lap which included one of our strong men(DM)so we used a variety of tactics including going to the front to slow the pace, sit in the group and make the other guys chase and chasing down any attacks off the front. Our unofficial race captain(EW)did a great job coordinating our strategy and monitoring the situation and I appreciated his advice.
Considering the weather and the challenge of Grimm`s road(yes-the name is fitting) I knew it was not "if" I got dropped but "when" so my focus was to help the team as much as possible while I was in the main group. After a warmup of five kilometers I moved to the front and spent much of the first lap in the front third of the peleton doing whatever domestique work required.
Crossing the start/finish line I was happy to get the first lap completed and the legs were feeling good despite the hard work but knew the second climb of Grimm`s hill would hurt bad. We swallowed up the other breakaway rider on the second lap so our man DM was on his own heading into the climb and the brutal headwind of the back stretch. How long could he stay away?
My good day ended as we approached the hill. I had gone to the front for two reasons; slow the pace down to gain DM some time and, more importantly, try and get some recovery as I suspected everyone would accept my tempo and ease up before the climb. Unfortunately I ended up third wheel as we approached the climb and quickly saw the pack go roaring past. I grabbed a wheel for the first third of the climb but couldn`t sustain the pace and got dropped.Once a gap opened of two bike lengths the vicious headwind was the coup de grace and I watched the peleton ride away.
A couple solo kilometers later cursing the wind and my inability to climb hills another rider caught me and we rode together for the remainder of the race. Turns out SA was a fellow club member but not in club kit so it was nice to have company. We caught the race organizer AH and the three of us had a sweet paceline for the rest of the second lap. AH decided to DNF to focus on the logistics of the race so SA and I completed the third lap at a plebian pace, chatting two up for most of the last 28km.
Even with the easier paced last lap I ended up with a 32.1kph average over the wet, windswept 82.6km distance. Glutes and hamstrings are sore from the heavy effort of pushing hard in head/crosswinds. Even on the flats the wind made it feel like you were climbing hills. The glorious suffering! It was grand!
It was worth it as KH placed second for BPCC in Master B and JM placed first and SA ended up with a third place for Master C. DM did get caught on the third climb of Grimm`s hill but finished with the pack after a solo lap. Nice! EW also finished strong and had a great race. Glad I bugged him incessantly to participate...hehehe.
Now lets see if I can get up from the chair?
Found out this morning that my rear wheel went out of true at some point during the race. Bad enough I had brake rub but the shop informed me the rim was cracked. Guess I`m lucky it held up to let me finish.
Pics compliments of AA who braved the wet weather to snap some photos. Thanks!