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- Posts: 31
- Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:11 pm
- Your Ride: Specialized
- Favourite Ride Style: Road
For the first time in many years the masters national road racing championships are on the West Coast, so it was a date on my calendar that I had circled early on as a focus point for my race year. This year's edition was held on the Westside classic course in Vancouver and featured a 10km loop with about 80m of climbing. Not the most selective course which is great news for me as my chances of victory are inversely correlated to the amount of elevation gained. I was joined on the start line by veteran racer and cyclocross ninja Brian Green. We met up briefly at the start and hashed out the following plan. Stay at the front and try to do our best to be in or chase any dangerous break, and, try not to burn too much energy in the first 60km. I covered the stuff on there flatter stuff while Brian kept the climb in check. The first four laps were not too bad, punctuated by attack and counter, most of each attempt being fruitless. The Mighty boys pulled off a bit of a break with all three guys off the front, but it was short-lived as the climb really killed the momentum of any break. Big crash on lap 5 eliminated Graham Fox of Pender and Steve McKee from Ontario, a couple of guys I had been watching carefully. No one hurt too seriously but some smashed carbon for sure. Second half of the race came quickly as were plus 40kmh on average, and the activity picked up. BG and I continued to be ever present at the front, ensuring that despite our puny numbers we would not be left out of the action. On lap 8 I finally found a crack. The pack hesitated through the start finish and I tried the ARuss style "just roll off the front at 400w" style of attack. I had previously tried this four or five times but was given absolutely nothing by Pender. This time they were not guarding the front and I was gone. I checked after 30s and saw an LB bridging so I eased until he was on board and powered up again. Turns out Roger was good to go and we swapped turns seamlessly till the climb. He called for a steady up which I obliged, but ended up riding by him as I think he was crumbling. At the top I looked back just in time to see Dave Gerth storming put the hill crossing the 25-30s gap we had. I grabbed his wheel as he went by and we were off. Roger was gone but now I had a newer fresher LB buddy and we powered on. Dave was very strong and we kept the pace right on my limit and held off the pack for another lap of the course. I am told that the amount of Panic in there Pender squad was evident as they kept 5-6 riders on the front during the entirety of this escapade, finally able to close us down in the crosswinds just at the bottom of the climb after a lap and a half of chasing. Nearly got popped after that on the Camosun climb, but I found BG quickly and stayed on his wheel. I was done with any attacking nonsense now and was just hoping to recover for the finish as BG agreed that it would go to a sprint. I pretty much just stayed on BG wheel and recovered, impressed as he always kept us in perfect position and allowed me to recover both physically and mentally. There was a massive solo flyer by an out of towner on lap 10, who benefited from neither Pender or LB wanting to chase. He dangled for quite a while, but once the big teams settled in he was back after a lap of glory. Kudos to him. Last lap came very quickly and I positioned myself up front. The climb was an all out assault by the better climbers as the finish was more for the fast guys. I was drifting off Brian's wheel and just shouted to keep going as the group getting destroyed. That climb was so painful as I touched on 500w a couple times closing the gaps and ended being the last guy who stayed in contact with the lead group. I got back on Brian's wheel and he did his absolute best to get me back in sprint position but I just couldn't go with him when he matched the early accelerations. I did recover quite quickly, but I drifted back to 10th spot into the last corner. Motivated by being right behind John Bula I gave it everything up the 200m finishing straight, passing 5 positions including Mr Bula to finish 5th one the day...Pretty happy with that. Kudos to Brian for an amazing job as he raced super smart, helped me out a ton and still managed a great finish himself. Big thanks to the organizers and racers alike who made this event the highlight of my year.