It was an ideal night for racing at the first Newton Heights a.k.a “Hilly Crit” for 2017. In the A group the club had numbers with Isaac, Eugene, Ian, New Ian, Aruss (myself), Maxim, Duncan, and Andrew in attendance. Thank-you to Stephane, Mick, Trevor, Dave, and many others for making this race safe, fun, and always a challenge.
With 18laps on the board the group started out quick with Isaac taking the reins. On the second lap I suffered a jammed chain while down shifting on the first pitch of the climb. A dismount and some elbow grease got the chain free. A CX re-mount ensued, followed by some chasing and help from Ian to reconnect with the group. A couple of quick back to back laps were then followed by a lull as we settled into the grind up the unforgiving chip seal climb time and time again. With about 8 laps to go Ian Hendry, a new and welcomed addition to the club, made a bold move and rode solo off the front for a good 3 to 4 laps. This played into our hands well as it forced the other contenders to lay down effort between the climbs. With 2 to go New Ian put in another good dig around the climb corner which forced a response from the others. Latching on to the back of the response I waited until it lulled just past the start/finish before putting in my all-or-nothing move. I was joined by Raph and AMac as we descended. Upon flicking them through it was apparent they were not into contributing. I sat up and let the pace fall before then digging again on the little rise before the descent into the 90 right hander. I took the corner to the limit and stomped out of it. Getting a small gap I went all in to the backside descent before tucking. From there I settled into the mindset of keeping the power as high and consistent as I could without blowing. The final times up the climb Trevor’s encouragement was infectious. When a teacher calls you by your full name you know they mean business! The last time up the climb I still had a fair gap but I could see the group was closing hard. Digging one last time I was able to relish a Wheeler win on our turf, great feeling. Eugene had his best performance at Newton, not surprising given the season he has had, sprinting to defy gravity for 3rd and Ian H taking 4th and most combative rider. A spirited ride home along the OBB route capped off another fantastic evening on VCL racing that we are so fortunate to have.
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