Better late never but here’s a little report from the Good Friday Road Race hosted by Hamilton Cycling Club.
This my second year attending this race as I’m lucky to squeeze in a race over an easter weekend of visiting family. Dave “Rudman” Rudnicki followed my lead this year and made the same family arrangements. Also, the following were also in attendance flying the Wheelers colours. Rico, the guy that will do anything to help a fellow wheeler get to a start line, Marcel, creator of the Marcello Power Bar, Graeme, don’t ask him to walk your dog, also made the trek to Steel Town ontario.
The day started off pretty brisk in the morning but not a cloud in the ski and our black kits we were able to warm us up nicely. We were all able to find each in the parking lot with enough time to get a good warm up together before our start. I gave the boys some advice based on my experience from last year and off to start line we headed. I was pretty keen to get as close to the front of the group as soon as possible. My experience from last year with a field of 80 plus riders, yellow line rule, four corner course with lots of cross winds was it is hard to move up the group with the amount of congestion in it. As well, last year they DQ’d half the S 1-2 field for the infamous yellow line rule. No sense in wasting energy all race to get to the front with nothing left in the tank at the end.
Minutes before our start time we were informed that our start was delayed for 20 minutes, which later turned into over an hour. On top of the delay there was a course change which affected the distance. Fortunately the delay gave me lots of time to chat with Marcel and get to know him a little better. Eventually, we started and I got my spot between 10 and 20 riders back. Right of the start fellow Ottawa hard man John Gee was attacking hoping we would let him go but us old fox master races had none of that. The unfortunate part was I wouldn’t see any fellow Wheeler until the 40 Kms mark and it was that Marcel guy again, and I thought enough of his chit chat for one day and made my way closer to front. The race was pretty uneventful, some soft attacks, but nothing materializes. But at the start of the last lap the joking started and racing begun with 20 kms left. With three leg stinging risers in the final 8 Kms everyone wanted to be near the front. On the seconded and longest raise I was able to make my way up the pack and found myself sitting 6th wheel with another Ottawa rider , Todd from Tall Tree, was also on the front. And yes, he was on a steel frame bike. Also, at that moment two riders attacked and got a gap that never grew to more than 10 seconds. My thoughts at the time was it was going to be a failed attempt and again, taking a page from Brent “Crazy legs sprint king” Atkins was to be patient. One guy blew, but the other hung out there holding the 10 second gap. Todd, Tall Tree steel riding dude, took a flyer but didn’t want to drag to pack up and shortly gave up his efforts.
Last k, setting up for the sprint and I was still sitting about 5th or 6th wheel but with 600 meters left the swarm came leading into the final corner that was 300 m from the finish. And i was stuck on the inside unable to catch a free lift on the swarm and unable to really contest the finish. That’s Racing and lessons learned. What about the 10 second gap guy? He held on and it was a text book effort. Attacked near the end of a hill leading into a cross wind section. Tailwind stretch for the final few kms and won by about 5 bike lengths. Congrats to him for that effort and tactics. Well deserved.
Finish line. Shortly after crossing the line I saw Rudman and Marcello and got the scope on Rico’s position. Unfortunately he got stuck behind a few riders and he couldn’t close the gap but Rico’s never say die attitude finished the race spending 60 kms alone. No thats a hard man for you.
Placings: Marcello 51st. Rudman 53rd. Rico 79th, and myself 20th. Great day by all Wheelers, well….. , at least in the M2. Sorry Greame.
Good luck to those at Clearance Creek Rockland. Bring spare tubes and a hand pump. And see you at Calabogie. Lets support these local events to make them staples in the cycling scene.
About the race start delay, unfortunately there was a single car accident on the course at one of the intersections causing the death of the lady driving the car. I don’t know her or her family but I can’t help to think about her family and to stop and think about my family and friends.