After a week of recovery time from our NRC circuit trip most of us are back on our two wheeled horses building towards Nationals. Until then there are always a few local races to have fun at, including the Niagara Classic O-Cup #3 that me and Evan made the appearance at. The course is 10 laps of 12.7km that includes infamous hill up Effingham, which sooner or later takes the toll even on the best of us. Given that we’re a bit short on riders, we’ve decided it was not up to us to make the race and that we’d just keep an eye on the moves with the dangerous riders.
Race started off aggressive as usual, with attacks flying from the bigger teams. Ed Veal slipped out with Andrew Bradbury (?) on lap two, chasing the KOM points early on, and another small group inluding Jeff Schiller, Bayden Pritchard and Yuri Hricaj(?) got away on lap 3. Being a great teammate and realizing the danger of that move Evan went to the front on the false-flat section approaching the climb controlling the gap and allowing me to launch an attack over the crescent to bridge across to the break away. A few more riders only were able to respond to it, eventually forming a 10 men break after we scooped Bradbury and Veal later in the lap. We all rolled for a few more laps together, I felt good but was up against two teams that had two strong riders in each: Schiller and Hughs of Garneau and Veal and Walsh of Real Deal racing. Everytime up the climb, I’ve set a hard pace to put pressure on bigger sized riders Schiller and Veal, reducing the size of the pack every lap around in the process. However I’ve made a mistake of letting Schiller and Walch get away on the flats with 3 laps to go (but I thought 2, more about that later). After some surges from me, I goofed and let another 2 riders ( Freeland, and Larmer) slip away on attack. I looked around and realized there will be no help from my group in chasing. With a big ‘sigh’ I went to the front and rode tempo keeping the two in sight until the hill. Over the hill I was still not able to quite close the gap, and gave an act of being given up to force a hand from Yuri, the only other rider not being represented up the road. We eventually caught the Freeland and Larmer duo on the approach to the climb with two leaders in the distance about a minute ahead. I thought that was a final lap however, and was settling for a hill sprint for 3rd place. Ed Veal (also thinking it was last lap) launched an attack right before the climb and I eventually went on the climb full out, passing by Ed, sprinting through cramps and nearly collapsing at the line just to see two leaders making the corner just up ahead. 1 lap to go. @#$%!!! Everyone on sideline thought I was bridging and cheered loud …and I almost did being less than 30s to leaders, but the sprinting effort took everything out of me. I did my best to keep jamming through cramps until Ed Veal caught me by corner two. Game over. I knew he would not pull through with a teammate up the road, and I would have to carry him for 3rd place. Yuri was riding strong alone right behind me with 30s gap too, and I didn’t feel like having another rider to deal with so I continued in tempo till the hill where Ed was able to edge me by 9 seconds. In retrospect, maybe I should have slowed and played cat and mouse game with the two, giving me a better chance for the final podium position. Live and learn. Bigger mistake was letting Schiller get away…
One looks at the results and could only scratch the head wondering how it played out! Now you do! I love road racing for that, always a story behind!
Good old Ontario classic. Got outplayed by the teams on last 3 laps, making it one of the harder efforts on the legs this season for me. Painful but fun times for all! Now we focus on the two races next weekend in Kemptville near Ottawa area, where we should be close to a full squad. See you next time!