Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Above is the layout of the Calibogie race track. The local auto enthusiasts ensure me that it is Canada's most dangerous race course. I am not surprised. The track is continuously changing directions in all three dimensions and rather exposed to the prevailing winds. Racing on bicycles I think is considerably safer, although you will still feel your tires slide when you throw some watts into the corners.
To race on an auto track is unique. The tarmac is smother than you can imagine and every section of the course can be used to capitalist on velocity and efficiency. The result is a peloton that is in a constant state of acceleration. When you add in strong cross winds and the occasional snow storm the race resembles some sort of musculo-pulmonary warfare.
The race start was slightly delayed. A Sqwall blew in with a hit and run snow drop. In ten minutes there was early an inch of snow on the track. This was cleared by the track crew while all the under-dressed cyclists dove for shelter in cars and in the stadium house. The tarmac is really fast and so everyone is feeling fast. The aggression starts immediately.
With the full squad in attendance the team wants to be represented in everything that goes off. As we constantly change directions so to does the angle of the wind. The enthusiasm of the bunch keeps the surging peloton intact and at a high pace. Eventually the attacks take their toll, and a group forms off the front. The group is 5 strong and we are not there.
Life and death YO. I rip off the front, diving into no mans land. Crossing this open space is the only way to survive. When I jumped I took along some baggage. A rider from Garneau and on from Gaspesien. Both had a teammate in the group ahead and would be doing me no favors. I put my head down and poured my legs into the pedals.
Made it. Time to asses the situation. 3 riders from Garneau, 2 from gaspesien (one of whome would become victim to our pace), 2 others and myself. Less than a minute to the charging field behind. This could go forward or backwards either way crossing the gap took me down a notch. The break away group floors it. For almost an hour we are less than 1 minute advantage and fighting for every second. Then slowly our gap begins to grow. eventually the chase behind must have slowed we maxed our advantage at about 4 minutes. The pace became a little more civilized. For now.
Our gap moved around between 3 and 4 minutes, trending towards 3 minutes. With 30 km remaining it was apparent that we would not be caught. I knew what was coming. Garneau had the numbers advantage and with 25 km remaining they took the gloves off. I made my day earlier on the bridge. I cold not follow the acceleration. Our lead group split with 2 garneaus and one other in the lead. I and the remnants of the group made valiant chase, but the front of the race had moved on.
I spent all day in the break. 95 kilometers and finished sixth at the line. At least it puts hair on your chest.
Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.