It’s all over and the race turned out well. The weekend didn’t turn out perfect from the team perspective (Taylor 2nd in Young Riders, 2nd in Team GC) but we all enjoyed the racing. Actually losing the leader’s jersey last night made today’s less stressful as we could play more cards rather than ride the front all day. We sent Quinn and Galen up the road in the early move, forming from the drop of the flag (the race is started under a neutral roll out until it is safe to begin racing at which point the race commissar drops the flag from the lead car). With ten riders 4 minutes up the road, the rest of us could rest in the peloton (kind of) and focus on conserving as much energy as possible for the final laps.
Starting with 4.5 laps around North Delta, the race travels to Tsawassen via an exposed 30km route before ten 8km finishing circuits featuring a 1 minute effort at 12-14%. Usually the race blows apart in the 30km transfer but the winds were quite low today so a large group made it through. At 3 laps (24km) to go, Galen watched his chain fall apart on the climb so he pulled in at the feed zone for assistance (he actually fixed it and finished a lap down! What a stud!). At this point Quinn attacked, followed by strong man Zach Bell (Kelly Benefit Strategies) as the peloton now followed only 60 seconds behind. The breakaway was fully absorbed with 2 laps to go (averaged 12 minutes a lap) except for Bell who stayed off the front after attacking Quinn and establishing a maximum advantage of 2 minutes. This pushed Tuft to move to the front for “crushing” duty just as his sole teammate Christian Meier tired after a whole day on the front (Meier’s ride was amazing – there is a reason why that guy is ProTour).
Up the final climb the pace kicked again with a dangerous 15 rider move forming over the crest. With only Northey up in the move, I bridged hard, making it up to all the top riders before the right hand turn off 1 avenue. The field ended up coming back and rolling down the backside of the circuit for the final time the leadout trains formed. Bell was visible with 2km to go. Time bonuses were available as well but I did not know this and we were planning on setting up Mike for the final push. At 1km to go the yellow train was all lined up on the front of the pack but a surge from the left separated Mike and I. Now with only Roman and I riding in the front 3-4 riders, the final corners was fast approaching. Jamie Sparling (Total Restoration) attacked from the far left into the final corner (500metres from the finish) and I covered his acceleration hoping Mike could also find me. Out of the corner, the straight drag up 56 avenue seemed extra far this last lap and at 300metres to go Kelly Benefit launched. Two crashes occurred in the field at this time but all the Rubicon-Orbea riders survived unscathed. Kelly Benefits grabbed the top two places out of the field with Bell hanging on to the win by just 5 seconds. Mike finished 5th and I followed in 9th. The time bonuses awarded to the road race podium finishers pushed me off the overall podium but fifth place is still an amazing ride for me. Cloud Nine! Tomorrow I take the guys up to Whistler for some bear dodging and Olympic venue viewing. They are very excited to say the least.
Thanks again to all my friends and family who were able to make it out to the race this weekend and thanks again to all of you who follow me online. Our homestays in Tsawassen were also super rad! Go Karting tomorrow!
Learning to Saber!
Labels: Road Report