Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: June 2011

Sunday, 26 June 2011

2011 Canada Criterium: SUCCESS!

Fresh Beats from My Personal DJ's THE WETBANDITS @ The WETBLOG: Makes you fast!

Wow! What an amazing day! I built my bike this morning and went for a great ride around the boardwalk of Burlington, Ontario, looking out across Lake Superior. It was absolutely fantastic to be back on my own machine (lost it during air transit this week and borrowed a Felt F3 for yesterday's road race - Thanks FELT BICYCLES!) especially since the sensations were promising.

We rolled to the course early to support the CyclingBC Women's race (I was traveling with the CyclingBC group this week, lending a hand with the younger riders and saving a few dollars with rental cars and hotels). As soon as I got there I threw on my Kask Helmet to check out the course. Yikes! It was extremely tight! Single lane along the 400 metre drag to the line (500 metre front straightaway) leading into a banked right hander with an inclined exit leading the corner 2. Corner 3 was sharply downhill and a great place to highlight my cornering skills before a hay-bale covered right-left flick leading into the final two corners. The final complex was also difficult, with a blind right hander leading into a 10 second 13% grade that could really drain the leg power if positioned poorly in the pack. The cresting final corner was also difficult if outside the top 4 riders as the race accelerated back to 50kph.

David Veilleux, Ryan Anderson, Zach Bell , 2010 U23 Champion, Svein Tuft. I am hiding back behind the call ups on the right.

With 150 riders toeing the line at four abreast, I was stoked on my elbowing and crafty pre-race positioning, slotting me into the second row behind the Spidertech callups. The points race format of the race would make for an interesting afternoon. One hour and a bit of 45 laps around the 1.3 km course, with intermediate sprints every 5 laps (5,3,2,1) and double points for the finale (10,6,4,2). Off the gun it was obvious I could gap anyone in the fast right hander. On lap 5 I gapped off the peloton, but Will Routley (Spidertech) caught me on the run into the final complex and took the first sprint. I was able to conserve my energy and steal the 3 points for 2nd. Five laps later I gapped the entire peloton again and took the full five points, claiming leadership of the points race.

At this point, there were only 30 guys left in the race. I dropped back to 15th wheel in exhaustion and quickly realized how dangerous, slow and hard it was back there. I returned to the top 5-6 wheels to watch for dangerous breakaways. The rule with this old-school points format meant that whoever completes the most laps wins; if tied on laps, it goes down to points; if tied on points, it is down to the final sprint. With most of the Spidertech team positioned poorly during race staging, I essentially only raced 4 Spidertechs today as opposed to the 14 that actually started. Villeaux was very aggressive (riding solo for European-based EuropCar, his team is starting the Tour de France and apparently he was one of the alternates/long-list options) and I started having big trouble halfway through the race. This was about the time that my point lead vanished. With 15 laps to go I was dying a thousand deaths. It was extremely difficult. I didn't know if I could keep it going but today was the time to suffer hard. So that is exactly what I did. Luckily I could hear CyclingBC director (and former SymmetricsDirector Sportif '05-'08) Jeremy Storie calling out my position. I was still on the podium! I gotta power through this!

I found I could save energy at the end of the straights and in the corners by letting a small gap open up and flowing through but after failing to move up and contest the 10-lap-to-go sprint, I knew it was now or never. With 8 to go I was involved in an crash on the mainstraight, dragging my foot and twisting my saddle. I pitted and jumped back in a lap later last wheel (so about 19th!). I moved up after one lap at the back and slipped through to swipe the intermediate sprint, in the process Giant slaloming a barrier on corner 2 and bushes on the 2nd last corner - those guys at the front couldn't hear the thunder that was coming! With 6 to go though, Villeaux flatted. Thank goodness it was six to go and not a lap later otherwise he would have been out of the race and that would have been extremely unfortunate (free laps are awarded in criteriums for flat tires, mechanicals and crash-involvement, but with 5 laps to go, free laps discontinue). With 3 to go I sat 12th wheel and a split occured. H&R riders were letting gaps open to position their top rider, currently sitting on the podium. So I surged along the barriers to bridge up to a very strong and selective 7 man group. I didn't know that I had dropped to 5th in points over the middle of the race but I was 110% focused on the finale regardless. With 2 to go I bidded my time and moved up 1 or 2 spots in the corners and with 1 remaining I fought my way on to third wheel, behind Villeaux. Into the final punchy hill Villeaux and I took the front of the race and over the crest he opened a perfect 10 foot gap to which I spun up my FSA cranks and powered up my Microshift shifters and conducted the perfect slingshot over the 400 metre drag to the line! I took the finale sprint and raised my hands higher than I ever have!

Although I was 3rd on points (a podium is what I came for), I did a great race and am extremely stoked to represent everyone at Team Exergy here in Canada.

Derrick St.John (Cyclocross Superstart), David Villeaux (Team Europcar = Wicked Strong), Me! (Team Exergy)

Thank you to every one who has helped me get to this point in my career. It is truly a dream come true.
Photos and run down of the race can be found here @ PedalMag. Photo credits also go out to

Full Sprint Point Breakdown PDF (See how the race unfolded).

FIND MORE AWESOME PHOTOS AT CYCLINGPHOTOS.CA with all-star photographer Jon Safka.


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tulsa Tough: St.3 Leadout TRAIN!

Yesterday my Team Exergy teammates and I kitted up for our last day in Oklahoma. We didn't talk about the race too much before hand, the plan was already set. We had already discussed where we could improve and we all understood it was a matter of getting it done. So with a steep climb crowded with drunk and rowdy spectators we headed off into the heat of the Oklahoma afternoon (100 degrees and 100% to be precise) looking for a race of attrition after complications in a late race crash Friday and positioning difficulty on Saturday run to the line.

It was hot and humid, with feeding allowed every lap! Luckily there were a lot of people on cry baby hill with hoses and such to help keep us cool. Our Team Exergy support crew also worked tirelessly to handout bottles amid that crazy crowd of cycling enthusiasts (aka: wicked hammered people in lycra).

I attacked right from the gun and spent some serious time off the front and in small moves for the first 20 minutes of the 80 minute event. The final downhill off camber corner lent well to my corner abilities making it an advantageous place to attack. However I started to pay for it after a while and despite ice socks and hydration, I started to hurt.

Jamis controlled the race, as they had the largest team. They got the guy they wanted to get away, away. He took with him a second rider from Aerocat. Therefore in the finale, we were sprinting for 3rd on the day plus places in the weekend's overall omnium. Since I didn't finish in the points either day prior, I was simply going for glory on the final day.

The leadout on Sunday was exceptional. With 6 to go we were all in a line of 4, riding out of the wind near 15th wheel. We lost one of the Mullervy twins (brand new editions to the team - tireless workers, I can't wait to race again with these guys!) during a feed near the end of the race (he handed me his bottle over the crest and lost contact with our train) but that is okay. With 2 laps remaining Quinn, Conner and I took over the front of the peloton, away from the Jelly Belly team = super stoked. Quinn blew halfway up the climb that lap so I told Conner that needed him to get me to the bottom of the hill again, so 1 full lap! I was coaching him through the lap...the commentary went pretty much like this:

On cry baby hill with 1.5 laps remaining: "Okay Conner, now it's your time"
Over the top of the hill: "Drive it drive it drive it"
Through corner 3 passing Amaran who attacked solo with 5 remaining: "nice and smooth"
Getting up to speed into corner 4: "BIG POWER"
Approaching final corner with 1 lap to go: "Breathe Conner, Breathe. You need to get me to the end of the straight. Thirty seconds! Everything you got, just ramp it up"
With 200 metres to the first corner of the final lap two amateur riders from NOW came alongside "Maximum Conner, FULL GAS!"

He pulled off and I slotted into behind the two NOW riders. Halfway up the steep section of the climb but before the sharp right hander leading into the crowded section, Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) went down the inside. I followed around the outside of the NOW riders (didn't see them again). Up along the crowd I surfed back looking for a spot to get in. Jelly Belly was driving it very hard and left just enough space between their line and the crowd. Over the crest it ran Lawson Craddock (Trek-Livestrong), Brad Huff & Ken Hanson (Jelly Belly), Jonny Cantwell (Australia National Criterium Champion of FlyV Australia), Rashaan Bahati (Pista Palace) and I with a gap behind.

Through corner three Craddow faded and slowed the pace. On the outside I passed Bahati. Jelly Belly continued to turn right to steal the inside line: Huff, Hanson, some other dude, Cantwell, and I. I saw the hole for the last corner and should have gone for it as I was cornering very well in the final corner and may have been able to get a gab. But I stayed on Cantwell. Once through I geared up only once before I had to jump out of the saddle. In the 200 meter drag to the line the four of us gapped those behind, topping out at over 40mph. So I managed 4th in the bunch and 6th on the day!

So in other words the leadout was as perfect as it could have been. Next time I'll know to not even hesitate for an instant and instead of focusing on a 80% effort before the last corner and a 100% effort to the line, I'll switch it for a better position leading into the sprint. I am super stoked with this result, being able to pay the team back for helping me through the race with a solid sprint. Although I have historically been bad in the heat, Team Exergy helped me get to warmer climates this year and the heat training seems to be paying off!

CryBaby Hill Photo Credit

Cry Baby with "enthusiasts"


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Tulsa Tough: St.1 CrashFEST!

If you got a chance to watch the race online, I hope you were sitting down because that was about as hairy as it gets.

The thunderstorm delay was very appropriate. The first few laps were very slippery. Essentially one crash per lap for the first 20 laps. It dried throughout the race and breakaway of the day didn't get away until 50 minutes into the race.

In the finale, (with Quinn out from a nasty crash at the halfway point) Kevin, Connor and I were riding strong in 10th wheel behind the Jamis leadout and Cantwell (FlyV). With 1.5 laps to go a large crash occurred at 7th wheel and everyone stopped. I bunny-hopped on the curb and plowed into some spectators. There had been a crash in that corner for the last three laps so there were spectators everywhere. The race was essentially over for everyone except the five up the road (gap down to 5 seconds) and the remaining seven riders in the peloton. The break was caught half a lap later and Cantwell won from seventh wheel going into the sprint.

In cooler news....HEYBUCKSHOT just released their first four features of their season-long photo essay of Team Exergy. Find links here!


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Tulsa Tough: Inbound!

Tulsa Tough! Three days of travel and we are here! Big money! Time to crush it with two new Team Exergy riders: Conner and Kevin Mullervy! Welcome to Team Exergy!

Live Stream: Friday 9pm CST, Saturday 9pm CST, Sunday 4pm CST

Quinn and I traveled for three days in the Volvo early this week. Highlights include a museum of the DOGS OF THE TITANIC, the universe headquarters for a mustard company and fixing the Yakima rack bolts with the help of our new Team Exergy supporters at FunTrail Vans Inc in Columbus, Ohio! Thanks for hooking us up with the right pieces to get us back on the road! You rock!


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Philadelphia International: Exergy goes big


My job was to help keep Freddie safe as we approached the Manayunk. I did it absolutely perfect twice = first wheel into the Manayunk! I started crambing on the 7th big lap but a massive bottle of Hammer Endurolytes from Remi helped me get back in the groove. Team Exergy finish 7 or 8 riders, were in every move, Quinn placed 2nd on KOM competition after rippping up the day's breakaway all day, Andres crushed the final kilometres and was only caught with 3km to go, Freddie placed 12 after leading Carlos out for 10th (an awesome result since they were both crambing badly in the finale), Matt went over the Manayunk first on lap 8 (covering dangerous bridge attempts), Kai grabbed bottles all day after animating the beginning of the race, Sam crushed bottle service all day...THANKS SAM!

Cyclinginatoque Flickr Gallery

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