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 PedalMag.com

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

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

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Cycling in a Toque: 2011 Canada Criterium: SUCCESS!

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 PedalMag.com

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

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

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