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Sep 23 2013

Centurion Canada 2013 – Race Report

After merely surviving the 100 mile race last year, I went back to the 50-mile race where I could actually race it, and the hill climb challenge up Scenic Caves Road again.

Hill Climb Challenge

The hill climb was scheduled on the Friday this year. I forgot to account for afternoon rush traffic, and only arrived at Blue Mountain Village with less than an hour until the scheduled start.

Getting the race kits was quick though, and my scheduled start was delayed, so I still had some time to warm up.

Unlike last year, it was a mass start instead of grouped by age.

From the start, everybody gunned it, hoping to be at the front.
I thought it would be an easy pace like last year, so by the time I clued in, there was some chasing to be done.

While I could hold my own spinning up the road, it was clear I am still not quite at the level needed to compete yet.

At least the descent back down the escarpment was fun!

 

Spectating the U23 Prospects Criterium

On the Saturday, the first ever criterium through Blue Mountain Village was held. This was one stage of the inaugural Ontario Prospects Stage Race. The course looked challenging, with a few tight curves, narrow lanes through the village, with some cobble sections thrown in. No, I was too old and too slow to be in the race, but spectating the race was the second best thing:

Leader was in yellow. Unfortunately he later crashed and lost the jersey Team Ontario The chase peloton. The break stayed away to the end.

 

C50 Race

The advantage of staying at a rental property within sight of the start/finish was being able to roll right to start. I found a spot in the first wave, and we were off 5 minutes after the U23 Prospects started.

The so called neutral start was ridiculous, just like last year. The pace was too slow, and there was extreme yo-yoing until the start of Grey Road 2 climb. There’s no reason to grab a handful of brakes and almost come to a complete stop?

After the longest, most agonising neutral rollout, racing finally started on the Grey Road 2 climb. There was immediately more breathing room as people who didn’t belong in the first corral went backwards, involuntarily.

The pace was relatively high at the front, so there was a bit of gap at the summit, but with so many in the peloton, everybody was back together not long after.

It was mostly stiff headwind from here until the KOM, so there was no serious attacks as far as I could tell. Apart from a few surges, the pace was also relatively easy.

My housemate Bill made an appearance here. I would see him on-and-off until the finish.

The KOM climb itself wasn’t that tough. I found the toughest part was the plateau immediately after the climb, where I really had to redline it to get back on a wheel.

I saw a gap form with about 30 to 40 riders ahead, but I was boxed in on the right shoulder, and couldn’t get out until 1km to the top. I’m not sure if I would actually make the lead group selection even if I was unimpeded, but at least I would definitely move up a few spots on the KOM leaderboard.

Someone touched wheels on this climb; the crash that resulted was comically slow-motion like. I later found one of the guys that went down, and apparently not a scratch for himself and the bike.

I ended up sitting in a small chase group on the plateau, later gaining more people on the downhill after turning off Grey Road 7.

We tried to start an echelon several times, but didn’t quite work.

And so, we kept the lead group in sight the whole time, and could not bridge back up. Our group ended up finishing close to 6 minutes behind the winner.

The final long gradual climb up Route 19 would have been brutal if there was any action, but as it turned out, nobody in our group was in a mood to try any move, so turtle’s pace it was until the descent on the back side of the climb.

I’d say the most enjoyable part of the race was wheel surfing on this section, jumping on whichever wheel was moving faster. I was again frustrated on some occasions when I wanted more gears than my compact cranks could offer. Perhaps I will think about moving to a standard cranksets, or ideally 52/36, the best of both worlds…

On the run-in to the village, I made a conscious effort to move up closer to the front.

At the final roundabout before the finishing straight, I found myself near the back of the group again. Damn, this happens way too often!

There was not enough time and no room to move up, so there was no sprint for me.

On the other end of the spectrum, Bill won the bunch sprint on our group! I need to be more like him.

I hung around with some Midweek clubbers I saw at the finish, then got some free lunch, and back to the house to lie down for a bit before packing up for home.

Thanks Dave, Ian, Morten, Bill, John, Bruce for the great company and food, and especially Bruce for organizing. I also had the privilege of ogling and touching a Cervelo Rca. There are only 325 of those in the whole world!

centurion_canada_house1 2nd floor living room The guys devouring dinner. Kitchen and dining rooms were gorgeous.

1 comment

  1. Hong

    Love the climb on grey 2 and 7… so tough but satisfying…especially in the summer heat and crazy winds…brings the crap out of u lol.

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