Jun 25 2013

Centurion Ontario 2013 – Race Report

This was one for the ages. The rain was coming down steadily since the night before the race, and would not stop until well after I finished.

The original plan was to ride from my room at Carriage Ridge Resort to the start line at Horseshoe Valley main chalet, but ended up taking the short 5km drive there to save myself from getting wet and cold even before starting.

At the start. Yeah it's wet. Hey, isn't that Simon Whitfield in the middle?
Pre-ride meal of choice today was a full loaf of garlic bread, freshly toasted in my hotel room’s oven.

There was nothing much to do but hide inside the chalet until reluctantly making my way out 5 minutes before the scheduled start.

The good thing about starting from the bottom of a valley was I got warmed up fairly quickly making my way up the neutral climb. The rain even stopped at this point.

For the first half of the ride, I sheltered myself in the middle of large groups to save as much energy as possible. The heavy rain started again soon after, and with the wet roads and poor visibility, the peloton was tentative and on edge. There was a lot of braking, and slowed to a crawl when cornering.

I believe my hands were frozen to the hoods at this point.Then rain was seriously heavy at times, making it difficult to see anything ahead. Potholes were filled water already from the rain. Combine this with the near zero visibility, everyone rode right over those potholes hoping nothing breaks and no punctures. It must really suck to change tubes in this weather…

Usually I am not worried about getting wet in the summer because the temperature is warm enough. So I left the rainjacket out. But on this day, the temperature never rose above mid-teens, and the sun never came out.

Not enjoying life at this point.My jersey and arm warmers were soaked right away, and then arms became frozen stiff for the rest of the day.

Going downhill in the cold rain also did not help. My legs were actually shaking going downh, and then had trouble getting the legs spinning again after they were cooled down.

There was plenty of tire spray from riders in front, getting into glasses, mouth, nose.
The one thing that stood out for me the most was tasting road grit while trying to enjoy my lunch, and having to wipe off more of that from my nose. Disgusting!

Hmm, I don't remember this stretch of dry road...It was also during lunch that discovered my jaw was sore from a really good workout during the ride. Apparently I was gritting teeth the whole time.

I’m not complaining – just documenting my experiences for future reference. :)

After 50km or so, I started regretting doing a metric century club ride the day before. I had trouble getting up the hills in the 2nd half. There was some mild cramping, probably due to getting cold trying to crank them up again, and probably partly due to not fully recovered from the day prior.

I fell off the back of the grupetto I was with since the beginning, rode a few km by myself, then fortunately was able to catch on to the back of another grupetto that pulled me through the boring stretch of course along Sideroad 15/16.

The last 10km was a consistent incline back to the top of the “horseshoe”, and I completely cracked – couldn’t even keep up with a guy with stuck on the big chain ring.

The uphill finish was a most pathetic affair of crawling at a walking pace on granny gear, while a half dozen better looking cyclist did proper sprints for finish pride. Oh well, I just wanted to get changed and get warm indoors.

Done!On a final note, the lunch was fantastic! After last year’s pancake mini-fiasco, we had all-you-can-eat gourmet sandwiches and couscous. Well done, Graham Fraser and the organizing team. Thanks as usual to the volunteers, but especially on a day like this for standing outside in the rain for hours.

I will be back next year to redeem myself. Rumour has it that the start/finish will be in downtown Barrie – should be fantastic!

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