Jul 31 2012

Centurion Ontario 2012 – Race Report

The first of three Centurion Cycling events went relatively well. This weekend was the 25km and 100km held around Horseshoe Valley Resort. I had already pre-rode the course, so I knew what to expect and when, and the weather cooperated.

The bonus was getting to test ride a Cervélo S5 and R5 VWD. Sweet sweet rides!

View from my room at Horseshoe Valley Inn Registration tents


Centurion C25K

The alarm went off at 4:30am – I needed to get to Horseshoe Resort by 6am, get the race kit, and be ready to stage at 7am.

There was no lineup once I arrived, so I had lots of time to get ready, and have my two hardboiled eggs for breakfast.

0 – 2km

I rode up and down the Adventure Park a few times to warm up, then lined up at the corral.

After the horn sounded, police escort led everyone up the Horseshoe Valley Rd. hill in a neutral start. This is a long climb from the bottom of the valley to the top, maxing out at 10% gradient, which should get everybody warmed up.

2km – 10km

Follow the wheelOnce I turned on to 4th Line at the top, I got down on the drops to take advantage of the slight downhill and catch a few riders ahead.

I caught up to a half dozen riders at around Bass Lake Road and worked with them for a while.

They almost turned off piste at one point, but the OPP officer spotted them just in time.

10km – 16km

After the turn on to 6 Line, the hill split the group apart. Eventually I made my way behind two riders who were riding a good pace on the flat section. I turned out to be the stronger climber so I rolled to the front on climbs, then peeled back on descents. We were working quite well together.

16km – 20km

I could see the lead peloton in the distance, as well as a few riders who were popped off the back. The three of us chugged along, and eventually picked up one of the stragglers. I yelled at him to jump on our train, and he obliged.

20km – 24km

I guess the guy we picked up recovered enough that he started to up the pace and pull away. I followed his wheel, as we made a right-left jog on to the final kilometres on 4 Line.

There were two small climbs. I powered up the first one and opened up a gap, but he reeled me back in, and proceeded to pull away on the second climb. I recovered a little and got back on to the big ring, and the chase was on.


Podium finish!I made it back to within a few bike lengths, but couldn’t quite get on his wheel. Both of us were mashing the big gears all the way to the line, but he held on.

A few minutes later, the two riders I was working with earlier also crossed the line. I thanked them for the work they did for me.

An OPP cruiser led us down the Horseshoe Valley Rd. hill and back to the resort. The first race was done!


I assumed only the winner in each age group got awards, so I went away, got changed, and checked into the hotel.

I only went back to see the medal ceremony out of curiosity, then I realize awards were also giving out to 2nd and 3rd placers. So apparently, I received a bronze medal and had a walk up the podium! Not often will a middle of the packer like me wins anything!

Test Rides

After grabbing some lunch, I went back to the expo to test some top of the line bikes that I can’t afford. Louis Garneau Gennix R2, Cervélo S5 (Ultegra Di2), Cervélo R5 VWD (SRAM Red), in that order.

So that was 3 more climbs up Horseshoe Valley Rd. I’m pretty I rode more than the actual race that morning!

Cervélo S5, Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting equipped Cervélo R5 VWD
Subaru BRZ - sadly no test rides in this one

Centurion C100K

After a surprisingly good night’s sleep at the hotel, it was time for the 100km main event.

I did a few warm up laps prior to lining up. By the time I was finished, the chutes were all filled up, and so I lined up at the back. Oh well.

Race Start

A very slow neutral roll out to the Horseshoe Valley Rd climb. So slow that some riders were almost forced to unclip.

Then I had to weave through the crowd up the hill in order to position myself with a compatible grupetto when the race timing actually started.

1km – 13km

It was all downhill for this part of the course. All I could do was hang on to the back of this group.

14km – 21km

Catching a breatherThe pace felt a little too much. I didn’t want to burn out too early, so I eased up and waited for help. That came in the form of a group of at least 30 riders. It was easier to stay at the back of a larger group, so I was just happy to be there.

We eventually caught up to those guys that just dropped me earlier.

At some point in this section, a Cervelo dude cut in front me, forcing me to slow down. Then he inexplicably slowed down too which immediately opened up a gap, making me work to catch up again. Thanks a lot!

At the rail crossing at Km 17, riders in our grupetto eased up and took that nice and easy. But for some reason, a lady in a tri bike grabbed a whole bunch brakes then unclipped(!) just before tracks. That had potential for a pile up. Some of these triathlon people really need to understand road riding etiquette…

22km – 24km KOM

The King of the Mountain was a set of two climbs with a descent in between. This completely broke our gruppetto apart. I wanted a good KOM ranking, so I surged ahead.

Lots of riders were looking behind to see where their buddies were, but please make sure you hold your line! One guy swerved from the middle of the road all the way to the left curb and almost took me out. Only some old fashioned yelling got me out of that pickle.

I raced for the finish line, then sat up for the next km or so to get my heartrate down and eat some food.

25km – 35km

Riders eventually came back together, but that lasted only a while, as the series of rolling hills strung out everyone again.

35km – 51km

Trying to keep those pedals turningMost of those riders had now fallen behind, and I was alone with who later found out to be Jonathan and Hannah, plus a few others we picked up along the way or bridged up to us.

We could see a nice big group in the distance, so we decided to each take some short hard pulls to catch up.

We were slowly getting closer, but I was losing steam, so my share of work gradually decreased, and then I really had to work just to stay on their wheels.

52km – 54km

A long and fast downhill section on Moonstone Rd. down to Hwy 400 ramp allowed the group ahead to get away. Large grupettos are obviously much faster on descents.

At the same time, while I was spinning out of gears, Jonathan and another guy breezed right past me, quickly gapping me and Hannah. It’s very frustrating to not be any faster on descents.

55km – 63km

A steady grind on 10 Line presented another opportunity to bridge to the large group ahead. After a brief break, Jonathan and Hannah upped the tempo, while I tried to hang on to their wheels. We did eventually catch them, and rode at the back to catch our breaths.

The race organizers did a good job at the railway crossing at 56km, covering the dilapidated tracks with a mat. This was where my friend ripped his tire on a training run a few week ago. Everyone made it safely today.

64km – 68km

CookedStill on 10 Line, just south of Bass Lake Road is the “Canopy Climb”, a pretty winding hill lined with trees on both sides, which get ever steeper until reaching the top.

Most people took it easy, so the group stayed together. It should be a relatively easy ride to the finish from here!

69km – 90km

I was having way too much fun in this section, chatting away and cracking stupid jokes with riders around me. Jonathan and Hannah were doing most of the work again – they never seem to tire. I took a few pulls at the front too.

The only other thing I remember during this stretch was all the bottles, gel packets, and bananas peels being dropped by riders ahead. It was literally real-life Mario Kart! I tried to pick up turtle shells to fire at the guy in front, but kept missing them…

91km – 98km

I lost contact with the main group after turning on to 2 Line, but I wasn’t worried at this point. I ended up playing cat and mouse with two other dropped riders until the finish.


I was in a good spot, tucked behind a guy on the run up to finish. I pulled out and made my move with about 200-300m to go. I got at least half a bike length on him, but ran out of turbo before the line, and so I lost another sprint. *Slapped my handlebars in disgust*

As with the C25K race yesterday, we were led back to the Horseshoe Resort by the OPP.


Another great race, great course, and great organization. I am now confident that anything organized by Graham Fraser will be top notch. The only drawback is the pancake meal was not quite filling enough, but all-you-can-eat bananas, cookies, and Gatorade made up for it.

I am quite happy with my performance: finishing in 3 hours, average 33 km/h. No medals this time of course, but Hannah won 1st place in her age group. Well deserved!

Next up for me is my first triathlon at Toronto Triathlon Festival, then off to Ellicottville, New York for the next Centurion race weekend! See what happened there with all the gory details.

1 ping

  1. Centurion Ellicottville 2012 – Race Report – HenryLo.ca

    […] After the finish, I went straight to lunch. This time, they served burgers and pasta. That’s more like it! None of the wussy pancake business from Horseshoe Valley. […]

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