Jun 09 2013

Gran Fondo Gatineau 2013 – Ride Report

I loved this course so much last year that I decided to make the trek to the nation’s capital to give it another go.

The longer gradual climbs suit my riding style. The power riders aren’t able to push over the hills, so I would be able to reel them in one by one when they slow down.

This time, I was excited to have the opportunity to test a set of carbon clinchers from a new local company called Kahrbuhn. You can find my review here.

A day before the event, I took delivery of a pair of Kahrbuhn Klincher Koncord Pro 50mm wheels, with tubes and tires already installed. All I had to supply was a Campagnolo lockring tool and my Chorus 11-speed cassette.

With everything all set, I went for a little ride along the Rideau River. There are really nice trails along the river, as these pictures would suggest. They would be even better if direction signage is better.

Wilier Gran Turismo with Kahrbuhn Klincher Koncord Pros Love how the rims totally match the carbon weave of my frame
Race Start

For breakfast, I ate half a loaf of raisin bread. It was that good.

Then it was time to ride to the start line from my hotel, via Byward Market, Sussex Drive, Alexandra Bridge which turned into Boul. des Allumetières after crossing into Gatineau.

It became an eventful pre-race, when during the warmup lap, I suddenly could not shift to the big chainring. I thought it was cable tension, so I kept dialling in the barrel adjuster to no avail.

And so, with a minute until start, I went to the back of line with only half of the available gears.

Km 1 to 30

I was barely able to stay with a group pace with my drivetrain completely cross-chained at either 34-13 or 34-12. There was no chain rub at all, lol. Something must be misaligned.

Once I entered Gatineau Park, I needed the small chainring anyway, so it was no big deal, but I would get dropped everytime there were slight dips in elevation.

Finally, I stopped at the feed station at Belvedere Lookout, the highest elevation of the course and the turnaround point. Of course, I made it worse, so had to stop again 1km later. The front derailleur hanger bolt was loose, and the angle was off. So with that finally fixed, it was off to the descent.

I did notice the bike generating more speed on the descent, and generally hold speed better with those 50mm profile wheels. I was quite happy with them!

Km 30 to 70

I had a nice rotation going with half a dozen riders, sometimes swelling about 10.

Back on to the flat open Boul. des Allumetières where I would need the most help, we were taking 30 second pulls at the front, and I was still feeling ok.

On the second time up Gatineau Park, I felt I paced myself better than last time and thought I climbed well up to Belvedere Lookout.

At the feedzone, I was 1 for 2 with the banana exchange. Par for the course 😉

Km 71 to 105

Gran Turismo at the finishThe second descent back to town started off like the previous lap, with about half a dozen riders.

Soon after, when I looked back, there was no one but me, Alex, and another guy.

Alex put in a monster pull to get us down, so the other guy and I basically got a free ride. I did pull through on several occasions, but was overtaken again almost immediately every time. The rain was starting to sprinkle at this time, so perhaps Alex wanted to stay out of trouble.

Yay, pasta and beer!In any case, the three of us made it back to town uneventfully, and shook hands as we crossed the timing mats.


There was pasta lunch and beer, and then there was lunch again (I went for seconds!)

Spectating and Touristy Stuff

Just like last year, I spent the rest of the weekend spectating the professional women’s race races and being a tourist around downtown Ottawa.

Due to some unfortunate development over the last year, the Gatineau race became the sole remaining UCI Category I race in North America. This resulted in many of the international teams finding it not worth their effort to send a team. The field was smaller than last year, and had a higher proportion of local amateur riders.

Nonetheless, the front of the race was still entertaining. There were numerous breakaways that stayed out for significant amount of time. The most threatening break involved a few Canadian riders. They were only brought back into the during the last lap by some hard work in the peloton.

Peloton at roundabout with 4 laps to go The peloton on Boul. des Allumetières The breakaway that stayed away until the final lap Shelley Olds (TIPCO) sprinted to finish ahead of Canadian Joëlle Numainville (Optum), and Katarzyna Pawlowska (GSD) TIPCO teammates of winner celebrate her victory The podium for this year's edition. 1) Shelley Olds, USA (TIPCO to the top) 2) Joëlle Numainville, CAN (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 3) Katarzyna Pawlowska, POL (GSD Gestion - Kallisto) Team Canada race bikes

Finally, since my hotel was within walking distance to Byward Market, I had all my meals there, trying different restaurants each time. During the day, there are fresh produce and flower stalls that are almost like farmers markets.

I went by the bakery that sold “Obama cookies”, but I didn’t get one since I wasn’t hungry at that time.

Byward Market, downtown Ottawa Le Moulin de Provence, the bakery that served the

The market would be better if the central area could become a pedestrian zone. The market is not that big to begin with, and would not really impact traffic since through traffic would not really go through the area.

1 ping

  1. Kahrbuhn Klincher Koncord Pro – Review – HenryLo.ca

    […] I had the opportunity to test a pair of carbon clinchers during this year’s Gran Fondo Gatineau. It’s only right that I should at least write a quick […]

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