May 18 2014

Rollercoaster ride in killer crosswinds – Grey County Road Race O-Cup #4 Report

It’s a rare event for road racing in Ontario: a challenging point-to-point course on beautiful side roads around Blue Mountain, and top it off with a summit finish on the toughest climb in Southern Ontario – Scenic Caves Road.

I arrived the evening prior and settled into a hotel in Collingwood. The wicked thunderstorms convinced me not to do go out for a light spin. I’d rather stay in and watch the NHL playoffs anyway.

Early next morning, the sun was shining, a good sign. But wind was howling though, so I went with arm and leg warmers in case the windchill became in factor.

Lined up at the start corral in Blue Mountain Village. Oh yeah, that's snow on the slopes.After registration at Blue Mountain Village, chatting with some teammates, and doing some warm up loops, I lined up in the corral, also right in the village.

The neutral rollout was led by a moto that kept the pace below 30km/h as required, but with strong tailwind at this point, it was almost braking all the way.

At some point, the race actually started but I was not sure when exactly. The pace was kept easy to the first major climb, and stayed that way through the entire climb. I was relieved that everyone was content to bide his time here, so my fear of getting dropped early did not materialize.

All alone nowFrom this point until the bottom of the second major climb, it was mostly flat or downhill sections, with the tailwind becoming wicked crosswinds.

The winds themselves did not bother me much, but I had my hands full with the gusts that seemed to pick up my front wheel and throw it off line. I had to stayed on the drops basically for the rest of the race.

At some point during a long descent close to the second climb, I noticed I was off the back of the peloton. I had almost made it back, but they were gone again.

So I ended up on the second climb by myself, through the feedzone, and then was passed by the Master 3 peloton that started from Blue Mountain village 5 minutes after us.

A few stragglers from that M3 caught up to me, and we swallowed a few more guys shortly after. We ended up settling in a pretty good looking double paceline.

We kept this up until the descent on Route 19, where everyone held their positions and tucked in, hitting over 80km/h. I made sure to not get gapped this time.

Slow grind up Sceni Caves Road.  Photo by Jeremy AllenAt the bottom, our little group did a few more paceline rotations to the base of Scenic Caves Road, and then it was every man for himself.

I spotted another Elite 4 rider in the distance, and ended up pacing him to the top, but he was too far to catch.

So I finished behind the peloton again, 18:48 back to be exact, but at least this time I generally felt good. Too bad I did not hang on in supposedly one of the easier parts of the race though. I’m starting to get a better idea on what I need to work on this year and through the off season.

Great job to the organizer and volunteers. These kinds of events are not easy to pull off in Ontario, so they deserve our support. I hope it returns next year!

1 ping

  1. The Effing Wall – Niagara Classic O-Cup #5 Report | HenryLo.ca

    […] I must really like getting spit out the back and riding by myself, because here I was in Pelham getting ready to start the Niagara Classic, a week after Grey County Road Race. […]

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