The Battle

The Canadian Road Championships have just wrapped themselves up and since I don’t plan on leaving my bed in the foreseeable future I thought it would be a good time to write a post. This is my 4th time at road nationals which is an event that hasn’t been kind to me in the past, but since it only comes once a year and the form has been improving I was motivated to shoot for the podium.

My first experience with this race was in 2010. Back then I was a silly mountain bike racer, but since Nationals was being held 20 minutes from my home in Edmonton, Alberta I gave it a go. Unfortunately my bikes derailleur decided to blow it itself apart about one third of the way into the race and with no spare bike my day was over.

In 2011 I gave it another shot. This time, a full fledged roadie. I had just finished Canada’s biggest stage race, the Tour de Beauce and it totally destroyed me. I did everything I could to try and get the body rested in the 5 days between but my body rejected my request and made me feel pain, too much pain. Half way through the race I fell off the pace of the main field and eventually pulled the plug.

2012 started status quo but ended up fairly awesome. Up to this point in the year I was feeling great on the bike, won some races and just finished the Tour de Beauce again. This time I knew how to transition a big stage race into good legs in the 5 days I had. Unfortunately I snapped my chain while feeling awesome in a 20 man chase group mid way through the race. Lame. I made up for it the next day by taking 2nd at the National Criterium Championships and nearly winning the Sprint Challenge hours later. Nationals is on the ups!

This year my race schedule didn’t include the Tour de Beauce or any racing in the three weeks beforehand for that matter. So, I sat down and made a plan… I borrowed a power meter, utilized a friend and his scooter for motor pacing and took advantage of the world class training grounds that is Victoria, BC. I confirmed and re-confirmed that my climbing power was higher than ever, that my sprint was as strong as anybodies and that I could hammer for hours on end and still perform at this level. Focused, smart, specific training. In a one day race, anything can happen!

187km in a flash. Felt decent, watched some very strong riders go up the road. Went with a group of equally strong riders, half of us made it to the break, half did not. Missed it by a hair. Being fully in the pain cave I sat in the main field until the good sensations returned. The field was chaos, a few Pro Tour riders were setting an aggressive tempo on the front in a last ditch effort. Soon the field reduced from ‘everybody else’ to 15, then 7, then 5. I found myself with a pair of Pro Tour guys and 2 Quebec Pros. They didn’t like the look of my jib on the tailwind descent and one by one attacked me until I gave up chasing. I waited for a more friendly fellow Bridge the Gap athlete Kris Dahl. We worked together over the remaining 40km to finish up my best nationals to date in 17th place overall.

The following day I was motivated and had every intention to one-up my criterium result from last year. Some days you got it, some you don’t. The body didn’t respond as I had hoped and I was spat out the back of a severely reduced field with 6 laps to go. A few hours later was the Sprint Challenge and with it an entry into the same event at the Quebec City Pro Tour. Its a fun little 800 meter out and back round robin event. I won the first 2 heats and made it into the grand final in which my weary legs lacked the necessary zippyness for the win.  Second is I guess the next best thing..

Up next is BC Superweek and Canada’s Biggest Criterium, the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix! I’m super excited to challenge for win thanks to the support of my team, Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes and Global Relay Bridge the Gap. See you there!