Racing to Gastown

The Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is a race I have dreamt about for many years. As a three-year-old, with a borrowed tricycle, I attended the 1992 Gastown Grand Prix with my parents and ever since I got into racing have been looking forward to competing on the streets of Vancouver in front of the amazing crowds. I was really excited when Global Relay brought the race back last year and was set to race it for the first time, however a crash just days before in the Tour of Delta kept me from entering. So 2013 should finally be the year!

The Gastown Grand Prix, and the rest of BC Superweek are some of my biggest ambitions for the 2013 season. My most recent preparations for this year’s race have mostly involved racing and recovering with some specific training from my coach, Bridge the Gap board member, Will Routley.

(photo credit: Catherine L. Cooper)

Tour of Walla Walla in Washington kicked off a long stretch of traveling and racing for me.  Walla Walla was a big success, and thanks to the help of Team H&R BLOCK I came out of the weekend with 2 stage wins and the overall. From Washington I ventured to Silver City, New Mexico for the Tour of Gila. Gila is a great event and although it wasn’t the best week for me I think the week of hard racing at altitude was good prep for the upcoming races.

From New Mexico I traveled over to Europe to adapt to the time change and get in some final preparations for the An Post Ras race.  Also known as the Tour of Ireland, the Ras is a tough 8-day stage race that was sure to be good preparation for the Gastown Grand Prix. It was great to be racing with the Canadian National team with other Global Relay Bridge the Gap athletes Stuart Wight, Alex Cataford, and Kris Dahl. The style of racing was very different than in North America with everyone racing very aggressively and no real control being taken in the first few stages. Teammate Remi Pelletier-Roy drove the breakaway on the first hilly stage placing second on the stage and moving up to 5th overall. From then on my job was to help keep Remi safely in the front group and try to help him move into the yellow jersey, especially on the very tough penultimate stage. In the end it was hard fought but we managed to maintain his 5th place and gain a few UCI points for Canada. I finished up the week right where I started: Race number 17, finishing 17th.

(photo credit: Kris Dahl)

After Ireland I had a bit more recovery time and visiting in Europe before a nice week at home with my family in Nova Scotia. I put in a good week of training and even got in a local criterium to keep the racing going and see many of my good friends. The time home flew by though, and I was soon on the road again headed for the Tour De Beauce. Other than BC Superweek, and now the Tour of Alberta, this is the biggest race in Canada and another great opportunity for aspiring Canadian cyclists to prove themselves against the best riders in North America. It was great to be back with my Team H&R BLOCK teammates for another tough six days of racing. I didn’t achieve the results I was hoping for but I finished the week feeling better than I started, which bodes well for the upcoming National Championships. I have way more race days in me to date this season as well as great winter training so I am really excited to make the most of the upcoming National championships and BC Superweek.

Final preparations for Gastown will be mainly focused on recovery. With 4 race days in the 5 days leading up to the event there is no need to add any extra intensity. Good sleeps, stretching, massage, and hopefully time with the feet up enjoying the Vancouver sunshine will all be in order. An easy morning spin around Stanley Park with a likely stop at Thomas Haas or Musette Café will start the day. Lunch, a quick afternoon nap, and a pre race meal will probably fill the afternoon. (It’s a tough life). A spin down into Gastown, then a proper warm up on the trainer followed by a quick team meeting  (quick because team director Mark Ernsting who normally likes to talk will be too busy running the race) and it’ll be go time. I’ll be searching for the breakaways and then helping set up our team sprinter, Kris Dahl for the final lap.

Finally, I would like to thank Global Relay Bridge the Gap and Team H&R BLOCK for all their support this season. Also a huge thank you to Global Relay again for their great support in bringing back one of the most exciting races in North America, the Gastown Grand Prix.