Monday, June 20, 2011

Banff Bike Fest, A Cat 4 View

Ferenc is right. It’s kind of a pain in the ass to haul yourself out to Banff for a 1.5 km prologue. That’s not the whole story though. While the race is short, it does give you the opportunity to taste blood in the back of your throat and to develop a rattling cough for a couple of days, so there are compensations.

The prologue and post-prologue were good fun, but the ITT, Crit and RR were over the top. Following a string of me finishing just ahead of Slayer in TTs I managed to smoke him by a whole 1.6 seconds over the Minnewanka loop, diskless (me 4th, him 5th, so ... money!). Having proved my mettle in TTs I went into the crit expecting to play a sizable factor. I got gapped two or three laps in and then rode another time trial, this time trying to salvage some dignity by not getting lapped. I started my 24th lap 10 metres ahead of the winner’s finish. Gapped, not lapped though, hah!

The road race started at 7:00, so we were up at o-dark-thirty eating bagels and trying to decide whether to ride with a jersey or a parka. An umbrella would have been nice. Rain was spitting at the start and would vary between that and bucketing down on the back side of the course. The descent off Tunnel Mountain was very interesting on wet roads. I rode it like a scared kitten the first three times, like a brave kitten the fourth and fifth time and like a ferocious, fearless newt the last time. (I have no idea what that means.) Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd lap the group got whittled down from 80 to about 50, with 7 Speed Theorists attending. The routine established was to a) ride tempo out of town, b) wheeze up the hill, c) ride tempo up to the village, d) try to kill each other on the short walls at the top and then e) alternately try to recover/try not to die on the descent. On the last lap I hit the final uphill grunt ahead of a small swarm that came around me at the ⅓ point of the uphill. Then they all came back in the last ⅓. Sweetness. I got in touch with my inner newt and hammered (No, really. I hammered. Really) down the hill around the corner and over the finish. Larry, with his mad finishing skills and a fine leadout from Thomas made it there ahead of me for 6th place. I got 9th, Chris was 10th and Dave finished 12th in Cat 4. Harley was 3rd in Cat 3 (17 seconds up the road). With the road grime we looked like we had just had a pleasant April ride in Belgium.

There was no GC for Cats 3, 4 and 5, but if there were it would have been Chris, me and Dave as 2, 3 and 4 for the weekend, so good racing all ‘round.


cyclingphysio said...

I just want to thank all the 4s for a really fun weekend. The work done in the crit by Larry Dan and Chris was off the hook. Would have LOVED to have seen our lead out train in action, but them's the breaks in crit racing I guess. Beers are still on me someday for that effort. The RR was a sufferfest indeed, especially after an ill advised sprint up the road to mark our old friend Jevon on lap 2. After that it was sheer survival. Can't wait till Devon this weekend, let's see how my gc skills hold up!!

Hoop said...

Great weekend of racing, it was so much fun to be surrounded by ST jerseys in the Crit and RR. Awesome to see so many from the team enjoying the sufferfest that is Banff Bike Fest!

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