Well, the 4th annual Banff Bike Fest concluded yesterday with the road race. It was the 5th race in 4 days for the Invited Men (Cat1/2), and was 138km. An abbreviated road race (78km) earlier in the day was also for the Cat3/4 with quite a few STC members racing.
The weekend was excellent! I got to meet several new team members I hadn't met yet and to partake in and watch A LOT of racing.
The Banff Bike Fest is a highlight of the year for me. The town of Banff puts on a first class event. The Criterium downtown being their most spectator friendly. You really feel like you are part of a massive show when the streets are completely gated off to non-racers and spectators line the ENTIRE course!
For me, the weekend is about great company with team members and friends, but also about excellent competition.
I offered my lungs to the gods of blood in the 1.5km hill climb on Thursday evening and got 23rd., being beaten by over 19seconds in such a short event. Wow. The 64km road race on Friday morning went extremely well even though the weather did not cooperate. Finishing an unexpected 12th in the main pack got me excited for the next day. Saturday morning was the 21km ITT and was something I was really looking forward to. I had a great race to finish 13th. The winner was Will Routley (SpiderTech) crushing it in 26:30 and beating me by 1min46sec. Holy Cow !! Saturday evening, I got to watch all my team mates in the 22 - 26 lap criteriums before I started at 8pm. Watching all the STC racers out there fired me up and I was pumped to hammer. The starter said go and I was at 100%. I gingerly took the first few corners and ended up creating a gap off the back and it only got bigger. I lasted 13laps in a scheduled 50!! Holy cow some of those dudes can ride fast !! I love getting in there and experiencing the thrill of excellent riders and Sat evening didn't disappoint. By the time my heart rate had come down to about 200 and I had been lapped and pulled for several minutes, Paul Tichlaar and Aaron Schooler made a gap in the opposite direction and crushed the field! Those guys are totally amazing! It was mind boggling watching them almost lap a select field I could only hang onto for 4 laps !! Awesome. I must admit, I went to bed that evening a little disappointed with myself though. The picture of me in the Crit.... look where the spectators are looking.... I am JUST about to get lapped !!
That takes us to yesterday's road race. The Cat3/4 group started at a very early 7am and I made it to watch the last lap and the finish. Watching Harley, Thomas, Hooper, Larry and several more sprint pumped me up! During the first 10 of the 11 12km laps, I sort of made up for Sat evening and was active all day and finished in the main field behind the winning break. A highlight of yesterday was trading pulls with Will Routley (our current national champion) after he bridged up to an attempt I was making at bridging up to the breakaway. Him and I traded pulls a couple times before we were shut down. Later, he would pull a vanishing act and bridge up to the break himself, dragging 2 others. Amazing. While I was wondering if every nerve ending in both of my legs were on fire simultaneously, he was attacking off the front! Cool.
I hope everyone gets to see the photos I know are out there. Please email me links to your photos and I will post them here. Also, please put in the comments or a new post your highlights of the weekend and some cool stories. We had over 25 STC racers at the event, and it would be great to hear some great motivational racing stories!
Shot of Frank, Rob, and Charles early in the Crit here.