Tour of the Catskills, with the impossible-to-overhype Devil's Kitchen, took place this past weekend...[...]
|Almonte Paris-Roubaix - Road Race||Sunday April 26, 2009|
After a gorgeous day the day before we awoke to a cloudy, cool day with the temperature around 8 degrees. At least it wasn't raining. The original forecast for the race was originally 15degrees and sunny for race morning, but all that changed on Thurs night when the forecast turned sour and held mainly true. As always, the start list was impressive with a who's who of local talent and the list was also 150 people long!! The course was slightly modified over last year and even the year before. In fact, it was a nice mix of the 2. Plus, about 7k were added to the overall race distance which would really put some folks into serious hurt. It was always seems that around the 60k mark, the lights tend to go out for some people. My strategy for the race to take it easy and just bide my time. This worked quite well as the main group didn't seem interested in racing right away. There was a little group off the front of the pack and it always contained a rider from the Cyclery, Ride with Rendall and the Specialized team. This had the effect of slowing the pack right down. Painfully slow at times. I thought to myself, this in no way to ride a cyclo-sportif! So I took it upon myself on a few occasions to make the race a bit more and a bit more faster. Generally, there is a pretty even mix of dirt sections and paved sections, but this year, there seemed to a whole more dirt sections. I don't know the numbers, but I'd guess it about 70/30 in favour of dirt. This would make a cyclocross bike the logical choice of weaponry, but there had a bit of rain the night before, but since the spring has been so dry, most of that was absorbed into the road and this left the road just a bit damp and not muddy or tacky and believe a road bike with straight up road tires was the way to go. Thankfully, that's what I was riding!!! I started off feeling quite good. There were a few sections where the group split into 4 or 5 and I found myself in the back and had to work my way up through the different bunches. It was then I knew that I was on a pretty good day as I was just cruising up through the groups and crossing the gaps quite easily. The real show began when the only significant hill appeared. I had been led to believe that the will was booted from the course this year which seemed like kind of a bummer. This is where I like to really have a go. So, I was lollygagging near the rear of the lead group of about 40 when we made the right-hander to the hill! I was like "oh man!!". On the hill itself, I was totally blocked in and just had to ride up the pace of other as there was nowhere to go. We crested the top and the whole group was all strung out on the double track ATV trail. I just popped it into a nice large gear and gave 'er. I passed a whole wack of riders and exited this stretch right up with the leaders. I looked around and all the riders that were being watched at the race faves were all there. Then Craig Hawkes launched an attack on the paved section. I waited, looked around, then rolled off the front in pursuit. I was joined right away with Marc Boudreau from RWR and then Doug Van Den Ham from the Specialized team joined us. We slowly reeled in Craig just as John Fee from the Cyclery made contact with us. The 5 of us rolled really really well and put a large gap in between us and the bunch. We hit the final dirt stretch that was about 10k or so and continued all the way home. Fee was popped early as we grinded our way along this tough, slow, stretch of road. With about 4k to go, we came up the last obstacle, Hawkes and Boudreau led into the ATV trail which is a whole lot of fun as you have roots, rocks, ATV's, carcasses and holes to weave through. I followed them but was back a few bikes lengths. Both those guys are great cyclocross riders so they pulled a little bit ahead of me and were about 10seconds to the good as we exited the forest. Doug was just back a bit of me, and we slowly clawed our way back to the leaders, but just couldn't do it. I dropped Doug and began thinking I was happy with 3rd place. Then, I heard the sound of a locomotive coming from behind, which was weird, because I didn't recall seeing any tracks. Then, it became quite clear what it was as in a blur, comes Osmond Bakker (I'm going to call him Oxmond from now on) comes storming past me with about 1k to go. The catches the 2 leader in the last corner and blows past them to take the win.
|Andrew Kruger||79th||Senior I/II|
|Ian Fraser||80th||Senior I/II|
|Alistair Scott||81st||Senior I/II|
|Paul Chedore||92nd||Senior I/II|