Good Friday Road Race 2017
Kicking off the Season at the Good Friday Road Race
After months of winter training, it was finally time to pin a number on again and kick off the racing season at the Good Friday Road Race. The traditional kick off to the season, racers were thankfully greeted by perfect weather for spring racing on the flat, fast course around the Ancaster Fairgrounds. A new season, a new beginning? Or the same old story?
We start this Good Friday Road Race report the night before with a big “oopsies.” On our way to Hamilton, I realized that I had forgotten my cycling shoes under my work bench at the bike shop. A massive “oh, shit” moment compounded by the fact that we were on a schedule to get to Hamilton and couldn’t just turn around. I also had forgotten my shop keys so heading back to Barrie later was not an option.
The only solution to remedy the situation and still take to the start line of the Good Friday Road Race was to pay a visit to one of the local shops and find a new pair of shoes. Luckily the guys at Neworld in Burlington were able to help me out and get me geared up for the race with a sweet pair of new shoes. But now I was going to have to partake in a big racer no-no, “never use new equipment for the first time on race day.” But I had no other choice.
I had been feeling good in training leading up to the Good Friday Road Race but if experience has taught my anything managing expectations is very important. As images of me crossing the finish line with my arms in the air after soloing to victory kept popping in my mind, it was important to keep my expectations low in order to avoid massive disappointment. I was able to remind myself that this race was just about training and I have big fish to fry later this season meaning the result didn’t matter.
Now we finally reach race day. I am curious how a race would go if I had a good night’s sleep the night before. Sleeping on an air mattress at my sister-in-law’s certainly didn’t help nor does all the early start for Elite 4 races. Thankfully the weather on race morning was good, a little chilly as I stood on the start line shivering surrounded by 60 other riders. A great turnout for an early season race.
Some how I ended up on the vary front row. I guess with a neutral roll out no one was really interested to be on the front. But that didn’t last long and would be the only time I would see the front of the race all day. And the season got underway with a “neutral” roll out. The sprint to get on the bumper of the lead car is far from easy going and really gets the legs opened.
I figured I would do this race report for the Good Friday Road Race a little differently than my previous race reports and this time do a power file analysis of the race.
I spent the first lap riding in the pack which is identifiable by the numerous peaks and valleys in my power as the pack slowed down and sped up. Tail gunning can have that affect, having to break in response to those in front of you slowing down and sprinting to get catch back up. What should have been an easy ride in the peloton turned out tougher than I would have wanted due to poor positioning.
As we completed the first lap and headed through the fairgrounds a number of smart and ballsy riders pushed the pace through the sketchy gravel corners, stretching out the pack and creating gaps as the more tentative riders cautiously navigated the corners. Since I was positioned towards the back of the peloton, I quickly saw the race getting away from me.In order to try to close the gaps that were opening, I had to sprint at over 700 watts out of each corner before settling into a more steady effort on the straight roads. Every time I closed a gap and thought I was getting back to the peloton, the group I was catching would drift back making it a very tiring game of leap frog.
For the next 8 minutes I pushed the pace, dragging some riders with me and working with others, trying in hopeless desperation to not get dropped from yet another race. I averaged 258 watts and 178 beats per minute as I took turns trying to pull us back. Unfortunately our efforts were in vain and probably just served to burn all our matches.
Eventually our small chase group of 4 accepted our fate and settled in for a long day of riding off the back. Luckily Bike Zone was well represented with myself and two members of the Kurzawinski Coach – Bike Zone team and another we picked up later. The fifth member of our group was a Midweek rider.
We worked together well, rotating through our pace line and sharing the work load. We covered the final two laps in under 55 minutes with the main pack slowly pulling away from us. I emptied my legs as part of the effort figuring it would be good training and had nothing left when my chase partners decided to still sprint in the finish. I just sat up and let the M3 race go by me rather than running interference in the final corner. They really caught us at an inconvenient time.
In the end I finished 37th, 9 minutes and 38 seconds behind the race winner. Its better than last and much better than DNF, and a whole lot better than DNS. Overall, the race was a hard effort as you can see from the final numbers. An intensity factor of 0.95 makes for some hard work and a big dose of TSS which will serve as good training for the season ahead.
Its just frustrating that its the same old mistakes and the same old results as last year. I really thought I had made a break through with my performance at the London Crit at the end of last season but it looks like I have regressed tactically. My inability to ride near the front cost me one again. With the yellow line rule in effect and 60 other riders, it is difficult to find space to move up through the pack. I just need to be brave enough to bang elbows to fight for space.
Now I have lots of time to train and dwell on my mistakes before taking to the start line again. Due to other commitments it looks like I wont be racing again until June and the Provincial Championships. Hopefully I will be able to get some race practice in at the the Midweek crit once the early race starts up. Until than, its just club rides and solo training sessions for me.