KW Classic 2016
KW Classic Race Report: DFL is better than DNF
Its amazing how quickly a race can go from good to bad. This past Sunday at the KW Classic, all it took was a short sequence of events for me to go from riding confidently in the group to an all too familiar situation.
The race started well. I remained in contact with the group up the climb and rode comfortably in the pack for the first lap. I was feeling confident about my chances of ending my streak of DNFs and even dreamed of a mid pack finish. I felt good after the Grey County TT and had been riding well on the fast club ride. For once confidence was high and I was managing my expectations.And then in a few short moments, my whole race changed. I was riding comfortably in the middle of the pack but did not anticipate the final corner of the lap. I was over geared and found myself slipping to the back of the group as I tried to get on top of the gear.
Thankfully I remained in contact with the group and was moving back up through the group into the next corner. It had been raining in the morning which meant the roads were wet. As I rounded the corner off the start/finish straight, I went over a wet manhole cover (or other metal bit in the road) and lost traction in my front wheel for a second. Luckily I kept my bike up right but the damage was done.
I was truly off the back now and as we approached the climb I didn’t have a chance to get back on. And there was that all too familiar feeling of being dropped. I felt good, and although the climb was tough, I thought I could stay with the group for most, if not all, of the race.
The climb was tough but my survival strategy was twofold:
- position myself near the front of the group leading in so that I would have a longer way to fall back before being off the back
- go hard on the climb just to stay in contact and then recover in the wheels the rest of the lap
This story might sound familiar. I get dropped from the group and then shortly there after pulled from the race. Thankfully this time the story has a much different ended.At the same moment I was dropped so was another rider, Mark from Waterloo Cycling Club. Mark was a great riding partner to have for the remaining 50km and we shared the work. I feel like I would have quit if it was not for having Mark’s company and in the end we both finished the KW Classic. Even though we were over 16 minutes down on the pack, last place is better than DNF.
I am really glad I finished. I was saying to myself that if I got pulled from this race, that would be it. I would quit bike racing, the KW Classic would my last road race, because it just wasn’t fun. But after finishing a race I feel much better and with a break before the next bunch of races I will be ready to continue growing.