Centurion Ontario made its debut at Horseshoe Valley this year. My C100k race wasn’t until Sunday. But with races throughout the weekend, I arrived no later than 6am on Saturday. That means waking up at 4am! After an exhausting week at work, that was the last thing I wanted. For once, I didn’t get any “pre-cycling” excitement when I woke up. But rather, “Why do I do this to myself??”
DAY 1: Sat. July 14, 2012
The 1st race was the C25k at 7:30AM. With a bit of headache from lack of sleep, I watched the riders take off. The fastest rider finished in 42min!!
There was a gap until the next event. Perfect time to check out the Centurion Expo & check into the hotel at the Horseshoe Resort.
The next event was Hell in the Horseshoe at 2PM – a hill climb criterium consisting of 12 hills within 30km. The riders climbed up a hill on the East side of Horseshoe Valley Rd, U-turned, descended, climbed up the hill on the West side, U-turned, & descended. Repeat 6 times! I watched the entire race, standing at the top of the East hill & cheering for the riders as they exhausted themselves. The fastest rider reached a maximum speed of 83km on the descent!!!
DAY 2: Sun. July 15, 2012 (ROUTE MAP)
Race day!! I did a short (really short!!) warmup before waiting at the designated corral for the 8am start.
7min to go. The official camera man suddenly stuck his camera in front of my face (literally a few millimeters away) & interviewed me. Boy was I thick!! I was tired & my brain wasn’t functioning. I gave him 1 sentence answers (I hope they were full sentences?). Please trash those clips, no one needs to see them!!
2min to go. My chains slipped out of the sprocket when I back-pedaled. Great start!
2km Neutral Rollout. For safety reasons, the official timing started after riders turned onto Horseshoe Valley Rd & climbed up the East hill (hill from yesterday’s Hell in the Horseshoe). It had a maximum gradient of 11%. My breath was heavy at the top & the race hadn’t even started!!!!!
21.4km. KOM (King/Queen of the Mountain). I messed up! I pushed hard on the 1st hill after riding over the timing mats, passing some riders in the meantime. I relaxed at the top to catch my breath, thinking KOM was over. Apparently there were 2 more hills to go, for a total of 2.2km. Darn!!
I ended up pulling myself from here onwards to the end of the race. Wasted energy!! I wasn’t the only person left behind. My peloton earlier apparently ditched one of their teammates when he went to the washroom. 😆
50km. 2nd rest stop & a much needed banana. My average speed was 27km/hr at that point. Can I keep it up?? Probably not, the last 50km was forewarned as brutal.
75km. 3rd & final rest stop. I went straight through, hoping to gain some grounds while some riders took a break.
The last 20km wasn’t much fun. I had no more steam. My quads felt like bricks & my eyes felt droopy. I was ready for nap time.
90km. I was officially counting down the distance. My body was done. I was worried to see hills at this point. Sure enough, there were still at least 2 more in store.
100km. Panic drowned out all pain when I saw the official timer at the finish. I had to make it under 4 hours – my dignity depended on it!!! I sprinted to the timing mats with whatever juice was left in my bone-dry tank.
My ranking was obviously horrendous, but I am still happy. My goal going into the race was maintaining an average pace of 25km/hr. Done!
2 lessons learned from this weekend:
1) I look like that when cycling?? Stiff shoulders, elbows out, painful facial expressions. I thought I smiled for the camera?? This was the 1st time seeing myself in action. Thanks to the Brightroom Event Photographers, I need to work on my form.
2) I am not that bad at hills!! Surprisingly, the only times I passed riders were on uphills. I spun at high cadence on low gears & counted my upstrokes. Focusing on the ground in front of me, rather than the top of the hill also helped. Too bad I got beaten going downhill – gaining some weight might help the cause!!! I’ll work on that ….