2012 Tour de Hans

PROST!! The 3rd annual Tour de Hans (Sept 29, 2012) is BIGGER & better  – doubled in riders, pleasant weather, & held at a new venue (Bingemans KOOL Haus Tent).  A cycling race as part of the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest!  It’s by far one of the best organized ride this season; not to mention, the STINKIEST!!

Kudos to all the OPP at every intersections for stopping cars in all directions.  I didn’t stop once!!! And to all the enthusiastic volunteers for cheering us along the route.  Well done guys!!! 😀

Riders getting ready in the parking lot
He’s lovable, he’s orange, he’s Onkel Hans!! Mascot of Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.
Listening to the Pre-ride announcements … rules, info, safety

All riders gathered in the KOOL Haus Tent to line up at their respective pace category.  I lined up in the 25-29km/hr line.  After the national anthem, we were sent off in descending pace time.

Lining up at our pace category

Neutral Rollout. There was a 5km neutral start before hitting the timing mats – a nice warmup before the race.  At 4km, a volunteer yelled, “You’re doing great!!” on the sidelines.  I laughingly said “the race hasn’t even started!!” to the rider beside me.

5km. I crossed the timing mats, picked up my pace, & chased down a large group ahead.  Little did I know, it was the most amateur peloton I’ve ever ridden with.  Whoever led the peloton couldn’t maintain pace.  So frustrating!  We’d be going at 31-32km/hr, then suddenly slowing down to 22km/hr & even 18km/hr.  I’d then pass the entire group to maintain my >30km/hr pace.  After a few minutes, the whole group would pass me again & eventually slow down to unbearable pace.  This constantly repeated for the 1st 20km.  UGH!  The riders were also not holding their line.  They cut in front of me, forcing me to brake & overlap their wheels.  They also steered sideways to pass riders without acknowledging my existence beside them.  One time, I had to swerve left to the oncoming traffic to get out of the way …. & he was STILL oblivious!!

20km. Their behaviour somehow changed & I was in harmony with them.  We skipped the 1st rest stop at 25km & continued flying through the course.

33km.  Just when I started liking the group, the course split between 50km & 100km riders.  It turned out they were mostly 50km-ers.  They made their left turn, leaving 3 of us (including me) to fend for ourselves.  We all expressed our loss out loud.  I immediately felt the difference in effort without drafting.  We took turns pulling our sad-looking group.  I completely exhausted myself after pulling them for only 5km on false flats.  Thanks guys!!

A waft of foul smell suddenly filled the air.  STINKY!! It smelled like a mixture of manure, toilets, skunk, rotten eggs, barn, & horse poop all combined together to create something almost toxic-like.  This smell kept reoccurring throughout the ride.  Whenever I saw soiled farmlands, this concocted nightmare ensued.  To make matters worse, this usually happened up a hill when I was gasping for breath.  Oh Waterloo, your manure stinks!!

1 guy in our group noticed my drift in pace & pulled ahead.  The “sad-looking” group now became the “sadder-looking” group with only 2 of us!!  But he eventually reached an intersection, turned the wrong way, & was never seen again.  I hope he made it back ok?!   I pulled some more before losing steam.  The last remaining guy passed me & shot ahead a couple bike lengths away.  I pushed but couldn’t bridge the gap between us.  I was on my own now!!  Why was I so tired when the race wasn’t even half-way done? 

Weird things started happening as I approached the mid-way mark.  Weird because I was passing riders – either I got faster or they got slower.  Probably the latter!  I finally bridged the gap & passed him.  Shortly after, I passed another rider on a hill – he didn’t even know what hit him as I saw him stare me down from my peripheral vision!!

50km.  Full of motivation, I skipped the 2nd rest stop but I hit the wall.  No wonder I was so tired earlier!!  Self Note: Stop waiting until starvation to eat!!  I whipped out an energy bar & inhaled it on the go.  A few seconds later, the energy kicked in.  I checked the gap behind me.  Looking good!!  

75km. I skipped the 3rd & final rest stop.  It was crunch time!

80km.  I stopped for the 1st time to reposition my water bottles (I couldn’t reach the bottle at the back).  Literally 5sec later, I was off.  While coasting downhill, I chowed down on a protein bar as I was bonking again.

90km.  The count down signs along the route were motivating.  10km to Finish …8km….6km….

99km.  I could see the finish line.  I sprinted with all the energy I could muster.  All my focus was on my quads & pedal strokes.  I didn’t care I was cycling in the middle of an “unclosed” road with a car behind me.  I even went over a pothole.  Bike was ok!!  All I cared about was my time …. SPRINT SPRINT SPRINT!!

100km.  Crossed the finish under 3.5hrs.  My PB.  A volunteer was yelling what I thought was “Go Go Go“.  I found out later from a rider, he was actually yelling “Chip Chip Chip”.  Oops!!  I was supposed to stop to let him cut my chip off!!  Oh well, an abrupt stop at 33km/hr was dangerous anyway!!

28.6km/hr avg, but the 100km included 5km neutral rollout which wasn’t timed! (True pace ~27.2km/hr)

Neutral Rollout.  A LONG 5km back to the KOOL Haus Tent.  Race was done, all I thought about was my Oktoberfest lunch & beer! 🙂 A rider beside me said, “This is mean!!” as we made our journey back at sloth pace.  I totally agree!!

LUNCH: Schnitzel with sauerkraut in a bun + Traditional Ale

The Tent was filled with Oktoberfest spirit.  3-time Olympic medal winner, Marnie McBean, was in the house!!  (She also raced the 100km!).  Lunch was tasty & authentic, followed by the ceremonial Keg Tapping!!  Yep, I was double-fisting it!!! 😀  Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi!!! 😀

Marnie waiting for the crowd to get rowdy!
Keg Tapping – hit it with that mallet!!!
It’s tapped! Mops are ready!
Lining up for beer from the tap
Race awards ceremony

A terrific end to the season – my last organized ride & race!!  I thoroughly enjoyed myself even with my low ranking.  I know I pushed myself & that was what mattered most to me!!  😀

8 thoughts on “2012 Tour de Hans

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  1. Found your site when I was looking for photos for my blog… I just uploaded my account of this race. Trying to document my journey as a midlife crisis racer. According to Sports Stats,251 men 0 women… you sure proved them wrong : ) This was a great race to finish the year! Keep on riding girl!

    1. I know – I noticed that too!! Pretty funny. I loved this race – barely any hills unlike the Centurion series but can really hit some good speeds on this one!

  2. Interesting…I grew up in K-W and know Oktoberfest…from high school. I joked to my partner, he should do the ride….his first German name is Hans…

      1. 🙂 Life is full of incredible coincidences: after I moved to Toronto, to find work after university….years later I met my partner in T.O. We have cycled in his birthplace region of southern Germany in the famed wine region and near the French border. It was him who reintroduced me back into cycling. I was 32 yrs. at that time…and now 22 yrs. later…I still love cycling. I am car-free –last 30 yrs.

        **coincidentally, I did work for a German engineering firm for a stint in Vancouver.

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