Centurion Ontario at Horseshoe Valley this year marked my first ever race under nonstop rain. We arrived the day before on Saturday under sunny skies, hard to believe the next day would become miserable so drastically.
Saturday was relaxing, arriving at Horseshoe Resort just in time for race packet pickup with 10min to spare. After resolving a mix-up with Sportstats registering me as Lo Cherry, I scored myself a sweet deal on 2 new Garneau bottle cages at the Expo! The evening was spent chilling at the InVita party – fun crowd, delicious food, and tasty Italian drinks. Very merry times!
SUNDAY (Race Day C100K)
I woke up to a torrential downpour. Many riders were huddled inside the Horseshoe Resort building until the corral staging. I waited until the last minute and ended up at the back.
The race started and we climbed up the 1.7km neutral rollout hill up Horseshoe Valley Rd to the timing mats at the top.
The first 45km was either in rain or in a downpour. I could barely see the road ahead, squinting through my fogged up sunglasses with the rain stinging in my eyes. I nearly hit a chipmunk but swerved just in time. The downhills were terrifying with low visibility and I always took a wider turn to avoid wiping out. I went too wide once into the oncoming traffic and a car stopped for me. Then the OPP’s forced us into one lane without advance notice at the bottom of a hairpin downhill. I hit the brakes hard to avoid hitting the rider in front of me and nearly laughed out loud when the OPP told us, “Slow down gradually, don’t brake suddenly!!” Uhh, how about a collision?
I didn’t care about my performance on KOM. The rain was depleting my energy and I needed to reserve some for the rest of the ride. I kept spinning and on the 2nd KOM section, repeated “Whatever you do, don’t look up“. It was an immediate effect – as I envisioned my pedal strokes, my upstrokes got stronger, and I passed at least 3 riders. KOM results were worst than last year as expected by 48sec. At the top, I was hunched on the bike breathing hard while pedaling. No matter how much oxygen I took in, my lungs would oddly reject it.
There weren’t much group choices, everyone seemed to be minding their own business. Finally at 50k, I found a couple of riders to latch on. I didn’t enjoy drinking all the water from their wheels and gave up. After that, I was all alone again. Nonetheless, the first 55k went well, comprising mainly of short rollers and only a few long climbs, averaging over 27kph.
The remaining route was tough with mostly long climbs, going at a humble 9kph uphill. The rain was on and off at this point. False flats haunted me from 85km onwards until the finish. The finish line was relocated to the top of a hill, cutting the distance down to 95km. It was THE most pathetic attempt of “sprinting” to the finish!! Graham Fraser (founder of Centurion Cycling) later told us it was relocated last minute due to wet conditions to prevent riders from sprinting at full speed on a flat.
Glad the race was over. Drenched from head to toe, I changed and headed to a nice lunch and the awards ceremony.
One of the best things about being female is there aren’t many riders in my category …. Sweet!
Thanks to the OPPs and volunteers for standing out in the rain suffering with us.