This was my first time at Tour de Waterloo and it won’t be my last – well organized, top-notch lunch, and scenic route. It was a hot and humid day, but at least it stayed dry. The forecasted thunderstorm never showed.
I was decked out in the full GranFondo Niagara Falls kit for the first time. Riders came up to me to inquire about the event before the race, at the start line, and even during the race. Thanks for making me feel like a celebrity!
At the get-go, I already messed up when I thought the actual race started after the 5km neutral rollout and took it easy to reserve my tank. When I approached 5km, there were no signs of any timing mats. My bad, the race started back at the start. Time to pick it up!!
I was initially with a large group which scattered after 8km and I was tagging 1-2 people. We weren’t drafting off each other, just minding our own business. I saw a large group at a distance but couldn’t bridge the gap and they eventually disappeared out of sight.
Finally at 25km, I tagged a small group and easily caught the large group ahead within 3km. So quick and easy!! I initially settled in the back, then sped up, became trapped in the middle of the pack, and totally enjoying every minute of it. The fun somehow ended at 35km when we scattered at the rest stop even though most of us didn’t stop, followed by the route split between 70km and 130km.
We were down to a 5 rider group ….. then 2. At 45km, I was alone. 10km later, there were no riders in sight around me and I thought I went the wrong way for a split second. At 57km, I found some riders but they were only there for moral support, not drafting. It was also from here onwards where I found the route most challenging: False flats, uphill, false flats …. never ending, under slight headwind, and hardly any downhills for recovery. A train of riders past by and offered me an invite “Come join our train!”, I pedaled to no avail and watched the gap increase. During the last 5km, I tried catching up to a guy who also got dropped from the group. We were going at similar pace and the gap stayed constant. At the final 1 km, I kept looking behind me to make sure no one was trailing close-by, I couldn’t let any more riders past me now. I was clear. I could see the finish ….. push, push …. Done! 2:33:09 – my fastest race pace.
Lunch was delicious – pulled pork, butter chicken, salad, cookies, and assortment of fruits. This was followed by watching friend Garry take his 1st place win and my AG ladies on podium, who beat me fair and square.
…. And then spectating the 130km-ers crossing the finish.
This was a bittersweet race. It ended my busy June schedule on a spectacular note, but it won’t be for a while until my next event, possibly September. The waiting game begins …..