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Centurion Canada - Cycle

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Collingwood, Ontario
Centurion Cycling
12C / 54F
Total Time = 2h 48m 58s
Overall Rank = 258/1214
Age Group = 40-49
Age Group Rank = 95/328
Pre-race routine:

Wake up at 4:30... alarm was set for 5... did my stretches and tried to loosen up the back. Took meds, had breakfast and prepped water bottles, food for the race. Took time to make sure I was fully ready and waited for B. Rode over to the race registration to sign waivers and get our swag. Rode back to the Chalet and put the timing chips and race numbers on bikes and jerseys. Once that was complete it was time for a warm-up.
Event warmup:

Warm-up included a quick spin about 1/3 of the way up Scenic Caves road then race back down to the race sight. That climb was good for loosening up the legs and getting warmed. I made it up to the sweeping bend, then turned around and screamed down, while braking... it was dark and the road surface is not the best. I topped 71 km/h on this descent. We then rode easily back to the start chute and the expo. My friend had an issue with the shifting, the mechanics looked at it and said the pulley was worn. So he had to live with it for the race. We then lined up at the start and waited the 30 min for the start.
  • 2h 48m 58s
  • 86.5 kms
  • 30.72 km/hr

The day started out dark... but dry and the forecast had down graded the wind and rain predictions until after the race... so we were all happy. My friends and I lined up at the front of the racer section, hoping to stay with the lead pack for as long as we could. Unfortunately, the Neutral roll-out is anything but neutral... with people passing on the outsides and jockeying for position very early on. I just stayed in my lane and stayed out of trouble... my goal for today was to race hard, but safely and finish on my bike and not in an ambulance.

So we rolled out with much slowing and speeding up... lots of screaming brakes and voices yelling "SLOWING"... it was a little tense (the 100 miler is much more polite--as those riders know what they are doing). So, when we reached the corner for the end of the neutral, the speed JUMPED significantly and I was well back from the front pack, but knew that I needed to race my race today. So, I got in with a good group and we started the ascent... I probably started a little hard, but quickly brought the effort back down to a manageable level and just maintained. I had people passing me constantly, but many of them I would pass again later on as they faded. About 2/3 of the way up, I dialed it back again as i was over doing it and my legs were howling. So I finished the climb in pretty decent shape and with a good large group.

As we rode along though, I realized these folks weren't all that great at group riding. I did a couple good strong pulls with another strong rider, then we were passed by a group of riders that boxed me in and I was falling back in the peloton where I didn't want to be. So, when the opportunity arose, I got back in to the lead group and stayed there... pulling and trading off with some good guys. No talking was going on, we were just riding hard and steady. Most of the times though, I would fade back on the hills, but always be back in the pack, then as soon as we hit a downhill I would overtake easily. Even on the flats I had more then enough power to pull them back in.

This went on for the first 40 km... then we hit the turn for the lead-in to the KOM climb. We came around the corner and the road has a lovely bike lane, but no-one was riding in it. They were also just cruising easily... much to easy for me... so I crossed over the rumble strip and got in the bike lane. Went down into my TT position and just rode steady. I passed everyone and eventually the group got in behind me and I pulled them to the base of the hill at 38 km/h. I got one thank you from someone as they went by me.. .but I kept the pace steady on the climb, just trying to not lose too many places and not over do it at the start. So about half way up the hill, as I was continuing at my pace and the rest were fading... it happened... the rider right in front of me crashed and i had NO chance to avoid him. I rode into him and his bike, but we were going slow enough that I was able to keep from landing on the ground. I landed on my feet and only suffered a couple minor scrapes on my shin (from pedal?) and a bent back thumbnail. Nothing that required treatment at all. The bike didn't get off unscathed though... the right brake lever broke about 1/3 up from the bottom. It didn't break the mechanism though, and it is still usable.

I waited on the side of the road with the other rider and got him straightened away... chain on, straightened his brake hood... and got underway. His Dura-Ace eletronic shifter wasn't working, but he was riding. So I continued on... to the top of the climb and the rest stop. I pulled over and asked if there was a med person there to clean up the wounds ...but they didn't... so I just sucked it up and rode off again. All told, I lost about 4 minutes on the climb... and about 2-300 spots as people were constantly going past.

Now, I am pissed off /but thankful and just want to ride... so I got back on the road and just started cranking. Shifting wasn't affected, braking wasn't affected, so I was OK and moving again. I rode along the top of the road, passing packs of riders... picking off one after the other... hoping to find some one to ride with. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen as all these riders were way slower then I am... so I would take 10-15 seconds behind any group or single riders that were moving well... or just roar past everyone else.

Just as we were approaching Grey Rd 2 and the headwind climb, I caught up with a small group... and stayed with them all the way up that hill. The group kept losing riders until Ravenna, after which the one (small) rider and I kept going. He enjoyed his time behind me and I did my best to draft off him... then we met a couple of his buddies and were riding together until the last steep section... here my legs said "ENOUGH" and I had to back it off. I creeped over the top and just kept going. I caught them again just as we turned to head back up Grey Rd 19... and the top of the long downhill section. Unfortunately, this is a pretty steep climb and I got dropped again. Then it was a matter of making it over the rollers until we made it to the downhill section. I would bomb down the rollers and do my best to carry speed in to the next hill... I was still passing people here, but not gaining on my little groupetto.

We finally made it up over the top and now I was in heaven.... 6 km of screaming downhill... brand spanking new pavement and a wonderful bike lane. As soon as I crested the hill and started down, I got down into the biggest gear and spun out as quick as I could an went into my crouch. I looked ahead and most of the riders were riding on the road, avoiding the bike lane... so I took the bike lane and just let'r rip. Because of my size, I quickly reached max speed (which I found out afterwards was 81.7 km/h) and just let my momentum carry me down. When ever we hit a little swale or flatter section I would spin hard and keep up the momentum until the next drop off. I was really flying along... and passed my little groupetto easily. I must have passed 60+ people down that hill.... and almost everyone of them I passed, I was riding in the bike lane. (my Strava time on that descent is 67/870... only 20 seconds behind the fastest time)

After coming off the hill, there is a turn about 1 km from the base... and I was gaining fast on another group. I figured that I would be amongst them at the corner so slowed down and came around behind them, instead of trying to pass in the corner. I then stayed with them for about 1 min... but as the rode along the pace kept dropping, so I pulled out and cruised by. This was probably a little early 5 km from the finish, but I needed the space and just rode hard. The group caught me again at the next corner, so I stayed with them until they slowed down too much for my liking. As we rolled over a little hill, I pulled out and went by them all again... then I saw the 1km to go sign and just kept going. I put my head down and gave it my all... through the round-about alone and down the final straight away I roared. I saw another rider ahead and put my sights on him... I just buried myself and passed him just before the line... all the while the group was trying to catch me. I saw them in my mirror just after the round-about getting closer, but in the end they didn't have the legs to catch me. According to Strava, my last km I averaged 37.7 km/h. Good enough for 160/706.

All-in-all, it was a good day... except for the crash... I rode my hardest without killing myself completely. I had a lot of fun on the downhills, I was able to hold my own on the uphills and was strong every where else. If I could have avoided that crash, I would have finished close to the 100... oh well. that's the way the cookie crumbles.
What would you do differently?:

Not crash... ride with a good group... drink more! (I had three bottles of sports drink and only finished two... I should have finished all of them in that time. I also didn't eat anything during the ride... I should have been chewing on something every 20 minutes... when will I learn?)
Post race
Warm down:

walk around... bike back to chalet... shower... eat lunch

What limited your ability to perform faster:

crashing... not enough hill work

Event comments:

Centurion Cycling is a class organization that puts on the BEST Gran Fondo's I've experienced. I highly recommend ANY one joining these events... they are in amazing locations with great support and awesome atmosphere.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-03-24 12:00 AM
02:48:58 | 86.5 kms | 30.72 km/hr
Age Group: 95/328
Overall: 258/1214
Performance: Average
HR was average 124, Max 149. No lap info... just straight out racing.
Wind: Some
Course: Gran Fondo/Race with 3 significant climbs. One climb is timed for KOM bragging rights. First climb is a 6 km climb with an average grade of 5%, second climb 4.1 km with an average grade of 6.7%, last climb is 6 km with avg grade of 4% (but it was into the wind -- ugh). The course headed out with a helping crosswind... not that you felt it with the first climb coming after the 5 km neutral roll out. The second climb was tailwind as well, but that is so steep it doesn't matter... except for the lead-in to the hill. The descent down the first hill was AMAZING... brand new pavement and 6 km of downhill.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %1
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2013-09-16 5:57 PM

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Subject: Centurion Canada

2013-09-16 6:10 PM
in reply to: #4857078

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over the rainbow
Subject: RE: Centurion Canada
Awesome ride!!  Well managed throughout and you regrouped quickly after that crash.  Glad for no serious injuries!!
2013-09-17 8:21 AM
in reply to: QueenZipp

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2013-09-17 10:00 AM
in reply to: #4857078

Subject: RE: Centurion Canada
Wow! Sounds like an awesome (and CHALLENGING) race! An excellent report to read too... Well done on all fronts!
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