Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Classics!

Spring has sprung, and racing in Ontario kicked off on Good Friday in Toronto, where our very own Todd Fairhead flew the colours, finishing in the field sprint. On Easter Sunday, while many of us were watching Paris-Roubaix unfold, Tanya Hanham (Ottawa) and Tim Carleton (Toronto) represented Tall Tree Cycles at the Hell of the North. Tim finished an impressive 14th in a strong field. Full results are not up yet, so I don't know where Tanya landed.

Things ramp up from here. This coming weekend, a small team of Tall Tree Riders heads to Upstate New York for the Tour of the Battenkill. Jim, Todd, Iain, and I will race in the Master 30-39 field, taking on a hilly 100km route with a slew of dirt road sectors in the mix. Todd and I have raced Battenkill before, but it'll be the first time for Iain and Jim. I think we'll all be impressed by the immensity of the race, as it has grown significantly each year since its inception. For this race we'll be on road tires, 25, maybe 27c.

Heading straight back to Ottawa on Saturday night, we'll be swapping to fat tires to hit the Clarence-Rockland Classic on Sunday morning. Recon has revealed some rough gravel, so we'll go with more volume. It'll be a tough race, but we're looking forward to it! Plus, Tim Carleton will be in full effect, filling out our Green Blob!

Next up is the Calabogie Road Classic on Sunday, April 22. We'll have a handful of riders out for this one, held on the auto race track in Calabogie.

Finally, rounding out April, is the Paris-Roubaix run from Almonte on Sunday, April 29th (registration info now up, read carefully). Now, while its true this cyclo-sportif's course bears no resemblance to the real Hell of the North, it was inspired by the epic race in France, and the name continues to inspire riders to brave often harsh weather each April to take on a roller coaster over dirt roads and forest tracks, thrown in to keep things truly interesting. It is no secret that this event is the favoured be many of us flying the green garb. Its blend of difficult terrain makes for both an interesting and challenging ride, affording the opportunity to utilize offroad skills at key points in the route. Its exciting. A bunch of us first tried the event on fixed gear road bikes, and loved it, so if you are considering giving it a go, do it! Put on some voluminous tires and jump in! There will be lots of riders out for a group ride pace, so don't assume you'll ride solo if you'r not in top shape.

Update: I forgot the Wheelers' Mufferaw Joe, on Sunday, May 6...sorry! Wedged right between the Roubaix and the Ride of the Damned, there's lots of gravel on tap! This event always features great food afterwards a nice long ride out around Quyon, so be sure to attend!

So, after the Roubaix and Mufferaw Joe, we'll jump into our Ride of the Damned on Sunday, May 13th. See this post for more info, and hit this link to register. I'll be setting the new Strava Challenge sections soon, so keep an eye out for that if you are interested in competing for the Dirt Monster crown.  If possible, we'll also afford the option for riders to ride a portion of the route from Wakefield. I can't promise, as there are logistics to cover, but I will try to make this possible. Stay tuned. 

After the RotD I head to NYC for Gran Fondo New York, my first Gran Fondo. The event is huge, and will take me to a city I've never visited, so its all very exciting. After that, us Ottawa folks will get to take a crack at Ride with Rendall's new stage race, June 1-3, the Mississippi Grand Prix! Details are still under development, but we can't wait to have the chance to do a stage race close to home. Amidst all this road racing, our wagon wheel wielding MTB racers will be ripping it up in Ontario and Quebec starting with Mansfield at the end of April. Before long, we'll be at Camp Fortune every other Wednesday night for mtb racing on an improved course!

One last mention goes to Ottawa's innaugural gran fondo....GranFondo Ottawa, July 21! Three distances are on offer, 100k, 170k, and 220k, posing opportunities for cyclists of many stripes to take in a tour of the region west of town. I'll be doing the 220k route with at least a few other TTC riders, while we'll have a few more doing the 170k. I hope the event goes well, its a treat to have big events being thrown in town, rounding out a great season of cycling events. Naturally, we'll be hosting our Hell Climb in the summer too, so get your costume ready!

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