Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Old men.....grand prixs....

A narration of events which may (or may not) have occured this past weekend at the return (after a 1 year absence) of the OBC Gatineau Park Grand Prix from the perspective of old corneas and glaucoma (or heat) affected eyeballs.

Team Tall Tree showed up in numbers to make a statement, 7 in 30-39 with 3 more in 40-49 (MB). Master B comprised of myself, Big BMX Jim McGuire and Dave Ironmanchine Stachon. I had not ridden much with these guys this year (or much at all here in O-town for that matter) due to an excessive amount of travel for work and personal. But I did know that Dave is primed with his methodical (and perhaps stealthy) training regimen and has an engine that can roll with the best of them...he would be our best best in a break. Jim I had heard from the grapevine was also super strong and is a powerhouse....our best bet in a sprint. Me....well pretty much all my riding this year has been long stuff so I had little expectations and a goal of just surviving with the pack and helping Jim or Dave if possible. I've managed survival 2 times in the past 4 attempts (one each in MA and MB).

Right off the hop the pace was solid but not crazy. On the first Fortune climb I was about 10 m back of the front 25 guys right at the top. I thought "shit - I might be time trialing 84 k" ! Not a thought I relished. After about 2 minutes of work on the flatish sections of fortune I managed to snag back on (barely). Jim and Dave were well positioned. Nothing too out of the ordinary for the rest of the lap (that my heat and exercise addled brain remembers anyway), and I was happy to make it through lap one with about 45 of my closest friends (about half the starting field). First and second group up Fortune had rejoined somewhere on Blacks I think but there was lots of carnage on the first climb including some very strong riders.

Second climb up I was a bit smarter and started near the front....but still by the top my grip was loosening. Luckily there were some others in the same boat and some that must have just gotten caught in bad position as a medium size train pulled by locomotive Hans Loeffelholz caught back on to the main group. Somewhere on this lap David Gaszi took off on a break and I think had someone with him but no one had any desire to chase at this point.

I kept up closer to the front near Jim and at one point on the Kingsmere climb I thought Jim was going to miss the wheel of a guy speeding up in front of him so I gave him a little push from behind. STUPID mistake. I should have remembered my grade 11 physics....F=MxA....and "every action has an equal and opposite reaction". Jim weighs just a tad more than I and for the 2 inches I probably pushed him forward I recoiled and wobbled eliciting some yells from behind. I apologized profusely but I guess it was not too serious a danger factor as a few guys gave me a pat and a "nice save" as they went by. Whew...... So another lap down and another good bottle handoff by my buddy Jason visiting from the Peg. Pascal and Glenn were taking care of Jim and Dave (as well as all the MA guys).

Third time is a charm (so to speak) and my anticipated shelling finally happened near the top of fortune. Just had no gas or strength to plow through another 27 KPH climb of that stretch ! I was however surprised to see some strong dudes behind be here also popped, the likes of Chris Olsen, Rob Orange, Duane Smith; and Jim was just up ahead. There ended up being about 10-11 of us 30 seconds back of the peleton. Robbie O barked orders at us to try and work together but we were a bit disjointed and at least half of us were likely not from the area. For much of that lap there were only 5 maybe 6 of us working after we did settle into a kind of groove. Coming into the start of the fourth lap we found out that we were 1 minute back...that was it...no hope and we dialed it back a degree. We got caught by the 50+ (MC group) who had just started halfway up Fortune this time. We let them ride through although Duane and another guy jumped in with that group and took off. The rest of us dangled 20 m back of a group of about 10-12 straggler MC guys. Finally on the lac bourgoise climb after the intersection Jim decided these guys were too slow and we pulled through dragging about 5 guys with us. Robbie O was not one of them. On the last Black's climb I had a moderately bad cramp and let out a little yell. Jim coaxed me to spin through it and I managed to maintain. Shortly after that Jim had some cramping as well. There were a couple of the MC guys that stayed with us for much of the rest of the lap, but I think we got rid of them at the top of Penguin. On the climb prior to the P5 descent Jim (who had been working pretty hard) was back with most of our little group while I had jumped up to cover a (pseudo) break by Olsen and another guy. I kept looking back for Jim as I had been asking if he still felt he could take the sprint for our group...he was unsure each time I asked. Finally Jim did bridge up to us while descending Penguin to P8, and dragged a couple others along with him. After the final pass throught the feedzone a couple guys tried to go and Jim and I tried to follow but we were both gassed...then in the rollers somehow we and a couple more caught up again ....I guess they were gassed too. So it was a sprint of about 6 of us, I tried to give Jim a bit of a lead but that fell apart faster than a Hintonburger with extra sauce ! Turned out that Gaszi got caught after a lap or so away and it came down to a bunch sprint. Dave managed 8th in MB. Our little group was 5 minutes back of the winner and Jim took second in our mini-shootout. Duane and the other guy who had hitched into the MC race were a minute or so ahead of us.

All in all it was fun but ridiculously hard - hot but not too humid and enough shade that the sun was not a major factor between 8-10 am. I enjoyed riding with Jim and having a teammate there to push each other or help out, or stategize or just talk was a significant enhancement of the experience.

Next up for this old guy.....Muskoka Grind Off-road triathlon.

No comments: