On our way back from visiting family in Nova Scotia we stopped into Victoriaville Quebec for our “A” race of the year. It was a huge weekend of racing with the Canadian National Masters Championship Time Trial, Road Race and Criterium, along with the UCI Worlds GFWC qualifier Time Trial and road races as well. On top of that there were various road and gravel Fondos of various distances.
The town and surrounding area is beautiful with great infrastructure, friendly people and a great atmosphere. We stayed at a small cottage on the Nicolet river which was actually on part of the road race course.
The Time Trial was on Friday and our main target event. It was a rolling “rectangle” of a course with a rough wooden bridge 14km in you had to cross at really high speed and a few technical corners coming back into the city center. The organizers ended up covering the bridge with a 4 foot wide section of rubber mats to help prevent flats but the surface was still very rough
The start and finish area: (Sadly I didn’t have time to get a picture of the start ramp)
We pre-rode the course the day before the race and it was one that suited us well. It was fairly technical in parts and with the predicted wind from the north would require close attention to pacing. We both felt ready and pumped to bury ourselves.
Lorie was off at 2:36pm and I was scheduled to head down the ramp at 2:57pm. She got a clean start and was off.
I put my bike through the final bike check and sat in a paddock and chatted to the other riders. You could tell there were some serious TT’ers here with amazing gear. Several new P5’s, BMC, Canyon TT bikes, top notch bespoke skin suits and helmets. Bruce Bird freshly back from a stage race in France was getting ready to go and there were only a few more riders ahead of me before I hit the ramp.
As I rolled down the ramp and accelerated the 50m meters into the first corner I knew right away I had great legs. I hit the right turn cleanly and then powered down the long cross/tailwind stretch to the first hill and right turn averaging around 48-50kmh and 340 watts for that stretch
There were police at the intersection waving me to the right and I hit that right turn cleanly and accelerated hard back up to speed into a strong cross / headwind. At this point I could see a couple of riders ahead. My goal was to pass my minute man and any stragglers before the bridge so I could have a clean run at it flat out.
I passed one rider about 50 meters before the turn and accelerated hard again to get back up to speed in the head / crosswind. I knew some of the racers would be a little tentative going into the bridge section so I decided to hit it full gas knowing I could gain a little time there and have momentum going up the draggy hill on the other side. I passed the rider before the downhill into the bridge and went flying over the bridge at over 58kmh.
Now I was into the really difficult part of the race. The head / crosswind was very strong, the pavement though newly patched was rough so it took a lot of focus to be able to keep the watts up through this section, stay as aero as possible and avoid the roughest patches. I passed another two riders through this section and had a clean run through the city center.
At this point I had complete tunnel vision…I held power through the downhill to the intersection and went as hard as possible up short punchy rise. From there there was a technical tight right turn (with a sunken manhole cover). I managed to navigate that cleanly and then it was the final sweeping left turn into the finishing straight. I powered through as hard as I possibly could and sprinted to the line with a bike throw at the finish.
After I passed the finish line I realized I had just done my best ever race and that I might have a really good result. It took me about 5 minutes coasting around before I was recovered enough to even speak and another 10 minutes before I felt half human again. I saw Lorie waving and shouting at me to come over and she said “The announcer said you were giving Bruce a run for his money and came in just 20 seconds behind him!” When I heard that I was so pumped. Bruce is a multi-time World Champion and someone I’ve respected for both his time trial and road racing ability for years.
I ended up with the gold and UCI winners jersey for my age category, silver for Nationals (12 seconds behind the winner) and 3rd overall for the UCI qualifier.
Here are the results:
Lorie also had an amazing race. She won her UCI category, finished 3rd overall for women for the UCI Qualifier and 2nd for Nationals as well.
It was an amazing day and we were proud to represent WCC and Faction at this event.