June 20, 2011 (Ottawa, ON) – To pack up and drive 4+ hours on the “day of” for a 75-min race is a little silly in my books but there is one race and only one race that I’m willing to do that for. The Preston St. Bike Race in Ottawa is well worth the drive. This race has a long history and the organization of the event is top notch. I love it for a lot of reasons, but it didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect and that meant the crowd was out in full force in Ottawa’s “little Italy”. (love the crowd too!)
There were four guys from the Jet Fuel/La Bicicletta squad who made the trek from T.O. to meet up with two guys on our team who live in Ottawa. Osmond Bakker and Matteo Del Cin were of course the home-town favourites and without ruining the entire report let’s just say they didn’t disappoint!
Our team had a plan to be aggressive and hurt the field from the gun. The idea was to attack when we had every one hurting a little bit. We all agreed this race would be won with a break away. The best way to get a break away established is to get off the front when everyone is in distress. Osmond made things distressful from the gun. The crappy part was he put me into the pain cave right away too. We did the shake and bake a few times in the early laps to string out the field but in no way did I do my intended share as Osmond rode like a man possessed. It was a sight to be seen watching him cover and counter move after move.
We raced aggressively as we intended and had some of the pre-race favourites riding very conservatively and maybe even a little scared. A break got away with my team mates Dave Byer and Osmond plus a couple of fast guys (6) including Derrick St. John from Ride With Rendall.
As they got away with a solid gap I knew I had to get across. A Rendall rider tried to cross the gap and when he faded I jumped him and TT-jetted across. I rolled up the break a bit winded but it didn’t take long to recover and make it to the front to keep the move going. Dave, Osmond and I rotated on the front with the odd pull here and there from the other five guys in tow. I wasn’t worried about the guys that were sitting in just yet, as it was more important to get a real gap and with three team members in the move we had a great power position.
The gap grew and grew and we were now a solid 20+ seconds on the chasing pack. We stayed away right until about 5 minutes to go and that’s when things got really fun. A few riders from the group attacked hard and things got wild. As the sign for 5-to-go went up there had already been a few moves and accelerations but on that lap there was a little lull. Matteo took advantage of this slow down and launched off the front.
With most of the group happy to rest for a few seconds and watch each other Matteo settled in to a rhythm a just rode away. A few attacks and counter attacks went right away but with everyone jumping and following wheels everything was quickly shut down and our boy stayed up the road. Osmond and I were controlling the front and with three to go I yelled to him to let him know I had his wheel.
The group piked things up in a big way and the corners were now getting dicey and people were taking chances they shouldn’t have been taking. We didn’t have to do anything other than fight for position and Osmond made sure I was right where I needed to be. With Matteo up the road it was up to someone else to make things happen and they had to do this knowing Os and I were coming along for the ride. On the bell lap the pace was incredible and riders were diving in all of the corners. I bumped and fought for position harder than at any other race all year.
As we rounded the second last corner I saw Matteo ahead accelerating out of the final corner. Then BOOM!! Big crash to my left as I rounded the last corner as well and I’m 4th wheel. The two riders in front of me took it way to fast and slid into the curb almost causing me to go with them.
I slowed to manoeuvre inside them and then cranked it up out of the corner with everything I had while I took one quick glance up the road to see the awesome sight of Matteo peeking back and slowing to soak up his huge win. I crossed the line pushing out my bike to try and get Eric Lyman at the line for second. It’s close…real close but I get third by a inch.
This was our best race as a team all season and it is the perfect way to go into the Road Nationals later this week.
Full results HERE.
Stayed tuned for a 2011 Road Nationals TT report.