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Veal Report – Preston St. Criterium

by pedalmag.com
June 21, 2012 (Ottawa, ON) – The dream season. I have had a vision of how I have wanted things for quite some time.  Right from the start racing on my first team senior 1-2 team I knew what I liked in the sport and things I wanted to change.  Running my own team now I have the opportunity to do things the way I enjoy and the experience has been full of ups and downs.

The truth is it has been harder than I thought. Being a team sponsor, director sportif, and a racer on the team as well as trying to run a coaching business has me pulled in a lot of different directions and it can be pretty tough wearing so many hats.  I feel many times that I have taken on too much and wonder which role needs to go and be filled by someone else.

Getting this report out is often too much for me as of late.  Even with all the team’s success the last few weeks I haven’t been able to find the time to write about it. What I’m trying to get across is that I deal with everything we all deal with – it’s called life. The guy lining up beside me deals with as much or more than I do and the guy to the other side of me might deal with even more than him,  I’m fortunate enough to know this and I have surrounded myself with a few guys who deal with life better than most.

The ups and downs of chasing the dream season and keeping your business and family life a float is enough to break you and needs constant work. I have broken a few team mates over the last few years trying to get the best out of them.  If they aren’t willing to give everything they have with the limited time they have, I’m not willing to bite my tongue and keep my feelings about it to myself.  I have had a few of these talks with Ken Ng. Not so much about him being a hard worker but more about laying it all on the line and taking a few risks.

If you are going to invest so much time and energy into this why not give it everything and I mean everything? I’ve been on his case because I know he can win.  I have always wanted a bit more from him when it comes to the finish. It is tough asking for more when he already is doing a ton, but that is what I do. I ask because I really believe in this guy. He has shown me many times he is worth it.  Ken is everything you would want in a teammate.

He is happy, funny and great to travel with. He is a guy who works hard and lives a pretty balanced life. He has everything pretty much dialed in.  He has a great relationship with his wife, two happy and beautiful daughters and has a pretty cool job as a camera man.  Now I just need him being a threat to win races and he would have it all in my books.  When Ken and I were talking about the Preston St. Crit I told him I didn’t want to split the prize money.

I explained that he should just race his own race and have fun and I would do the same. No stress and no structure.  He could do as he pleased without having to worry about team tactics or following a game plan.  The real reason was he hadn’t proved to me he would be there for the finish. I needed him to know in my own little way that he needed to step up if he expected me to share the winnings.  The race began and we did our thing.

Ken, Logan and I were the only guys to take the start for our RealDealRacing/LaBicicletta team.  I knew most of the racers in the field and was pretty confident we were going to have a good day.  That is until the race actually started.  I tried to get pumped up for this one but for some reason it just wasn’t happening.  I felt tired and never really could generate the power I’m used to putting out.  The first time this year my legs were just dead.  Tired and weak is a better description.

I bluffed a few times trying to get off the front and when I stood to get some separation there was no juice.  There were a few crashes and I was lucky enough to miss two of them by less than a few inches.  The first one two guys went down right in front of me and all I could do was grab the front brake. I was up on my front wheel almost going over for 20 + feet for sure. I stayed balanced there rolling on that front wheel as I let off the brake and got everything back under control.

I stayed up and rolled through the carnage on my front wheel.  I had a few riders ask me how I held on to that for so long.  It happened so fast I just laughed and said “no clue”.  There was a pretty good delay after one of the crashes and when the race resumed we kept the pace pretty high to chase down the breakaway that had 30 seconds on us.  It came back together late in the race and that’s when I was getting ready for a sprint finish.

There were a few riders who attacked the group with less than a few minutes to go.  One was Brandon Spencer from Mazur.  He soloed off and right away I was pumped for him.  He was taking a huge risk to try and win this thing as the rest of us set up for the sprint.  The group was kind of waiting and there were a ton of riders lurking but the pace was perfect for him to stay away.  Inside 3 to go with Brandon still up the road I see Ken attack off the front and go hunt him down.

The group doesn’t respond as we are all marking each other and fighting for the lead position going into 2 to go.  Ken rides up to Brandon and then right on by.  He passes him with force not letting him get on his wheel.  I love the position he has put me in.  If someone goes to get him I’m the first to jump and they become my lead out man.  If the group doesn’t go get Ken he solo’s away and I clean up the bunch sprint.  On the bell lap Ken is still 300 meters off the front.  The group kinda picks up the pace but nothing that has him in any danger.

I hit corner 3 hard and go right to the front. I lead into corner 4 and hit the gas hard and charge to the line.  I look up the road and there is Ken with his arms up and we go by him like he is standing still.  I get nipped at the line but could care less. The yell as I crossed was as loud as ever.  Ken Ng held off the group to win Preston St!!!  It was quite the moment.  I grabbed him off the ground and shook him a bit.

We screamed, we cheered and  we soaked it all up. Ken took a huge risk in the dying laps of the race and it paid off.  It paid off BIG!  $1000 dollars for the win and I wasn’t getting any of it.  This prize money experiment might just be the best thing that has happened to us as team mates.  He wins his first race and I get the team mate I always knew he could be.  A threat to win in every race he enters.  I will take the $1000 dollar loss to gain that any day!  Let the dream season continue….

Off to Nationals!  Thanks for reading.

Ed Veal

Full results HERE.

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