Home Forums Race Road O-Cup #1 Mosport Classic Race Report

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  • #41263

    Mark W
    Participant

    The first race of the season is always an unknown. I spend the winter putting time in on the trainer and outside where I get my butt kicked by others, myself and sometimes both. Everyone is doing the same and it can be hard to gauge the progress I’ve made. The weeks before Mosport consisted of some race simulations and banter between teammates about the coming race. Vance gave us a general strategy to follow, similar to what we did in E4 last year. There’s eight of us entered, a sizeable team, and we’re divided into two groups. I’ll be looking to ride, work and communicate with Dino, Matt B and Ben.

    As race day draws near I’m a little anxious but still manage a good night’s sleep Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday evening I set everything out, pick my layers for the cool morning start, make food and set my camera stuff aside.

    My better half, Kelly, decides to come along since the race is a short 3.9km loop and Mosport makes it an interesting setting. The drive is uneventful, my car will save a surprise for me until after Hell of the North on Sunday, caffeine fuelled and quick. I park, go to the sign in line…err not the E4 line, the masters line (weird), and head off to find the restrooms. Sadly there are too many ladies present to use their washrooms (What? Don’t judge me. Bike races are the only time the men’s has a huge line and the women’s doesn’t. If there are no ladies around, especially if the washrooms are single stall, I say they are fair game.) Anyway, I get chatting with Steve from Lap Dogs and Mark de Koning, both great guys we see during cx season where E4 and M3 race at the same time. It’ll be fun racing with them again, but on the road for the first time.

    Back upstairs I sucker poor Heather into pinning my numbers on since Lauren isn’t around. Yeah, I did glance around for her, even though I knew in the back of my mind that Lauren wasn’t showing up until the later race. I’m so used to her always helping out during cx season.

    Next up is a slow spin around the track. The back half of the track is a lot of climbing. Nothing steep, but more than I thought. I spin around the parking lot and do some more chatting before the race kicks off. We all line up together, Kelly collects jackets and bottles from us and some others. The E4s head out first and then away we go.

    The first eight or nine laps are uneventful. The peloton goes downhill, the peloton goes uphill. I sit in the middle of the bunch as much as possible to avoid the yo-yo effect at the back. Dino, Matt and I keep close while I can see Kevin, Thiago and Rob toward the front making their presence known. The pace is relaxed on the climb, says the light guy, and it seems no one is in a rush to push the pace. Sixteen laps and 52 meters of elevation gain a lap will add up. This will be a wearing down process.

    During lap nine or ten I filter toward the front third of the peloton to keep an eye on things. Dino and I have been riding as a pair most of the race so far and he’s right up there with me. We notice over the next lap or two that the peloton stretches out toward the top of the climb and along the finishing straight. We talk to each other about this and decide to put in small efforts to stay in the top 15 or 20, avoiding a possible split. Any efforts we make we do so as a pair to conserve energy. If we get split up from one side of the group to the other Dino always calls out so I know where he is, or when he’s back on my wheel.

    On the fifth last lap, or maybe it was the sixth last?, Kevin is at the front on the climb. Part way up he falls back next to me and is looking tired. I tell him to filter back, hide and hang on. He’s done a great job toward the front all race so far. After I learned he filtered back, all the way back and straight off the group. I guess he was more tired than I thought. Dino and I are now trying to stay in the top 10-15 and things start to pick up with five to go. The first half of a lap is all descending except for a short flattening out and gentle rise that requires some effort. I believe it was here that three guys rolled off the front and started to get a gap. There was about a five second window where I thought about jumping across but ultimately didn’t. The peloton was always regrouping by the bottom of the track and I figured we’d reel those three back in over the next four laps.

    During the fourth last lap I make little efforts to stay up front and make sure others don’t try to bridge up to the breakaway of three. On the third last I see that the gap isn’t closing and actively try to help bring it back. I take a pull on the first, and steeper, part of the climb. Only one other pulls through when I flick my elbow. He works for a brief period and then a Midweek guy just rolls through and off to the side. I call at him to work and then realize he has a teammate in the break and no such thing will happen. I keep pulling along and the sequence repeats itself up the climb. Dino makes an effort to pull too but we can only do so much. I have to give credit to Midweek, another one of them appeared up front and kept disrupting us from making any real progress.

    It’s the second last lap and time to tuck in and stay in the top 5-10. The peloton is getting stretched thin but still staying together by the bottom of the track. There’s lots of fighting for position on the climb, especially for the sheltered right side. Onto the last lap and the pace stays at a tough but maintainable level. Or so I hope. There’s no easing up on the descent. We fly around the upward arching 180 at the bottom of the track and the pace stays tough into the base of the climb. It’s double file now and I’m maybe sixth or seventh wheel. Someone blows up in front of me and I make the split second decision to go around them to the right in the small space between the white line and edge of the track. This keeps me protected from the wind and holds my position in the group and on the right.

    Toward the top of the climb there’s a small chunk of ice that protrudes a couple feet upon the right side of the track under the Canadian Tire bridge. On previous laps everyone has been courteous, called out “Ice!” “Ice!” (baby), and moved to the left. I’m pinned in on the right, call out “ice”, but the guy to my left isn’t budging. I treat it like I would a log on my mountain bike. Front wheel up and kick the back wheel along in a poor bunny-hop. Luckily for me the ice has softened up and my back wheel cuts through it, more or less. From here on a couple guys make big efforts at the front. We only have about 600 meters to go as the road levels out and we fly into the chicane. I keep tucked into the right side, and sheltered, at all costs. Through the chicane we usually cut across the track from right to left, so as soon as the red and white striped curb appears on the right, at the entrance to the chicane, I ride up it and preemptively move up the right side a bit. I stay there, sheltered, until we exit the chicane and enter the finishing straight.

    Now I know what I’m supposed to do, even though I’m unsure if my legs will listen. There are five or six guys ahead of me, so I drop a couple gears, stand up and start sprinting around and to the left for a straight line. I manage to come by a couple of them and end up seated and trying to squeeze out every bit of energy left in my legs before the line. I barely take third in the bunch sprint and sixth overall. Much better than I could have hoped at the start of the day.

    The remainder of the day consisted of eating, talking and taking photos. Oh, and stopping at Wild Wings on the way home to devour as many calories as possible. Mosport was a great race venue, and the social aspect reminded me of cx season with so many teammates racing and hanging around to watch.

    Hopefully others share their stories from the day. We had a couple first time racers and strong finishes. It would be interesting to hear everyone’s story.

    Mark

    P.S. If you lean your bike up against a wall make sure it can’t be blown over by the wind. Some moron did just that after the M3 race. The wind easily blew the bike over and into a steel support beam. I heard the crash behind me and saw the cringing faces of others. The poor bike made contact on the head tube. All I could do was laugh, walk over, pick my bike up and inspect the damage done. At least I finished the race first! Also, the damage is repairable. Lucky me.

    #41264

    Robb
    Participant

    Pretty cool to hear the race being at Mosport. I’ve raced there in the past and that back straight goes on forever in a low powered car, I can just imagine on a bike.

    Glad they skipped the hamilton circuit, I hated that course. With 100+ in the M3 field and a yellow line rule its a pretty frustrating race.

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