This weekend the City of Devon was again host of a fantastic bicycle spectacle, the Devon Grand Prix of Cycling 2012 (link downloads a pdf file). I participated on Saturday in the United Cycle Downtown Criterium Provincials and on Sunday the Juventus Genessee Hills Road Race. It was my first Criterium in Category 2 and I was pretty nervous since these crits are a sink or swim. You've got to be 100% committed if you want to finish with the main pack and you have to stay always alert as crashes happen often due to the speed and the exhaustion of the riders. In our category we had to cover 40 laps of approximately 900 metres. And man, this race was fast! We averaged 45 km/h and I had an average heart rate of 163 and a maximum heart rate of 185! I cannot remember when I had 185 bpm on a bike! It was crazy! Also from a power perspective this race was quite interesting. I spent 48 % in "active recovery" (24:06 min), i.e. from 0-195 watts due to coasting, and 23 % in the neuromascular zone (11:15 min), i.e. from 534-MAX. The remaining 29 % were evenly distributed over the remaining zones in between these two extremes. Here is a nice visualization of the work done:
The next morning at 9 am we started for our 127 km ride and the weather was quite windy but beautiful. At about 10 km into the race there was an attack, initiated by Josh I believe, and a few other riders and me followed. This was when I felt that my legs were still torched up from the crit the night before. We eventually got caught and I was afraid I won't play a big role today since my legs felt pretty empty. After about 10 more kilometres, Josh launched another attack while we were having cross-winds. The attack was perfectly set and again, a few other riders and me were back in the break. We really were working very hard together for the first kilometres and then managed to find a rhythm that worked for everyone in the break. It was great riding with these guys and we were increasing our lead. At some point we also collected a Velocity guy, who took off sometime after our first attack and stayed away till then. He managed to hang on when we were passing him and also started working with us. At the turnaround we could see our gap and it was quite impressive! Our group got motivated right away and sped up again. With about 30 km to go, quite a few hard attacks were launched just for 100 metres or so to shake off people. And guess what, Dan Wood, the guy who left quite some skin on Athabasca Ave in Devon was attacking and eventually made it first into the finish! What a performance! When he was off the front, more short attacks were launched and we kept on losing people until it was only Josh, me and Brian from Velocity. At that point my tank was pretty empty and I switched into damage control mode. During the last 2 km we were going quite slow since no one wanted to start sprinting too early. I took a look behind me and could see the pack was getting closer. This time though, they wouldn't get us. In the end Brian had the best legs of the three of us, and Josh and I tied for 3rd place (on the results), although he actually won (see picture below).
In conclusion an amazing weekend of road racing!!
P.S. Thanks to Sanja for feeding me, and to Corey from ERTC for giving Sanja a ride to the feed zones and back since the feed zone were 35 km away from the start!