I’m just back from Sherbrooke, Qc – host to the 2013 Canada Summer Games. I was competing there with team New Brunswick and hoping to come away with a medal in one of the events.
We got in last Saturday and instantly got to work prepping for Monday’s TT. The course was a flat and windy out and back course of 20kms. I can usually put in a good TT and I was definitely hoping to kick things off with a podium to take any pressure off for the rest of the week. I put in a solid ride and can’t really look back questioning anything but the last rider to cross the line bumped me off the last step of the podium. 4th can be a tough pill to swallow, but again – I put in my absolute best ride for that day and 3 guys ended up faster, can’t really get too down about that.
Next up was a very tough circuit race on Wednesday. The 11km loop featured a few solid climbs, some wind, and even a huge rain/wind storm part way through to really make it a special race. With a very strong presence from Quebec and Ontario, I knew it would have to come down to a very small group if I wanted to win the race. I tried to play to my advantages and light up the more gradual climb whenever I could, soon finding the race whittled down to about 10 guys. There were however still 3 guys from Ontario and 2 from Quebec – not good numbers for me. I kept trying to get rid of a few of them, but most had a bit more in the tank than I expected for some of the climbs. Looking back maybe I tried to force the race a little too much and it would end up costing me. A little over halfway through the race, eventual winner Pierrick Naud countered one of my attacks really hard on the steepest of climbs. This split our already small group and I simply had no answer to it. After some desperate chasing, holding them pretty close for the next 2 or 3 laps, the race was coming to a close and they were slowly creeping away more and more. The next group was a long way behind and finishing up is all there was to do.
The final event was the criterium held on Saturday – not something I’m typically all that stellar at but I went into it relaxed and looking to just have a good time playing antagonist as much as I could. There was a little rise on the course and it seemed like it might be tough to really control, but a long headwind coming to the finish definitely made it tough on breakaway attempts. Throughout the 45km race I threw what I had at the bigger teams – sometimes it even looked good for getting away but typically the big sprinters would come roaring past at the last minute, taking all the points awarded every 5 laps. It was a fun race but had an unfortunate finish with a big pileup at over 65km/h in the final meters. I went tumbling head over heals but managed to stay pretty unharmed – a little road rash and a pretty stiff back but way less than I expected as I slid along the pavement. Wishing a speedy recovery to Ontario’s Etienne Moreau and Nova Scotia’s Ryan MacDonald who seemed to take the worst of it.
So I must say I’m a little bummed to be coming out of this week without a medal, but thought I was racing well and maybe just wanted it a bit too much in the road race. Still an enjoyable week and the legs seem to be on the right track to finish up the season well. I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who was behind this – my mom, Shawn and Jean-Guy as the cycling staff, Velo NB, our provincial mission staff at the Games and the Government of NB for all the support they put into me leading up to the event.