5 Wheelers lined up for the cat. 3 road race in Metchosin yesterday: Trevor Mackenzie, Andy Pitre, Eugene Hahn, Andrew Rusell and your correspondent, Stéphane Tran. This was part deux of the Cameron Law weekend, sandwiched between the Sprint challenge on the Friday and the downtown legislature crit on Sunday.
The course consisted of 7 laps of a technical 10km course with some punchy climbs, twisting descents and one long downhill run down Kangaroo Road. The cat. 3s were lumped in with the junior, Master, cat. 4 and novice (?) categories and our plan was simple to start with: line up in the first row and drill the 1st lap to drop as much of the field as possible early on. We recruited Fabian and Parker from Broad Street to help out and according to Strava, our 1st lap was done in 15:10 or 39.5 km/h, with all the following laps were about a minute or 2 km/h slower. That certainly did thin the field and the front group hovered around 20 for most of the race. ARuss was riding like a beast, constantly attacking and riding off the front. At first I questioned his strategy, but figured that being a smart rider he would only do so if he was feeling super strong and confident. Trevor withdrew after 2 laps, CORRECTION: 4 LAPS having helped us thin the herd and with the Sunday crit in mind. Smart call Trev.
I was able to hang in with a front group of 12 or so for a few laps, ofter suffering on Parker Bloom's wheel as he effortlessly spun up the climbs chasing another ARuss attack, but I got dropped on the Liberty Drive climb at the 4th time of asking. I chased hard for a bit but thankfully there was a chase group of 5 including Eugene that caught up to me and that I managed to hook on to. We were encouraging each other and riding cohesively and caught the front group after bombing down the Kangaroo descent. The sweeping turn off Barrow onto Kangaroo is so much fun to take at speed and the Kangaroo Rd descent is amazing: you can get so much speed and really carve the curves.
The group split again on the Rocky Point climb on the final lap, with Eugene and I in the 3rd group of about 5. We chased valiantly, but most of us were maxed out as we hit at the final drag to the finish line. I yelled out to Eugene to get on my wheel and gave everything I had left to try and pull him up to the finish, but it was in fact a desperate push on the back from Eugene that gave me a final boost as I launched a weak, leaden-legged sprint to the line. After sucking my lungs back into my chest I was informed that ARuss had finished 5th. Well done dude!
Geoff Homer was the lone Wheeler in the cat 1/2/3 race who did the loop 12 friggin' times. That's a lot of suffering.
Lastly, thanks to all the volunteers and for making this a safe, well organised race. And thanks for the donuts too!
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