OBB Victoria Wheeler Race Team member Andrew Russell tackled the Cat 1/2 races at BC Superweek and has supplied us with a recap. Thanks ARuss and well done!
After the Gas Town whipping on Wednesday night I went into the White Rock criterium Friday evening with intentions of a better performance. The 800m trapezoidal loop featured a 300m big-ring climb (think caddy bay to uplands) which was countered by a whizzy descent through the start/finish and bottom corners. Wind from the East would make the top flat section after the climb challenging. Five laps in and I was once again blown away at the required effort. A 3-rider crash happened in front of me once again although this time I could not see any way around it. With split decision wits I figured the only way to stay upright was to hop/ride over one of the bikes, so that is what I did. Looking up and seeing a gap to the group had formed I made the call to request a free lap at the pits. The free lap was granted and I was sent back into the fire at the tail of the group. I lasted a few more laps and was then blown out the rear like Mexican water. After watching the remainder of the race, which was quite entertaining, I had some dinner and then made the trip back to ‘the big smoke’ to reset for the road race the next day.
After two DNF’s I would be lying if I jumped out of bed stoked to race Saturday morning. I told myself just to take it lap by lap and enjoy the effort. The white rock course was a stunner. Lining up at the start/finish on Marine Drive we were set to do 133 km of 11 x a 10km loop followed by 8 x 3 km loop. The big lap featured two substantial climbs, a screaming descent (82 km/hr) and some leg tearing flats that had several corners thrown in to keep things honest. Things were quite hot the first couple laps with breaks here and there being pulled back. I think on the fourth lap is when the first significant break occurred. My goal was always to hang in as long as possible and try to make the cut-off (5’ to leaders) for the small laps. Time gaps were not being given to the main group so we had no idea whether we would make it or not. We were pleasantly surprised then when we were not pulled off the course after completing the 11 big laps. Once we were on the small laps a moment of brief reprieve swept across the group and the pace eased. Chatter arose, including “hey Dave, check out this lady up top of the next building in the halter top, unreal.” The group worked together for the remaining 15km or so before some movement near the end to finish off a great day of racing. A couple times I had to pinch myself when we descended along the beach strip, we could have been in Cali, or the Caribbean it was so sweet. Made the earlier beatings seem worthwhile.
A big thank-you to Oak Bay Bicycles for their continued support of The Wheelers racing team. It has been a great season with all kinds of achievements by the team. Having OBB get behind the crew like they do puts those extra watts in our pedals when we need them most!