By Athlete Ambassador, Ron Amos
The Canadian Road National Championships were held in Thetford Mines, Quebec. The championship races were comprised of 3 different types of road races, a 120km Road Race, a 14km Individual Time Trial (race against the clock over a set distance) and a Criterium (50min race on a 4 corner 1km loop). My success at this year’s Canadian Road National Championships was more than I could have hoped for. I am proud to say that after competing against a strong and determined field of competitors, I was fortunate to claim the Championship titles in all three race events.
The following is a brief summary of how each race played out for me:
The Individual Time Trial was held on an out and back route. Unlike most Time Trial courses which are usually held on flat to rolling terrain, this year’s race had six substantial hills on the route. This meant that each racer had to climb up and speed down hills, which removed the rhythm from the steady pace one usually gets into when racing a Time Trial. It was tough to figure out how best to pace out the effort as there was a stiff cross/headwind on the up and down, but more downward out section. While the return trip had the wind at your back but the climbing sections were longer and harder and the downhill sections were shorter, offering less time to recover from the climbing efforts. After completing the distance I was really not sure if I raced the course correctly. The interesting thing about technical Time Trials like this one is that often it is not the strongest rider who wins, but the best tactician who correctly applied his energy and then recovered in all the key spots along the race route. Steve Bauer, Jon Gee and Rob Orange all had great rides and certainly were nipping at my heels.
Most every racer I spoke to felt that the 20km circuit loop which was repeated 6 times to make up the 120km Road Race course, would finish as a mass group sprint. However, once the race started, the attacks came thick and furious. Many breaks were started and then chased down before 4 of us managed to get up the road and established a firm breakaway group. My breakaway companions consisted of some pretty talented riders all who were cycling studs in their younger days and continue to enjoy racing their bikes and doing battle with Old Man “Father Time”. The break consisted of Daniel Therer (former Canadian Track National Team and World Cup team member), Miguel Sanchez (former National Team member for Spain) and Steve Bauer (who completed 11 Tours de France and wore the Yellow Jersey for five days in 1988). It was a real pleasure to take turns rotating through on the front with such talented and smooth riders. Daniel Therer eventually fell out of the group but not before turning himself inside out to stay with the breakaway. He never missed a turn/pull on the front and really helped us establish the gap on the chasing peloton before running out of gas. Trying to win the road race in a sprint for the finish line against the likes of Steve Bauer was not likely going to go well for me. So with 18km to go to the finish I put all the cards on the table and attacked my breakaway companions. Fortunately a sizeable gap opened between them and me, that I managed to sustain and soloed in to the finish to claim my 1st ever Canadian Road Race National Championship title.
The Criterium race (50min – 4 corner – 1km loop) was a smaller field than the road race. However the field was stacked with some quality crit racers. After 10min of aggressive attacks from various racers I managed to slip off the front and then utilized my Time Trial ability to hold a gap on the field to finish.
As usual, July and August are void of road races, they just seem to dry up with the heat of summer. This is fortunate as it will allow me the time to focus on my training to build more fitness while attempting to reach peak form for the UCI World Master Championships to be held in Denmark in early September.