By Athlete Ambassador, Ron Amos
The race season that started way back at the end of February out in Chico, California is quickly coming to a close. I challenged myself with a following specific goals for the year:
- Don’t be a disappointment to my new race team – Hammer/53×11 – this goal kept me really focused with my Winter indoor trainer workouts
- Defend my Canadian National Championship titles in both the Time Trial and Criterium events, while also attempting to lay claim to the Road Race National Championship title. – Success on all three goals was sweet
- Become the Ontario Provincial Champion in both the Road Race and Time Trial – Accomplished, but not easily, as the Ontario boys were in fantastic race shape in mid-August.
- Make a stab at the UCI World Cycling Tour Championships in Denmark – This last goal seemed pretty lofty in the early part of winter, but gradually became more of a focus as the season rolled along.
Racing the bike successfully like most sports requires loads of specific quality training, well maintained equipment, mental toughness and good fortune. I cannot stress the importance of good fortune. Good fortune in bike races means:
- Not having a puncture
- Not having mechanical issue with the bike
- Not crashing or being involved in a crash
- Not arriving at a race sick
- The list could go on….
While I have had a very good season thanks to great coaching, good health and fitness, I also have had my share of good fortune. I have witnessed some disappointing misfortune, everything from snapped shifter cables to punctures. At the Ontario Provincial Championships a good friend of mine crashed badly, breaking bones and taking a tremendous blow to the head. Witnessing that crash, shook me up and truly struck home the importance of good fortune.
The UCI World Cycling Tour Championships held in Denmark capped off my season. Myself along with 60 other Canadians had qualified to participate at the championships in various 5 year age groups. Each competitor was required to wear race kit which represented their country, which really added a unique touch to the event. Denmark is a windy country, hence the many windmills which cover the landscape. The terrain is fairly flat, however where a hill could be found the race course went over it. The weather was epic on the day of the Time Trial, what with heavy gusting winds and periodic torrential downpours. My wife joined me for the trip/competition. She has patiently endured my passion for this sport and so it was a real pleasure to share my Time Trial Bronze Medal ceremony with her.
Bruce Bird invited me to join him, David Gazsi and Calah Wright in the Team Relay event which consisted of each member racing around the downtown streets of Aalborg. We had a blast and managed to Win the Gold Medal, climb up on the top step of the podium and sing along (myself horribly) to our national anthem as it was played.
The road race course was 164km on a day where the winds wear howling at 28km/h with gusts at 38km/h, but the Sun was shining brightly. My race came to an end when misfortune struck me. I got tangled up in crash where a rider overshot a fast downhill corner, taking out my rear wheel. I cannot stress the importance of having good fortune. Thankfully I was able to get back rolling and complete the remaining race course which captured the essence of Denmark’s remarkable scenic country side. Though my race came to an abrupt end, I was unhurt and the damage to the bike was negligible.
Now that I’m back home, I find myself not quite ready to call an end to the racing. So I’m off to “The Appalachian Classic” in hilly scenic Victoriaville next Saturday… Racing alongside my Hammer/53×11 team captain, Hunter Ziesing. Up for grabs is our Weight in Maple Syrup…. Sweet! After that I plan to step into the Velodrome for the first time and give it a whirl. If all goes well I may just see what I can do at the Canadian National Track Championships in early October.
So that is a wrap…. almost