In this year of COVID-19, every Sunday ride was like a race

It’s been over a year since I placed my wheel on the line for an actual bicycle racing event (you know: where you sign up, get a number pinned to your jersey and BAM! the gun goes off) so I miss the competition and camaraderie of these events a lot. But I was unprepared for the elation, relief, complete and utter joy that flowed over me when I saw on the Cycling BC website that two races were being organized for this Fall.

When Covid hit, anything race related was shut down and for good reason. I continued to stay fit on the bike all summer and was motivated by joining a club out in Port Moody since I was living at my cabin all summer. Every Sunday ride was like a race. If you got dropped, you had to find your own way home. And speaking of home: bicycle racing enthusiasts like me, from the comfort of my favourite chair, got to view this year’s Tour de France which went off successfully and was to one of the best I’d ever seen.

Race #1 – Jeremy’s Roubaix, October 25

A 75km Masters race that was equal parts gravel and road. 23 riders were on the start list. I did this event last year so was stoked in knowing the course well. Right from the gun, I was already being tested! So many accelerations and attempted breakaways. When you have former National Masters champions and even a past bronze medalist from the 1990 Commonwealth Games present, the pace was nothing short of intense! But I managed to NOT get dropped thank god. I positioned myself well for the sprint with 400m to go, but didn’t have the legs and settled for 10th place. Nonetheless I was stoked!

jeremy's-roubaix-race-map

Race #2 – Rock The Ridge, November 1

This was another 75k race that was primarily gravel and 25% road. In the week leading up to it, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to make the start line given that I was so focused on packing and moving back to my flat in Vancouver. I’d done zero exercise although I did manage to squeeze in a 90min ride the day before. I would have preferred to drive out to Maple Ridge and ride a loop of the course, but I was short on time and went into this race somewhat blind. I immediately noticed at the start line that I chose the wrong tires, my 28mm slicks. I would’ve been way better off with a wider more aggressive gravel tread. I was literally fish-tailing on some of the loose gravel sectors with my apparently skinny tires! Oh well. Off I went and still ended up 7th in a smaller field of 14 capable starters. La Bicicletta dominated that day with all riders finishing in the top 4. I sure could have used an ally or 2 to match Bicicletta’s team tactics! All in all a great 2 weekends of racing. Now I can state that I’ve now raced for 43 years straight 🙂

rock-the-ridge-race-map

I’m quite confident that we can race in 2021 even if Covid is still lurking.

The rules will just have to be altered, such as staggered starts. I truly hope we can all experience the exhilaration of towing the line, trying your guts out, and being the better athlete for it!

To your best efforts –