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Suze Woods Diary
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 7/18/2002
Suze Woods Diary
 

TOUR DE GASTOWN (A 36km CRITERIUM)

18th JULY - DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER, CANADA

No regrets at the end of this race. This is what I want!

5.30pm it's onto our bikes and we struggle though peak hour traffic to get from where we are staying to downtown Vancouver. Vancouver is truly an awesome city, similar to Auckland or Wellington except towering Mountains fill the backdrop. When we do finally get to Gastown I'm a little disappointed as the traffic is still roaring around the course. We follow the signs down a dingy alleyway to registration. This race takes out the prize for ugliest registration - is downstairs in a multistory parking lot and as we sit on the concrete, petrol dust, covered floor pinning on our race numbers on - suddenly Vancouver doesn't seem so pretty. The disappointment doesn't last long and as we emerge from the building the streets are now closed and the footpaths filling up - this is going to be one awesome race!

There's 35 women in the field, including some of the better sprinters from Rona and Saturn. The course has a couple of sharp corners and several brick sections plus some sunken manholes for extra fun.

On the start and this is an amazing scene - the crowd is covering the whole footpath along the whole start/finish straight and there aren't many gaps down the back straight either. With about $4000 up for cash - $2000, which is going to be given out in preems this, is going to be a fast race.

2 crash's on lap 2. One goes down right in front of me, I go over the wheel, but somehow stay on the bike (wish I could watch this on replay).the gap to the lead 6 is about 50m by the time I'm facing the right direction and I begin the chase - I'm so disappointed, I imagine ringing home and telling them I got dropped after 2 laps, so we chase hard and I scream at the others to come through, fortunately the front group sit up after a $200 preem and we all regroup, right I'm feeling amped now and to the front I go, no getting caught in crashes again.

Not fancying myself as a sprinter I try the early lead out from the last corner for the $50-$200 preems. 4 failed attempts, pipped on the line each time. Its time for a new tactic and I sit on till the last 50m and take $50! I have an awesome group of kiwi supporters just past the finish line - I have no idea who they are but they are jumping up and down when I finally get a preem, I rest up a few laps and go for a $200 one, for some reason it feels easy and take this too, again much to the delight of the kiwi fans!

2 laps to go and the group is down to 11 riders, 1 lap to go and Saturn is on the front smoking. It's a lead out for Kim Davidage, around the last corner I'm in 7th place and I give it everything, but only finish 6th, just out of the overall money. The people here are great and heaps of them come up afterwards and ask me about New Zealand and thank us for the great show we put on, some even invite us into their restaurant! For the record Kim Davidage of Saturn took the win - not sure of the minor placing - full results should be at www.tourdegastown.com

If you're ever racing in Canada and get the chance to do this race - do. It's the most incredible atmosphere, even if you are not a criterium fan.

Regrets - yes always regrets, I was really happy with how I rode - lots of attacks and going for preems but - the finish, I was in a good position I just needed a little more confidence and I wish I could have thanked the group of kiwi fans they were awesome!

As always Thanks to the Gary, Mum, Dad, The Hutt Bogans and Wgtn Cyclist for all the support, encouragement and news from home and the guys from Penny Farthing Cycles (Wgtn) - the TCR0 is running mint.

From here its down to White Rock (about 45mins Sth on Vancouver - still in Canada) to the 3 day Tour de White Rock, ifs its anything like this race I can't wait!

Hope everyone is chirpy.

Take care!

Suz

 
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