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
Hope everyone is chirpy.