108km, rain, wind and 3 degree temperatures. Mix that together and you have pain on the bike. And it did not disappoint. The race started off dry, with the air cold and the wind blowing, but comfortable enough while riding. In order to fix this comfort factor several riders decided to cause an early split in the peleton by breaking away early (on the 3rd lap to be exact) and decided it would be wise to stay away for the duration of the race. Cool with me, with my teammate Steve up the road working away in this break. Unfortunately, as the rain clouds began to cover the course, poor Steve found himself dropped from the break like a dress on prom night. With this new development I found myself desperately attempting to find any riders willing to work enough to get across this now large gap. With my efforts proving solo and the group happy to simply chase me I sat up for a period to eat and regroup and mostly hope that those in the break would tire as the conditions worsened and the skies open up on us. As we approached the halfway point the pack again split with my teammate Steve making his way up, realizing too late that this split would prove crucial I was forced to attack on my own and attempt to close down the 1 minute gap to the chase group on my own. Never have I been so cross eyed for what felt like such a long period of time required to close that gap in the wind. I still cannot believe I made it. Unfortunately this effort also took a lot out of me and forced me to cling to this chase group through sheer determination for 10 laps as we chased the lead group. With 5 to go, 1 too many gaps opened up and I was left on my own, holding a 15 second gap to them for a lap and a half. Unable to close this in the wind, my legs began to cry out that I should throw in the towel and re-gain feeling in my extremities. With some loud words of encouragement from several well placed spectators (thanks out to Scott K and Robbie O), my frozen brain decided that not finishing would make me a wuss and I must continue this lactate crazy march to see how many more riders I could catch and drop. Six was apparently the answer, though I may have been hallucinating as I also believe that the lap sign showed 2 to go at least twice and I'm pretty a treacherous leprechaun offered me a donut. Who is to say? None the less, a good day of suffering and after some serious heated seat enhanced re-warming, I am now pumped again to ride my bike. Even in these terrible conditions. Screw it, it beats riding the trainer. Next up, the hard man's Almonte-Roubaix. Maybe some of the snow might even melt. Hopefully that whiny leprechaun stays away.
Pictures and an actual result will be posted when I find them.