Some good days of racing under the belt. Legs were less than ideal I'd say, but I'd also say that I saw those 'base endurance miles' paying off. First off, with the legs I had, I would say that last year I would very likely not have finished either race. At very least, not with the pack. But that was then, this is now. Hit the road Friday with good ol' JS, direction Montreal to meet up with the boys. Made good time, so met up with an early Charles and settled ourselves in for a cafe and some shop talk before the arrival of the others. With Perras suffering from some gastro issues, we were now down to 5. No worries, Boivin promised some good form on his return from the hard man's land of Belgium so we continued along to MA. After having JS explain to the nice border man that we were driving to Bangkok (Thailand???) I took over the explanations and question answering duties (we were actually heading to Hancock, MA) for the slightly bewildered border guard. Back on the road, we stopped for a buter filled meal at some random US restaurant chain of whom name escapes me. Pulled in and checked in to our home for the night, meeting up with our 5th rider, Georges-Edouard, who had just finished a training camp in Virginia. Sleep, the a hostile takeover of the hotel's continental breakfast waffle machine. Sorry to any other patrons who waited for waffles before giving us a dirty look and leaving with a muffin. A 10:30 race start wasn't too bad, but the fresh temperatures (7 degrees), rain and wind left us deciding that an in-car warm up was in order. Rolling down the start, I discovered a slow leak in my rear tyre so made my way over to the lovely SRAM neutral boys in red to grab myself a Zipp. Sweet. The race started off alright, a real nice rolling course with a long headwind false flat, turn into a nice 2km finishing climb to put some weaker riders into difficulty. With the break beginning to establish itself after the first lap (~30km in), I found myself struggling a bit with some "lead legs" so played it safe staying near the front and out of the wind. Boivin got himself into the break while JS and Georges-Edouard did a good job covering any other early attacks or attempts to bridge. My legs began to come around slowly through the race, and I was climbing pretty well, so got myself in the front and started working on covering attacks as well, and generally following wheels in a defensive pattern. It became somewhat important to stay near the front on the climb as there was always a split. The long descent allowed for some re-grouping, but not without some effort on your part. On the last lap, I made a move with 1km to go on the final ascent to bridge to a solo rider (who was unfortunately cracked) and ended up leading out the sprint and getting caught with 250m to go. Still held on for about a top 10 in the field sprint on the climb. Should be about 25th overall I think. Not bad for the first 150km race day of the year. I should have put a bit more gas into my effort I think at the end as I got kind of caught up in 'saving' something in case I got caught. These efforts must be all or nothing, I had the legs for that.
Drove back to our new home after the race in Bromont, were we had an excellent night's sleep and a cold beer to celebrate a good day in the saddle. With the Brossard crit not going off until 4:30, we allowed ourselves a nice long sleep before heading out to buy some lunch supplies. Another coffee after some naps left us energized and ready for the day's efforts. With 9 of us at the race, we had a simple plan: make the day hard, and always be in every break. I got myself right to the front on the start (a little Belgian slip got myself backed into the front line) and then got into the first attack of the day. From there I got myself slowly back comfortably into the front and ended up getting into the break of the day with no effort, about 12-15 of us just kinda rolled away. This ended up being perfect for us as we had 4 riders in the break, all committed and working hard to attack, chase and counter. In the end, I did a large pull to bring back a small group setting up JS for the winning attack. He went with one other VW rider with 5 to go and was never seen again. Boivin took the sprint for 3rd, and Cossette was 5th. 1-3-5. Pay day again. I was pretty toast the last 5 laps but just tried to follow some wheels and make sure no one caught JS. A good day for the team, and a good day for me. I had very little jump, and as JS put it, I rode more like a diesel all day. Well, thats the long report. Luckily I had a big cup of coffee.