The KW Classic was the final O Cup for 2015 and I was hoping to do well after a pretty disappointing season this year. Mark Chappel and I were the only two from Speed River Cycling Club so we didn’t have a lot of options when it came to strategy… either make the break, or win the sprint.
I lined up in the front row for the start, and held my position well the first time up the Hawkesville hill. The tempo was easy enough and I tried to stay near the front and watch for any moves and avoid any trouble. One guy popped off the front on the first lap but wasn’t any threat by himself. The bunch just reeled him in slowly when he was out of gas. Another move went on the second lap, when three guys got a gap. They never got out of sight, and the bunch ramped it up to pull them back on the third lap. This was when I decided to try a counter attack. As soon as those guys were absorbed I attacked on the inside. I had a couple of hundred metres when I was joined by Tim Griffin from Lapdogs Cycling. We worked together for a couple of kilometres but nobody else joined us and we never got more than thirty seconds. I looked back when we turned at Broadway and could see the peloton gaining ground. There was no way the two of us were going anywhere so I sat up and tried to get a breather before the next trip up Hawkesville hill. I was still a little winded from the effort and this time the pace was notably higher on the climb. I went backwards in a hurry. I tried to stay calm and not panic, knowing I could get back on on the descent, but I was now near the back of the field. Just my luck… this was when the break got away. I could see it stringing out on the front with 5 guys going clear but I was a long way back and unable to move up. Morning Glory, Midweek and Waterloo CC all had a guy in the break and they had a lot of teammates to block on the front. A couple of guys tried to bridge over but eventually blew up and got reabsorbed . The break had forty seconds on the field when we passed through town at the end of the fourth lap and there was no organized effort to chase them down.
The next trip up Hawkesville hill was more subdued and I was able to make my way back towards the front, but there was no commitment to catch the break and they stuck together to the end. On the final lap I was near the front and hoping to stay out of trouble for a respectable sprint. After getting caught behind a crash last year, I decided to keep to the right hand side and hope for an escape in the event of any chaos. The yellow line was not in play for the last 2km and I assumed that everybody would be moving left for position and I had hoped to sprint on the right side. Unfortunately I ended up boxed in, with nowhere to go. A few guys ran out of gas on the hill to the final straight and a hole opened up on my left where I was able to move over and gain a few positions in the sprint. I crossed the line eleventh in the bunch and fifteenth overall… 1:08 behind the break.
Ultimately, position was everything today. After my failed attack, I needed to be there when the right move went. I wasn’t. It went when I was struggling to get back in after a hard effort up Hawkesville hill. My last chance was the sprint and I chose a bad line. Every breakaway has a chance at success and the last one stuck. Good for them… it’s a pretty rare experience in M3, I just wish I could have been in it.
After the race I checked the results and was very surprised to see that I had been disqualified along with a few others, including one of the breakaway riders . I hadn’t received any communication from the race officials on the road, and I was not aware of any infractions. I made an enquiry to the commissaire after the race and after checking the notes it was decided that there was no known reason for a DQ and my number had likely been mistakenly recorded. My result was reinstated and I finished my O Cup season with a whopping 1 point : )
Here’s the last 5km…