A rookie’s first season racing O-Cup
For 2013 I set a goal to compete in the entire O-Cup series. There were seven events in total that included various road races, a crit and a time trial, which were hosted all across southern Ontario. Thanks to some encouragement and comraderie from my race buddy Andy Mill, and the unfailing support of my amazing wife, I accomplished the mission and started all seven events.
Based on my experience, here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to invest in a sesaon of O-Cup in M3…
- 413 km of racing
- 11.25 hours on the bike racing
- $461 for race entrance fees
- $158 UCI race license
- 3,309 km on the road driving
- 34 hours on the road driving
- $1,105 for expenses (accommodation, fuel, meals)
I was brand new to the world of UCI licensed racing in Ontario, and like all newcomers, required to start in the bottom category, which was Masters 3 since I’m over forty. Andy was in the same position. Depending on the size of the field, the top 10 to 20 finishers in each race would earn points for both the overall O-Cup Standings and for upgrading to the next category. To be honest, I was surprised at how difficult the M3 category was. I really thought I would have done better in the ‘bottom’ group. Surely there would have been some fat, old guys that I could whoop. No chance! These guys all mean business and it was humbling and painful. The first race was a rude awakening as I got dropped on the final surge and finished well down in the field. It got worse before it got better, but finally I made some progress and managed to finish in the top 20 a couple of times.
One of the benefits of doing the O-Cup series, is the chance to experience various types of racing. Road races, crits and time trials all have different dynamics that require different strategies. With each race I feel I gained some experience in tactics as well as insight into my personal strengths and weaknesses. Bike racing is by far, the greatest physical challenge that I have ever faced and it has pushed me to my limits every time. In the end though, racing the O-Cup was not about trying to win… for me it was about learning how to just survive to the end.
I’d like to express my respect to all the M3 racers who kicked my ass and made me suffer. And big congratulations to Andy Mill, the ultimate Ontario Cup Masters 3 champion! Good luck in M2… I’m gonna miss racing with you : )
I did manage to pick up eight points and finished 37th in the overall standings. Here are my official results:
|Good Friday Race||53||JOHNSTON, Darren||1h 47′ 33″||00′ 33″|
|Calabogie Classic||74||JOHNSTON, Darren||1h 28′ 46″||02′ 24″|
|Springbank Park Crit||DNF||JOHNSTON, Darren|
|Lake of Bays Race||22||JOHNSTON, Darren||2h 47′ 50″||01′ 50″|
|Niagara Classic||18||JOHNSTON, Darren||1h 47′ 23″||02′ 30″|
|KW Classic||25||JOHNSTON, Darren||1h 32′ 10″||00′ 30″|
|Clayton Time Trial||8||JOHNSTON, Darren||0h 56′ 48″||02′ 47″ 90|
Who knows…maybe I’ll try it again next year : )