As summer crawls by, the middle of July finds us at the furthest most point in the year from the high of last year's racing season and the excitement of the upcoming ski season. And sandwiched between these two winters are the hazy lazy days of a humid Ottawa summer. Now that the novelty of the weight room has worn off, and the klister I'd forgotten in the trunk has melted in my trunk, I find myself in need of a quick fix of adrenaline (naturally occurring of course) to get my training motivation back up to par. So, to nix these summer training blahs, Megan and I entered a local bike race to remind us of the flavour of competition. (strawberry?!)
The OBC (Ottawa bicycle club) Grand Prix was held on the 13th of July on the main loop of the Gatineau parkway. The races varied between 1 lap (21km) for novice women up to 5 laps for the senior men and some master men categories. Megan and I decided to be realistic about our bike race skills and tactics (although watching the Tour makes everyone want to be like Lance!), and entered the novice race. In last year's Grand Prix, Megan raced novice as well and worked her butt off to a third place finish, so we were confident that although the term 'novice' isn't as glamorous as we might hope, that this category would be ample competition to get us that taste of racing.
I woke up at 5 am, with butterflies! (later that same morning…)The start of the race took place at the bottom of an uphill, making the claet-pedal connection more urgent than on a flat start. At the signal, the pack was off to a blistering start straight up the hill, spreading the women very quickly into several small packs. Caught off guard and struggling with my pedals at the start, I was dropped right away and watched as Megan, (on her NEW K2 road bike, thanks Madshus and Reece Rendall!) and the lead group pushed the pace up the hill. I rode the better part of the race alone off the back of the packs. Boy does it hurt to ride alone, at the BACK! When I did finally catch up, it was such a thrill to be back in the race, I forgot about the pain. Climbing hard and descending fast, trying to conserve energy and push the pace at the same time, looking for signs of weakness in opponents, it was awesome. My many training days on the parkway came in handy on a few of the turns and hills, as I was comfortable taking them tight and fast. The end of the race came all too soon. Even though my legs felt like lead and my lungs burned, I was loving it. In a flash of memories and new hopes, suddenly I couldn't wait for the ski races to start. 'Oh yeah..', I thought, '..I'd almost forgotten what this felt like!'
Up ahead, Megan dueled to the line with local rider Caroline Ross. After she received her silver medal, we went to cool down and trade stories about the race. And then Megan summed it up so nicely, she said: " …Doing that race just reminded me of how much I LOVE racing!"
All it took was one race. Motivation has tripled….bring on the snow!!!
For all race results see: SportStats under Ottawa bicycle club Grand Prix.