Mike Woods Reports from Stage 2 of the Tour de Beauce

Mike Woods of the Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery men’s team is racing in the Tour de Beauce with Canadian National Team. The Tour de Beauce is a six-stage stage race that attracts some of the top professional riders in North America. Mike has provided us with a report from Stage 2 of the race – a rather soggy day on the bike.

A little rain never killed anybody, but, looking out the window this morning was a bit of a downer. For the better part of the entire morning, rain pelted the windows, and dampened our souls. Obviously, every rider in this race has to compete in the same conditions, but the idea of slugging it out for 160 some odd kilometres in the rain, did not sound like a great way to tackle our second day of racing. Even as we parked the team car, and went over the final prep of the race, the rain did not let up. However, the biking gods were smiling on us today as, just as we hopped on our bikes, the rain stopped. Not only did the rain stop, but the clouds remained, making for pretty ideal race conditions.

After yesterdays race, I was feeling more confident, and so I decided to get to the front early, and see if I could sneak into a break. I was able to catch a few breakaway attempts, however all were very short lived, and feeling a bit fatigued, I decided to sit up for a bit, and get back at the attacks in a couple of kilometres. Obviously, right when I did this, that is when the biggest break started to form, it too was short lived, but the resulting chaos of the peloton making it up to the break allowed the eventual winning breakaway to form at around 30km. Missing this breakaway proved to be a good thing, as a strong headwind and some big rolling hills made for a fun 120km of hanging out in the peloton, and, what I can only imagine, a terrible time for being involved in a breakaway.

At approximately 125km things really started to heat up, and at around the 145km mark we entered the final section of the race, which was a 4 lap 3km circuit. Having done a number of criteriums over the past couple of months, I was feeling pretty confident about getting in the mix for this final set of laps. However, I have yet to ride a crit where I averaged close 50K per hour after riding some 140km. This was definitely a major change in pace, and made for some pretty hairy corners, and some big rushes of adrenaline. Fortunately I managed to navigate this final section well, and finish with the group. In doing so I climbed up a couple of spots on the general classification. The team also had a pretty solid performance. We are now sitting 4th overall in the team standings, just 5 seconds back from the overall leaders. Hopefully, with the toughest stage on the horizon, we can get closer to the top.

With tomorrow’s weather forecast calling for 28 degrees before the humidex factor, and the 160K race finishing on a category 1 climb, I imagine, barring a miracle, my next post will be a bit less verbose.