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 4 of the race – the race of the truth.
Thank god for the UEFA Cup. Although doing these long stage races is super exciting, and a very fun experience, there are still some pretty slow, dull moments. In my running days I did numerous multi-day hotel stints, where much of the day was spent sitting around, watching marathons of Deadliest Catch, Mythbusters, and Cops. This trip has not been void of those long hours where all you have to occupy your mind is the anxienty of the next race, and what Sig Hansen will do in order to make his King-Crab quota. Well the UEFA cup has certainly saved me from frying my brain on too many episode of trying to figure out if it is possible to kill a person with an ice bullet. Note to self, never forget your book when you go to a stage race.
Since today’s stage was a 22km time trial, for the first time in three days, I didn’ t have to ride over 160km. This resulted in us having a lot of time to hang out post-race, and enjoy a “rest-day;” if you can call riding as hard as you possibly can for 30minutes a rest-day. It was also a great opportunity to catch up on emails, get clean-shaven (Elly and the family are coming up to watch the race tomorrow so had to get rid of my playoff beard), and put the legs up to watch two solid soccer matches between periodic naps.
Today’s Time-Trial was my third official time-trial, but I would really consider this one to be my second real go at the discipline. Before I go into details about my race against the clock, there are a number of people I have to thank, as were it not for them, I would likely have ridden a lot slower. First off, my biggest sponsor of this Time-trial had to be Fulton Carpentry & Joinery. Sandy Fulton, owner of Fulton Carpentry & Joinery, graciously lent me his Stevens Time Trial bike for the week. Sandy’s TT bike enabled me to get a far better time trialing position than that of my road bike’s. If you are ever looking for a hard working carpenter, check out Fulton Carpentry & Joinery. I also have to thank my Stevens Racing teamate Derrick St. John who lent me his team Canada skin-suit, and wicked time-trialing helmet, and my current teammate Stuart Wight, who lent me his awesome TT wheels (Clearly these wheels were capable of going only one speed, as Stu and I finished with the exact same time) and Garmin. Lastly I have to give a big thanks to our team mechanic, Sean Kelly, who put all of these parts together.
My original goal for this race was to not let my teammate, Svein Tuft, beat me by more than 4 minutes. The time-trial being a race of experience, and a completely different discipline than climbing, I did not have high expectations for the day. However, I was pleasantly suprised with how good I felt on the day, and with my result. Although I was still over 3 minutes behind Svein on the day, I felt I had a solid effort, and rode this race as best I could. I knew that todayI would lose a bunch on the stage, but I still managed to hold on to a top 20 ranking in the general classification.
This race has also made me realize how much I can improve on my time-trialing. I have been very fortunate to be riding for team Canada this year, as two of Canada’s best riders over the past decade, Svein Tuft and Christian Meier, are on the team. It has been a real pleasure to follow Christian and Svein around and learn from them. Today was a particularly interesting day for me, as I got to watch Svein (one of the best time trialists in the world) do his thing. Watching Svein prep for the TT, I realized how cerebral you have to be in order to excel at this discipline. To say that Svein is dialed in, is an understatement. He analyzed the course thoroughly, played out the best route in his mind, and ensured that he would get every advantage in terms of aerodynamics and mechanics. This intelligent approach combined with legs as strong as a small motorcyle, resulted in Svein winning today’s stage in dominant fashion, and hitting speeds upwards of 75k/h.