Wow what an awesome race I must say. We started with 200 riders and it began with a 5km neutral zone, how ever it wasn't that neutral to begin with as they had to neutralize us twice when we were already in a neutralized zone. Huh? does that make sense? Well it was for good reason as a 30 rider crash removed 9 riders from the race, including our Emile Jean who was fine but was forced to quit due to a snapped derailleur hanger. We were racing as a 6 man team called Canada/New Zealand because James Oram and Dion Smith were both looking for a team to ride for so we combined with them to have a full team. James ended up having an off day and lost the pace while Dion crashed and rolled his tubular, he may have broken his wrist but we haven't heard since. The pace was high and we were constantly going up hills, cornering, dodging crashes and smashing up cobbles. We did a 52km circuit and then was followed with 9x7km circuits. I was feeling good going into the shorter circuits and after some chasing and attacking and having no idea where in the pack I was"ing" I managed to find myself cooked in the 2nd group of 14 with 3 riders up the road with 4 laps to go. I hung in and avoided the wind as much as possible and we had the leader dangling 25 seconds ahead of us on the last lap and brought it down to 12 by the line but alas they won. Earlier in the race Adam asked me for a water so I gave him one but I then found myself stuck with sports drink for the rest of the race which lead to some intense cramping, I learned a lesson today. As we went up the first of two seemingly identical climbs before the finish I found the cramping too much and couldn't follow the group and found myself in a one on one totally f*%ked rider sprint which I won for 15th place 20 seconds behind the group I was once in. Yohan (18th) finished 2 minutes later with the next group and Adam (29th) in the group close behind to give us a good enough result for 3rd place in the team race. I have the sister race to this one tomorrow and should be another crazy adventure I can't wait to encounter.
If you aren't a fan of cycling crashes you probably shouldn't read from here:
Really I am not a fan either but this was truly spectacular, yet unfortunate. We were about 20km into the race and I was poorly position in the back 100 riders, a rider from another team was thinking the same thing as we that it was time to move back up. He saw a race motorcycle honking to come through the pack so he got on it's wheel at about 60km/h. Up ahead the pack was snaking across the road and seeing this the motorcycle slowed very quickly forcing the rider to smash into the back of it. He got some decent hang time before flying into a pole then again hitting the motorbike. His helmet did the job and in the 2 seconds of after math I saw he seemed like he would be okay, but his bike wasn't as it was in two pieces.
I will do a post tomorrow after my race and on Monday I will put up some photos documenting what I have seen so far.