Spring Riding

Ah, nothing quite says spring in Ottawa like snow in April. Couldn’t believe it when I saw the snow this morning. Sigh. Ah well, could always be worse… I waited for the roads to dry up and hit the streets south of Barrhaven at around 11:30 for my ride.

The wind was fierce. Really fierce. This wind combined with no sunshine made for a grey and unforgiving ride. I only had to ride for 2.5 hours so I knew I could handle anything for this amount of time. What I didn’t plan on was the flat tire. About 45 minutes into my ride I could feel my rear tire going soft. Darn! Once I got the tube out I discovered a thorn in my tire. It took forever to get that thorn out. I debated calling Marc, but really that wasn’t going to solve my problem! I must admit, my enthusiasm for the ride did waver for a bit after fixing the flat and getting rolling again in the headwind. But after a tasty nougat bar, my spirits were lifted and it was time to do the intensity blocks.

I did two five minute tempo blocks to open my legs up and then I hit up Shea Road in Richmond for some sprints. On the schedule today were 5 x 150 meter sprints to be started with a cadence of 90 rpm. So with the headwind this meant I had to do the first three in my small ring. Yes, my small ring. The final two were done with the tailwind and my big ring. What a feeling to be sprinting all out with a super strong wind pushing you down the road. I felt like my bike was going to take off! All in all, an excellent ride. I was a bit chilly by the end of it, but a warm shower and lunch pushed me forward and home!

And now for something special… Most of you know that the famous Almonte-Roubaix was held this past weekend on Sunday. This year, young Timothy Austen raced in his first Almonte-Roubaix. Timothy is 13 years old – not an easy race for a young guy in his first season of bike racing. Timothy agreed to write a race report about Almonte-Roubaix. So here is Timothy’s report on this much-loved and respected Ottawa cycling classic:

For the first time and most definitely not the last I lined up for the start of Almonte Paris-Roubaix. The race was great with mostly sun it made for a little bit of dust but it was definitely better than a mud bowl. The race started being the youngest rider in the race by three years, I thought it was prudent to line up at the back. After Bob pulled away and the real racing started my dad and I started whipping through the peloton. Through the first forested section otherwise known as “The water bottle stealer” we kept on catching people. Once we were “out of the woods” it was on to the first section with real hills. Call me crazy but I really like the hills in this race not too huge but not small really helpful when you’re trying to catch groups up the road. The race continued through roads like this and we inched closer to the groups ahead of us. After a good portion of race spent chasing we were finally in a group. Even through the ridiculous construction section. Where we saw no less than four people changing flats. Then into the dreaded new section. Great scenery we got to admire it lots creeping up the hills. But we got through. Then into the second forest or “the beach” as I prefer to call it. I made it up the switchback hill actually dropped some of the members of my group. But sadly, the vertical wall of sand at the end of the section, I opted to just dismount and cyclocross run up it. But I had a bit to eat and recovered quickly. My dad and I were back to chasing down the groups in front of us. When there were four of us, I took off. Losing my dad and the other two group members. I ripped it up through the third forest or “quarry” named after it’s excessive amount of rocks. Then I struggled to the finish. But still beat my dad by nearly two minutes. It was a great day and I can’t wait to ride it again next year.

Thanks Timothy for the excellent race report. Reading Timothy’s report kind of makes me think of doing the race next year…. (It should be noted that Timothy’s dad – Ian, is the one who got me into bike racing and dragged me out to my first and last Almonte-Roubaix in 1995…)

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