I just wanted to start off with a huge thanks to the Edmonton gang that organized the first Edmonton Canada Cup this past weekend. The course was awesome, the venue was great, the atmosphere was cool...overall a really great cycling event. Too bad to everyone that didn't come out, you definitely missed out.
And the weather was stellar, hot and humid 28 degrees, okay, maybe a little hot, but I'm definitely not complaining after all the rain and snow I've managed to find lately. The race was down in the river valley near the Kinsmen Center in a beautiful park. Mixing a little paved cycling trail with really neat and fun single track. There wasn't a whole lot of climbing, but the climbing there was was really steep. Nothing like an 16% grade start to get things rolling.
We had a pretty small womens field of only 14 elites, but it was pretty stiff comp none the less. I have to say, I'm really impressed with the calibre of the women's field in the Canada this year, there are some really strong ladies coming out of the north, makes racing the Canada Cups very exciting.
Off the start, Joele Guynup took the hole-shot and lead up the steep soft wood chip climb, and then up the even steeper pavement climb. As we crested the top, Emily moved into the lead and I managed to slide my way in behind her. Like the previous Canada Cup in Hardwood, Emily set a hard pace and I worked hard to stay with her. We jockeyed back and forth for the first lap, working together to put a gap on the rest of the field. Going into the second lap up the start climb I found myself in a little too large of a gear and when Emily jumped past me I couldn't quiet match her pace, and she managed to put a little gap on me.
From there on in it was again a game of cat and mouse. I would reel her in slightly through some sections only to have her extend the gap again in other sections. I managed to keep her within 45 seconds through out the entire race, and within sight through most of it. Half way through the course there was a really technical drop with a pretty sketchy roll out at the bottom. During pre-riding, including a run of it first thing in the morning, I only managed a 50% success rate of cleaning the drop...two good crashes on it left me a little scared of it. On the first lap riding with Emily we both ran the drop, which I actually found pretty difficult too, and left you running the next hill just to get momentum back up before hoping on the bike, so the last three laps I decided to ride the drop...heck I needed all the extra seconds I could just to stay in contact with Emily. I managed to clean it each time, though not very pretty mind you, nothing like closing your eyes, taking your hands off the breaks and pointing your bike downhill..hehe, just joking.
My last lap I actually felt pretty strong and charged hard with everything I had. Along the closing straight, which was about 1 km of gravel path, I could see Emily up ahead and could tell I was making good time on her....but it wasn't enough and I finished 17 seconds down. Definitely not complaining though, it was the best race that I've had all season so far, finally feel recovered from Steve's crazy intervals, and kind of feel strong :)
Joanna Harrington from Whistler finished 3rd (three Trek bikes on the top three spots..hehe, just had to point that out), Catherine Vipond (Norco) finished 4th and fellow Fort McMurrayite Kate Ardal (Hardcore) finished 5th. I just wanted to send out my best wishes to Jean Ann McKirdy (Local Ride) who took a pretty nasty spill on the nasty drop, hope you have a speedy recovery.
On the mens side, teammates Eric Batty finished 5th, Adam Morka finished 14th and Cam Jette finished 17th...good job guys. It was also great to see local guy Tim Heemskerk back on the scene with a third place....riding a Trek ..hehe.
It was unfortunately my first race of the season back in Alberta, I have to admit I really miss the Alberta crowd, so it was super cool getting to see everyone and catch up a bit...more time for that this weekend in Canmore. Big thanks to my parents for feeding, the definitely earned their "Mom and Dad" spot on the Trek Toronto Store jersey, yup it's really there :) And thanks for everyone that put the event on and everyone that stayed to cheer us on. Hope to see everyone again this weekend.
Tomorrow....dr's office, gotta find out whats wrong with my ear/jaw....blender food isn't appealing, but taking an hour to eat my salad is a little ridiculous.