Tour de Beauce 2.2
It’s time to say goodbye to Canada. Although it’s only a UCI 2.2 event, the Tour of Beauce is a very challenging 6-stage tour, which offers very little reprieve. Including a combination of strong teams, difficult terrain and a well known history in its 30th Edition, I am very pleased to be travelling home with a trophy of pure Canadian Maple Syrup which represents my first UCI stage win from the 21km TT! Start preparing the pancake mix dad!
Past winners of this race include Levi Leipheimer, Jonathan Vaughters, Svein Tuft and Michael Rogers to name a few.
Some bad luck on stage two right at the base of the final hilltop finish took away my chances of challenging a podium on the GC for the tour. We had about 3km’s before starting the base of Mt Magentic – 5.1km @ 9.4% – before a crash at the front end of the peloton took down lots of riders. It happened right in front of me. I had nowhere to go but straight into the pile of riders already on the deck. Fortunately, this meant my landing was reasonably soft and I came away unharmed. After quickly checking my wheels and chain I jumped back on my bike and rode for about 500 metres until I got a flat tyre and needed a wheel change.
You can imagine my frustration. I got close to the back end of the peloton during the start of the climb after working back through the convoy, but I was already on the limit as the attacks started and I had to watch the peloton disintegrate up the road. Speaking of misfortune, including this crash and flat tyre, I had a total of three flat tyres, two crashes, a broken spoke, and a cracked rim during the tour. Yep, the little climber was causing the most damage. Maybe I should back off on the donuts*. In my defense I cracked the rim riding into a gutter full gas to avoid a crash in front of me during the crit. The broken spoke happened when somebody decided to stick their foot in my front wheel, and the other flat tyre happened whilst jumping train tracks at >70km/h. These train tracks caused plenty of damage to lots of other riders too.
In contrast to the above, stage 3a TT could not have gone any better for me. Yes I was disappointed about losing serious time on GC up Mt Magentic the previous day, but this wouldn’t deter me from going deep and trying to post a really good time. After a good 20-minute warm up and two 80mg caffeine gels later, I was ready to go.
It was a reasonably long and hilly TT course (350 metres of elevation gain), so I was very happy to have my power meter going to help ensure a good pacing strategy. My follow car had followed Jack Bobridge on course before me, and they knew I was “on a good one” to post a fast time, or at least that’s what they said at each turn around point. Bobridge came in just as I rolled out the start ramp, so I was aware he had posted the new fastest time in a little bit over 29 minutes. So when I came back in under 29 minutes, I knew my time would be competitive and this was confirmed over the loudspeaker. I was currently in the hot seat. I had posted the new fastest time! But then as we waited a little bit, we overheard that Budget Forklifts had been pushed off the Podium. The first thing I thought was maybe I should have gone easier to save the legs for the following stages and getting into a breakaway. We packed up and drove back to the accommodation for lunch.
When I entered my room, my roomie Sam Horgan was excited. No, I didn’t catch him doing anything inappropriate. In fact, he passed on a congratulatory expletive whilst sitting at his computer refreshing twitter. All the riders had finished, and my time still stood as the fastest. I was confused. Initially I just assumed he was looking at an old tweet, but as it turns out, they were referring to Jack Bobridge who had been knocked off the podium earlier. We promptly got back into the car and headed back to the Time Trial course in good time to make the presentations and receive my bottle of Maple Syrup!!
The final stage took place around St-George Ville on a 12-lap circuit, and this was where my second crash and another flat tyre took place. It may have been around lap 3. We were riding single file in the gutter and the guy in front of me crashed. There was nothing else for me to do but to go down too, and this time there wasn’t a pile of riders to land on and the tarmac took some of my skin.
The next few laps were spent in the convoy. I had got back onto the back of the peloton, but then got dropped and had to make my way back to the peloton, only to get dropped again. I thought my day could be over early. I finished 11th on this stage, in a small group of 13 riders at the front end of the race with the GC contenders who were battling it out for the overall tour. We don’t come to races to finish 11th, but when I consider earlier during the stage when I thought my race was done, I am actually really proud that I fought it out and persevered until the finish.
I’m having so much fun here that I’ve cancelled my flights home and booked a new one taking me to Boulder, Colorado for a few weeks. There’s plenty of good vibes coming from this infamous cycling training destination and I don’t quite feel like heading home to cold and wet Melbourne just yet. I’ll let you know how it goes!
As always thanks for huge support I received whilst racing… Particularly from family, friends and the crew from Peak cycles. There was an overwhelming response from my 1st place and it goes a long way for motivation for the next one.
*lol jk, I will never stop eating donuts.