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2010 Paris-Ancaster Wrap-Up

Paris to Ancaster is over for another year.  Sadly.  Let me step back and describe last weekend in more detail, for it was a good one!

A bit of background may be in order.  Since the Paris-Ancaster cyclosportif happens to fall on the closest weekend to my birthday, and is (relatively speaking) close to my old stomping grounds in Woodstock, it has become a yearly tradition to make a long weekend of the race, throwing in some birthday celebrations for good measure.  It’s generally also the kick-off to racing for the year, and allows me to get a feel for the legs.  2010 was the third year of this tradition, and possibly the best yet.

Matty and I took Friday and Monday off work, and loaded up the loser cruiser with bikes for the trip to Woodstock on Friday morning.  We arrived in good time, having timed the trip through Toronto perfectly to avoid the traffic.  A short ride out to The Pines to get the legs moving after sitting in the car all morning was in order after some food.  The trails are in fantastic shape, and most are ideal for a ‘cross bike.   If only those mountain bikers knew what they were missing!  16kms of spinning (mostly trying to stay on Matt’s wheel on the trails) and we were back home.  Friday night was spent at Matt and Hil’s place in Paris.  The wind ruined Matt’s well laid plans for a bonfire, but the BBQ was packed with gourmet sausages and burgers, and much was consumed alongside a couple of nice new beers.  It was great to see the old gang again, short of a few (sorry to miss you Mike, Pam, Jesse…) who couldn’t make it.

Saturday was an easy day.  Get the bikes ready.  Zip-tie on numbers.  Last minute derailleur adjustments for Matt.  Discuss tire pressure (decided on 70psi).  Rock a quick 12km on the Millennium Trails.  Got passed by a guy on a mountain bike with a dog… he thought he was king shit as he hammered to pass us.  We reeled him back in, even at our ‘recovery’ pace; hope we didn’t crush his spirits too much…  Fantastic lasagna dinner (thanks Mom!) gave us some solid fuel for race day.  Early to bed.  No sleep.  Brutal.

Race-day breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt, banana.  Drove to Paris, parked at Matt’s place and rode to the start area with Matt pulling Hunter on the trail-a-bike.  Matty and I spun in a bit more warmup (not much) before getting back to the line just in time for a quick washroom stop and then to the Wave 1 start.  Ended up at the back (almost) of the group.  Crap.

The race. Adrenalin. Pain.  Hopelessly watching the gap grow ahead of me. Disappointment. Suffering. Dying 500 of those 1000 deaths. Legs finally warming up.  Gaps stop opening in front.  Starting to feel good.  Starting to feel really good.  Push.  Push some more.  Latch on to a group.  Pissed off. Me and 3 of 9 guys doing all the pulls.  Me closing all gaps.  250 more deaths down.  Push some more. Gravel. Asphalt. Mud. The final climb.  Max 13% grade.  Gravel road.  No juice left in the legs.  600 meters from the finish.  I know this climb now.  It’s crazy steep from blind corner to blind corner.  Before and after,  it’s just steep. Get to the blind corner.  Keep grinding.  No more lower gears.  Almost to blind corner #2.  Still riding.  Die 100 more deaths.  Finish line in sight. Cross the line. Joy. Relief. Still feeling good.  Crap.  Should have gone harder..150 more deaths still left in the bank.  I’ll remember that for next year.

Results? 1900+ participants.  1285 finishers.  60km of asphalt, gravel, mud, farm field, rail trail, and double track done in 2h 05′ 34″ which put me just inside the top 100 overall, at 96th place.  7+ minutes faster than my best time on this course from 2008.  Not bad.  Very satisfied with my time and placing, and feeling good physically still.  No complaints!

Matty had a good race as well, crossing the line in 2h 12′ 10″ for 161st place.  Well done sir!

Congrats of course go to Mike Garrigan, who won with a time of 1h 47′ 53″ (a.k.a. insane) and runner up Andrew Watson who missed the prize by 21 seconds.  You’ll get him next time Watson!

Post-race, food at the finish, back to Paris via truck/trailer shuttle (thanks Matt) and then back to Woodstock.  Dinner with family.  Ribs.  Back bacon. Potatoes. What more could you want?  Turned in early.

Up for a bite, then made the trek back to Perth.  Home in lots of time to hit the Monday night group ride.  Spent the ride in the slow group, chatting with Carolin and just moving the legs.  Felt nice.

Currently listening to a song about a burro ride that went awry.  Still debating if I am going to race the Almonte Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.  Hmm…my form may hold…


Comment from Slowdad
Time April 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

Nice write up! I did the race for the first time myself and will definitely be back for more. It was a great time.

Congrats on the great finishing time.

Comment from Darren
Time April 22, 2010 at 11:32 am

Thanks Slowdad! Glad you enjoyed the race! It is a fun one!

Pingback from DARREN COPE » Race Report – Paris to Ancaster 2011
Time April 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm

[…] to last year, I went into the race with little motivation. My spring has been spent getting sick, […]

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