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Dandelion Grand Prix

Sunday was was the first ever Dandelion Grand Prix, held in Oxford Mills as a part of the “Old Town Kemptville Dandelion Festival.”  I had done a short (10km) warmup prior to the race, and was able to get a look at the start of the ‘chip seal’ road that everyone had warned me about.  It didn’t really look that bad to me, since I’m used to riding on roads a lot worse than that!  The shoulder was a bit loose, so I made sure to keep away from it throughout the race.

I was in signed up to race the ‘intermediate’ race (5 laps of the 17km course, for a total of 85km), despite being called a sandbagger by a few people (who shall remain nameless…)  At the line, it looked like the right place to be, since Ian Fraser was lined up behind me.  I though “uh-oh.. I’m in over my head here… there’s no way I should be here, let alone in in the “Open” race!”  After a bit of a delay in the start, we got rolling 3 minutes after the “Open” group, and set off at a decent pace.  We had ~75 riders in the group at the start.  The pace sat comfortably at ~40km/hr for the entire race.  I kept waiting for an increase as the kilometers ticked by, but … nothing doing.  A few riders would get off the front by 100m or so and hang there a while.  No one would react; eventually they would tire and get absorbed by the group.

With one lap to go, another Independent rider asked me if I was racing with a team.  I replied that I was not, and he asked if I wanted to give it a go off the front with him.  I agreed.  I lead through the Start/Finish the last time through, and after the first corner we went!  However, my legs just weren’t there, and we couldn’t get a sizable gap at all.  We gave up fairly quickly, and went back to sit in the pack.  Coming up to the last couple of corners, with ~1.5km to go, I moved back up to the front in order to make if safely through the corners (There had been two crashed in our group, both on corners.)  I sat 6th or 7th wheel, and the pace finally started to increase a bit (not much mind you, and only now with about 1km to go…)  Sitting 6th or 7th, I was expecting people to start flying by me leading out their teammates/friends.  However, nothing was happening!  Soon we were ~300 from the line, and still no one was coming by!

At this point, I was a bit confused, and probably reacted slower than I should have…  I eventually decided I had to go (“Now or never!”) and gave it all I had.  STILL no one came by, and I realized I could crack the top 5.  I sprinted (I say that loosely, being far from a good sprinter) and placed 5th overall.   In the photo below (thanks Phillipa and Wayne for the photos!)  you can (barely) see me behind the guy in the orange kit.  Note that the finish line isn’t even in sight in the photo, so I’m not sure how much positions changed before then…but this is close enough :)  I was a bit mad to see how far back the rest of the group was–if I’d have known, I would have maybe given it a dig a bit earlier to get by the guys in front, rather than try to out sprint them!  Ah well.. live and learn!

Dandelion Grand Prix Finish Line

Dandelion Grand Prix Finish Line

What you don’t see about 3 seconds after this is the guy in the orange kit almost riding me off the road after we crossed the line.  I had nowhere to go, as the shoulder was lined with spectators, so I yelled at him and he stopped forcing me over, but gave a “What?!?” kind of look, as if he was retarded and hadn’t noticed (or didn’t care) that he almost forced me into a bunch of spectators at 40+km/hr.  Idiot.

Full race results are up on the OCA Website.  Total time was 2:09:00, for an average speed of 39.54km/hr… so the race went much slower than I was initially expecting.  No complaints though!  A good day and a decent result… next time I have to be a bit more aware at the finish and things might turn out better!  Thanks to Mark and Ryan for organizing the race–I hope to do it again next year!

Yesterday was another great (and fast) ride in SF, and I picked up a free bike.  More about that later, as it deserves at least one post of its own!  Thanks Chris!


Comment from Slowdad
Time June 11, 2010 at 7:52 am

Nicely done in the race! Gives me some inspiration to try one some time.

Comment from Darren
Time June 11, 2010 at 7:54 am

Thanks Slowdad! Give it a shot–you’ll enjoy it!!

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