On May 13th (Mother’s Day) I said good bye to my Mom at Pearson and flew over to Holland to spend 6 weeks racing my bike for a club team based in Utrecht.
Google Map- http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=utrecht&hl=en&gbv=2&hnear=Utrecht,+The+Netherlands&gl=ca&t=m&z=12
Club Team –
Shedding light on the last 8 months of intense & disciplined training, all due to the support of the MGCC, I needed to test my legs with some serious racing, of which would have been too few and far between in and around back home. With a number of relationships that I have made within the peloton, I was able to secure room and board in Utrecht as well as a promise from the club team President that if I were to ride well in the B races (weekday races) that I would get an opportunity to ride in the A races (weekend races).
I gathered my fitness and form, packed them all up, and jumped a plane to the Netherlands knowing that this is what was needed in my preparation to accomplish my HUGE GOAL of winning the Canadian Elite National Time Trial taking place June 21st in Lac Megantic, Quebec.
Having arrived in Utrecht, I quickly earned a spot on the club’s A team and set out in the first few races in my new colours working for the established leaders of the team. I had done well, banked some acceptable results, kept my mouth shut, and worked very very hard for the team.
This past Friday, June 1st, after all the work I had willingly done for my teammates, I was told by the club team President that I was to be the team leader in what would be the biggest race of the season to date. I had the team at my disposal to work for me versus what I had been doing for the established team leaders in the 2 weeks before hand.
I knew this was an opportunity that I could not let slip between my fingers. This is what I had been waiting for.
I had my best result to date, winning the Flexpoint Limburgs Mooiste. I would say that this race is takes the peloton over one of the hardest courses in the Netherlands, having 137 riders crossing the starting line and only 64 riders at the finish. The hills, short and very steep, in Holland take their toll on the riders and the whole peloton just suffers. Most of the time it is the strongest that will survive to fight it out in the end and it just so happened that this day was perfect for me.
Watching closely as opposing teams tactics tried and failed, mainly because my team was there to support me and because the pace up those damn hills was draining on everybody. I patiently watched and waited for the time that would be most discouraging for any rider to follow me on an attack. With 30 KMS to go I found myself in the lead break with 14 riders, all of which were contenders for first prize and whose best interests were to make sure we were not caught by the chasing peloton. We worked well together growing a large gap to the point at which our cohesion soon turned into all out war. On the last lap, I was feeling very confident in my ability, and I attacked sprinting at full speed into a 1 KM hill with an average grade of 9%. Not one of my fellow break riders followed me thinking that I would not be able to stay away. They maintained a steady pace watching and waiting for me to explode and to roll backwards into the group. That was their mistake. I held 626 watts for well over 2 mins up that hill and gained a gap on my competitors that they would not be able to close. From the top of that climb to the finish, it was just a bit of mind body separation to achieve my T.T. state of suffering as I soloed for the win. Once the 13 riders chasing me realized I was not coming back they quickly set off to hunt me down but to no avail. As I was TT’ing to the finish I told myself “don’t look over your shoulder, don’t look over your shoulder , don’t look over your shoulder“ for I knew that if the commissaries’’ cars were still there 10 yards behind me then the chasing group were not that close. Having the last 2 KMS in my sights, I ramped it up giving myself a larger cushion of victory and enough time for a proper solute to pay respect to the team as well as the club team President Wim Sluis.
Here is a great race recap video that was played on Dutch TV.
Coming this Sunday I have a race in the same region of Holland. Tons of climbing again but this time we will tackle 210KMS vs. the 140 KMS last Friday.
To be frank, I am in disbelief with my fitness and form so far, it feels as if I can achieve anything during a race. Watching over my shoulder at the grimaces and buried heads of pain, almost gives me strength to push harder.
I receit my goals and objectives on a daily basis and I feel 150% confident that I am on track.
I absolutely could not have accomplished this without my friends, family and the MGCC who have been there supporting this dream.
THANK YOU MGCC!!!!!!!!!
See you all out on the road!!!!!!!
Our very own Derrek Ivey had a huge result last weekend at the Nationals so we asked him to provide us with a little insight into what its like to Race at an elite level while still maintaining all sort of other commitments!!! Here's what he had to say - Enjoy,
National Canadian Cycling Road Championships
Preparing for the race
In normal circumstances I would have trained in Tuscon during the months of February and March spending 4 to 6 hours a day of riding, participating in at least 20 races.
Due to work commitments, I was unable to train in Tuscon and was limited to 6 races. My employer allowed me to work a reduced work week of three-and-a half days in the three weeks prior to the Nationals in order to train. My training program included 6 – 7 hour ride on Tuesday; a hard interval day on Wednesday; followed by another 6 – 7 hour ride on Thursday; rest Friday and Saturday and then a race on Sunday. I had to extend my rest to two days because I hadn’t built the usual base from winter training in Tucson.
Week leading up to the race
I took the week off of the bike.
The night before
I worked during the day and early evening on the day prior to the race and returned home around 7:00 p.m., where I watched TV while eating copious amounts of Pad Thai, then went to sleep.
The morning of
I awoke at 11:30 a.m. after 12 hours of sleep, ate a steak and cheese sub, packed the car and headed off to the race at 1:30 p.m.
Details of the actual race
The road race was 180.25 kilometres with 14 laps and a category 4 hill climb up Rattle Snake point on the Niagara escarpment. The average speed was 39.5 kilometeres per hour. 178 riders began the race and only 42 finish. I finished in 24th place.
Here is my Garmin Connect file.
The first two laps of the race was the most selective part of the race with Team SpiderTech at the front pulling hard enough to drop 20% of the riders. Each time, I approached the hill, I’d make my way to the front of the pack in order to ensure I would be able to remain with the pack up the hill. At 6’5” and weighing 185 pounds, I pushed an average of 500 watts for 4 minutes while a 140 pound rider pushed 320 watts to achieve the same speed.
Around lap 7 with more than half the field having dropped out of the race already, there was a split at the top of the Rattle Snake climb with an attack through the feed zone. Being that my positioning was not at the front on this lap, I was stuck at the top with poor positioning and ended up in the second part of the split which turned out to be the main field. The winning break was now well up the road and gaining a time advantage over the main field. The pace was still high but the main field would not work together to chase down the winning break as Spyder Tech had 3 riders up the road with a # of their riders still in the main field. It only takes 2 or 3 riders to stop a group from riding efficiently and chasing down a break. It was in Team Spyder Tech’s best interest to allow their 3 riders along with a Bissell Pro Cycling rider to stay away.
During the last lap, I saw an opportunity to break away and came solo into the finish with another rider, Derrick St. John ( who has raced for Canada at the World Championships many times).
The best part of the race was just finishing as I knew that 75% of the field did not make it to the finish. As I had had no spring training or racing in my legs this year compared to years past (except of course for racing my fellow MGCC riders up Brimley or around the Bridle Path J J) it was a food feeling of accomplishment.
After the Race
As I ride back to where the car is parked I don’t feel tired, because I am ecstatic with my result. I quickly get undressed, throwing on the most important recovery tool, my compression tights and down a water bottle filled with Ultragen (first endurance product, amazing!!!) as I pack the car to head home.
Getting home around 11pm I quickly shower and pass out, as I have to be at work in 12hrs. I awake in the morning with a bit of pain seeing how my body is in the wtf stage and wants me to get back to sleep. I quickly eat and pack copious amounts of food for work. The good thing is my Granite Club student is buying a bike so I can get in a bit of a recovery ride with her as she test rides the bike. Usually I would spend 2 hours of the following day spinning my legs out and then resting at home with my legs in the air to further my recovery.
It took me three days to recover from this race instead of just one. In the past I would be riding full time, giving my body the proper time of rest so I may perform at my best and recovery would be faster.
My Future as a Cyclist
Next year I would love to get back to racing full time. I am going to use this result and other results from past races to demonstrate my ability when contacting teams for 2012. July is the time when teams are looking for riders for the following season. So that is what I must do; contact teams and show my interest in hopes of receiving a call back from a professional cycling team which leads to a meeting which leads to a potential contract.
I am working full time this year just to recover my costs from the previous years’ of racing. I am hoping to earn enough money this year to finance Tucson training and racing in 2012. The average annual costs for training and racing for a semi-pro team break out as follows (bikes and clothing are provided by team – all other costs have been shouldered by my #1 fan – my Mom – and myself):
Tucson winter training (airfare, accommodation, meals, parts) $6000
North America Race season travel, accommodation and food $9000
Race entry fees $3000 – $6000
Replacement parts and equipment (tires, tubes, chains) $1500
Total $19,500 – $22,500
I would like to thank the Morning Glory Crew who came out to cheer me on at the Nationals this year. It made a world of difference and gave me that extra bit of drive to make it up the Rattle Snake climb on the 14th and final lap.