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Niagara Region, Canada
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Tour of Bronte Race Report - Dan Dakin

Lessons Learned

All I remember seeing was a cloud of dust, and then a CHCH rider lying across the gravel road.

This is going to hurt...

It was my third Tour of Bronte and I've enjoyed racing it ever time I've had the opportunity to do so. There's something about tearing off of the pavement and onto a gravel road that's incredibly fun. I still don't know how to classify this race. It's not really a road race considering there are only a couple of kilometres per lap of pavement. But it's definitely not a cross race. It's just the Tour of Bronte.

My day started with a bit of chaos when I realized - one hour before the start - that I had somehow forgotten to register for the race. I'd signed up for 3 or 4 races a while ago and was certain I'd included Bronte in the list, but as I sat in my car frantically going through my email and Visa statements, I realized the mistake was entirely my fault - Lesson Learned.

After some pleading with the race organizers they let me sign up and I was off.

The Intermediate Race had all of the elite women, a pile of Master 2, Master 3, Senior 3 and junior racers in it. It was the largest field of the day and I knew staying near the front would be key.

Right off the start the jostling for position began and within the first couple of laps I had found myself in the front half of the race when the pack split apart.

A group of three CHCH riders took off up the road and built up an insurmountable lead. With each passing lap more riders from our chase group were dropping off. Avoiding flats were the biggest challenge of the day and I knew I just had to bide my time and ride smart.

As the bell sounded for the final lap, I was in the front 15 or so of the chase group and figured I'd try to make a move with a few other riders with a couple of kilometres to go. I knew the three lead guys were long gone, but I thought perhaps a Top 5 or Top 10 was pretty realistic.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out.

Just over a bit of a bumpy bridge on the gravel section of the course, there was suddenly a crash about 10 metres in front of me. I thought about going left or right, but there were guys down on both sides. Instead, I hit the brakes and hoped I could avoid it. A big cloud of dust in front of me cleared and there, lying less than half a metre in front of my wheel was a CHCH rider. It was too late to even attempt a bunny hop. I just slammed into him and violently flipped forward. I slammed down on my hands and knees and looked around to see around 10 people involved in the day's worst crash.

I was in pain, but after checking to make sure nothing was broken, I stood up and looked at the bike. Shockingly, my reliable Giant CX bike was intact. Not even a twisted handlebar. The commissaries were asking who wanted to DNF, but I figured I'd soft pedal around to the finish alongside a friend of mine who had caught up with me on the course.

We slowly rode the rest of the loop, until the final 500 metres when I realized a large pack of 30 or so riders was flying up behind me. I knew I had enough of a lead on them that if I pushed a bit harder, I'd stay in front. "Gotta go," I yelled to my friend.

I managed to finish a few metres in front of the pack and finished in a respectable 28th. Not exactly my goal for the day, but I was happy nonetheless.

I learned two things - make sure you confirm your race registrations before going to a race; and just because you crash, it doesn't mean you can't still have a good result.

Dan Dakin

1 comment:

  1. sounds like you guys need some clerical help to manage the team administrative duties! Good job, and good report.