Crossing the border
Bonjour, I know it's been a while since I last wrote. As nobody emailed to ask when I would be...
August 30, 2007
I know it's been a while since I last wrote. As nobody emailed to ask when I would be adding another diary entry I quickly realised that nobody wants to read it, and that I'm not that important. It is a hard lesson, and I'm glad I learned it at such a young age!
My life for the past few months has been on the road, although I have upgraded from team van to aeroplane. Yeah baby, moving up in the world!
Amongst a whole cluster of races I have been doing the team mounted up and headed north across the border into uncharted territory - Canada. Well, to be a little more specific, Quebec. Little France. Quebexico. The team was due to compete in two races, both of which were very important for our sponsor Louis Garneau. We would be doing a criterium on Friday night in Magog and then the Montreal - Quebec 250 km Classic on Sunday.
We were greeted by Pierre and Marie from Louis Garneau at the Montreal airport and quite simply treated like royalty for the entire weekend. The other boys that were at Downers Grove were missing out! We ate like kings and I was even fortunate enough to have a nice ride, on some slightly damp roads, on Pierre's 650cc Motard bike. You couldn't wipe the smile form my face the whole weekend!
Anyway, yeah, yeah, we raced our bikes too. We all pedaled really hard. The team was David "the King of Quebec" Veilleux, Tim "the tool man" Henry, Austin "Kingers" King and Stevo (Cody was still off riding that motorcycle!). In the Magog criterium David and I managed to get away in a break of five, after Tim and Austin had set us up perfectly by covering some early moves. After the five of us got away, they both controlled the bunch with an iron fist, allowing David and myself to make good our escape.
We all rotated well in the front and then with four laps to go the two Jittery Joe's boys began to one - two them. David attacked first, a lap later I attacked and got a gap, I was caught with about a lap and a half to go and David threw the smack down, escaping on his own to take a great victory. I took the sprint for second making it a one-two for the team while Tim and Austin, both being loyal team-mates, helped by keeping the bunch at bay. Magog is the home town of Pierre from Louis Garneau, so it was pleasing to be able to perform well.
Sunday's race was a little different, about 200 kilometres different! The Montreal - Quebec classic is the oldest race in North America and is presented by Louis Garneau. The race finishes outside the Garneau factory in St. Augustin, on the outskirts of Quebec City. With a field of nearly 200 riders we would have to be attentive.
Tim covered the first serious move and Austin was caught in a race-ending crash while David and I slipped away in 'the move' which would stay away to the end - all this in just the first 30 kilometres! It seemed like somebody forgot to tell these guys it was 250 kilometres to Quebec. So we stayed away for 200 kilometres at 45 kph before hitting the small climbs littering the final 30 kilometres.
I couldn't cross when Greg Reian from Calyon broke free but David countered and drove a group of four in pursuit of Reian. I played policeman as the five in front all worked together and had a nice gap with around five kilometres to go.
At four kilometres from the finish there was a steep pinch so I attacked my group to get a gap but I was caught within a kilometre or so and one guy passed me at the finish. After finishing seventh I was keen to see if David had been able to pull off the win, but alas, he was second - beaten by a rider who played a smart race, I didn't notice him 'driving' the break at all.
Second and seventh with Tim finishing safely in the main group was not a bad result to pull off in front of the sponsor's house. We finished up the day with another great meal and a kip in the Louis Garneau club house (check akingslife.com for photos).
I must point out the talent of David Veilleux. He is a guy who has only ridden a handful of races with the team this year, but each time he has impressed me, the management and the other riders. If only he turned up to races with a clean bike, but I guess that's what happens when you are 19. Yes, second in a 250 kilometre race at 19, born in 1987. Yes, we are all old! David has some serious horse power for a teenager!
A big thank you must go out to Pierre and his family and Marie and her family for hosting us, feeding us and making our time in Canada so enjoyable.
I then spent the week with my family, whom I have not see in many years, in upstate New York. I had a great time there, but I can't say the same for the race I did in Binghamton. I couldn't fight my way out of a wet paper bag!
Next up is 10k and then Michigan, then California, then Vegas, then California, then - at some stage in October - Australia.
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