Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Race Report: CHIN International

Yesterday, a teammate sent around an email reminding us that the CHIN road race in Toronto was set for today. I've never done the event, for a couple of reasons:

1) It's a road race. Enough said.
2) It's on Canada Day and usually Canada Day is a long weekend without a race, so I take full advantage on a dock somewhere

This year, lacking the long weekend and having nothing better to do (besides sleep in ... ohhh hindsight), I mentally bookmarked the race figuring if I remembered to go, I'd do it.

So this morning I woke up and still somewhat non-committal, had my breakfast telling myself I'd just go down and take a look at who's racing before dropping my 60 bucks on the entry fee (*gasp*).

The other thing about Canada Day 2009 is that it was supposed to piss rain all day. Another strike against doing this race since wet roads combined with tight packs, plentiful corners and skinny tires is a recipe for a broken collarbone and road rash. However, defying the odds, the sun shone all day long. So after riding all the way down to the CNE grounds, getting kitted up and everything, how could I not enter?

Feeling more than a little unprepared, I went through the ordeal of pinning on my numbers. For some reason roadies are freaks about this little ritual. It has to be done "just so" or else you'll be DQ'd. So numbers on the left, off I went to warm up. I certainly felt like the little fish when sharks like Merril Collins (National Criterium Champ) rolled by.

On the start line, the usual roadie conversations ensued. I felt even more out of place. At least I kind of looked like I belonged -- I mean, my shorts matched my jersey and I remembered to wear white socks and everything.

The whistle blew and we were off. Well, they were off. I on the other hand suffered a "wardrobe malfunction" right off the bat: my cleat would NOT clip into my pedal. It is really hard to start a race when only one shoe is fixed to the bike. I tried again, and the girls got farther away. I tried once more, and the girls got even farther ahead. And then -- as is the case in road races if you screw up as I did -- it was pretty much over. With the pace and the headwinds, it became quickly apparent that I was not going to be bridging the gap.

So ... you can guess how the rest of the race went. Not much more to say.

The bright side? I got a good workout, worked a bit on my cycling tan lines, and since I was all alone, I am sure I got some nice solo shots by the photographers lining the course. Hopefully they show up online somewhere.

Thanks CHIN for reminding me why I don't like criteriums.

Happy Canada Day!

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