Canton Cup Race Report

Canton Cup 1/2/3 Men Lap 1 from colin reuter on Vimeo.

After spending 4 hours Saturday pounding stakes and carrying barriers around at Canton, then riding a few hot laps, you might think that gave me some kind of advantage, physical or psychological. But you'd be wrong, because I'm a weenie, so I was physically beat and mentally scarred after realizing I spent an afternoon building a course that was horribly suited to me. "It's like a mile of pavement per lap!," I whined.

Still though, it's a bike race, and my mental state had actually come around quite a bit by Sunday afternoon. It was cold (40's) and windy (gusting to 40s?), and I decided this would be a good race to practice "riding smart" or "riding in a group" or whatever you want to call the sort of mid-race cooperation I normally ignore. We had 40 or so racers, great turnout for a non-Verge elite race, with a good range of skill -- from Jesse Anthony, to some chill bros who I lapped. A group for every speed!

Much to PvB's excitement I was rocking the seat cam again, unfortunately instead of 110 B men behind me it was more like "6 dudes" behind me coming off the pavement. No matter, it's a 60 minute race, the last thing I want is to get into a group that's going too fast, then I might "hurt a lot" and "do well."

The power sections were numerous but I did capture a sweet crash-and-roll on one of the few tough corners from the guy who went on to beat me by one place, check the video at 2:55. We got to the deceptively technical bike path and the pace heated up, I was going full gas, watching the wheel in the front of me and completely forgot how hard the first right hander on the path would be at race speed -- five bushes and three lost places later, I had new respect for that one (3:35 in the video).

I kept dropping places on the uphill off the bike path, it bottlenecked really hard and everyone else started running. I brilliantly decided to conserve energy by not dismounting, and there went another two places. The seat cam reveals at this point there were not many -- if any -- people still behind me.

After the mini-barriers (ridden!) the course gets tighter so I couldn't make any places, so as we hit the runup back to the track I was still about 5 places from last, and the assembled crowd let me hear their disappointment quite clearly. Buoyed by cheers and adrenaline I foolishly put the hammer down on the track and started grabbing places while trying to ride with my chest on my down tube. This maneuver ended up hurting a lot, but it did give the lean, mean, green, lyme-disease-recovering machine a wheel to chase around the track (7:10).

With a lap in the books Cort came through to add some more power, I don't remember what group we
were trying to catch but I do remember it hurting a lot. Some early use of the pain face kept me on his wheel, but I could tell this was going to be a rough next 50 minutes.

Cort pulled away after a bit and I spent the next two laps chasing him, it seemed like every time I'd see him in the next group up the road, I'd go hard to bridge there and right as I made contact he'd ride off the front again. I kind of hit my stride doing the bridge-rest-bridge-rest racing through laps 3-5, so I eventually reeled Cort in and tried to tell him (in that typical mid-race idiotic conversation way) that I was not enjoying chasing him around. He responded with a mean pull on the bike path that got us nearly onto the next group, containing Guenter Hofer and some other dudes.

By now we were reaching the just-hang-on stage of the race, though, so simple things like "stay on that group" were pretty tough, as a result of some fast pulls from a guy in a tri team kit (shocking!) Cort and I both got gapped again. I figured I owed him one so I put in possibly the first recorded pull of my life on the bike path to try to get us back on. It kind of worked, we didn't get there but we were close enough that I made contact by riding the mini barriers.

From here on out I was focused on clinging to the wheel in front of me for the last two laps. We ended up forming a group of five (Guenter,Brian aka "the tri kit guy," Soren who crashed on lap one, myself and some guy in a Rite Aid kit). Unbeknownst to me, Cort got gapped during this process and got left in the wind alone, which led to the end of our shit-talking times together. Also unbeknownst to me, the "dude in a Rite Aid kit" was Robbie King, who was back here screwing around for unknown reasons. On the last lap he decided he wanted to ride away instead of winning the five-up sprint (which he also could have done quite easily) and attacked. This was a big old hurt sandwich for the rest of us as sticking with attacks by (former?) road pros isn't exactly something I do regularly. After a minute of frantic full throttle chasing our group was shattered and he was gone.

I was still kind of with Guenter and Soren, but the gaps were getting big. Guenter seemed even more blown than I was, so I went past and tried to bridge across one last time, I got to Soren's wheel but it was too big an effort to survive at the 60 minute mark. I had reached the awesome cramping-calves-while-running stage of fatigue, so when he dropped the hammer on the plane of pain (aka "the track") I folded like a cheap shirt,eventually rolling in six seconds back in 20th.

It turned out to be a lot more fun than I was expecting because of all the group riding -- a 60 minute TT on that course would have been murder. I've mostly come around on Canton -- it's a classic, right? Even if it's a stupid classic. Heck, it's our stupid classic. See you next year.

Linnea couldn't repeat her 2nd from New Gloucester the day before, and was forced to settle for 4th after a crash. My sympathy for someone who won enough prize money over the weekend to swim in it was minimal, but I gave it my best effort. You know how those pros are, head cases, the lot of 'em.

Addendum: After two laps I was riding behind Pete Bradshaw going onto the track and someone said to me "use him like a Kleenex." That's awesome, whoever that was.


Ryan said…
Big fan of the continued use of tracks from Alive.
pvb said…
Q: "What the f' kind of line was that Pierre?"
A (inaudible): "Exploratory."
Colin R said…
Yeah buddy. You're off the list of wheels I like following.

Although it should be noted that I took myself straight into that bush a few laps later because I was looking across the field, instead of at the upcoming turn.
matt said…
"deceptively technical bike path "

I laughed
solobreak said…
The Canton course facilitates great racing, which is all you should ask of a course. After all, it's a race, not a ride. And if it rains, it can get quite greasy and more challenging to stay upright. Bing only 8 miles from home doesn't hurt either. Good job.
Bad Brad said…
You gotta tape that thing to your handle bars.
josh said…
good stuff. esp the dkny dude crashing early, that was just funny (esp cause it wasn't me).
gewilli said…
either your teeth were chattering wicked loud or ya need a more secure mount... but then how the hell would colinR race without a bike that was making some annoying noise

thanks for busting ass setting the course up!
Colin R said…
The noise is the light tapping of the camera against a seat rail. Problem is the mic is right next to it.

I'm going to try to wedge something soft in there next time, maybe it will cut down on the shaking as well. But there's not much suspension between the camera and the ground no matter what you do.
gewilli said…
maybe you can tape it to your ass

using some foam and a somewhat elastic mount should help the noise a bit... i was waiting for the bumpy wet section before the path to see how distorted the shots got...

and i wasn't disappointed...
G-ride said…
Mad props to a skinny guy who was able to HOLD a wheel at Canton.

I have decided that I still hate that race. Maybe one year it wont be gale force winds and I might like it. But right now it still feels like G-ster in a hurricane.

Not my cup o tea...sniff sniff. poor me...sniff sniff.

Colin R said…
jerry -

my strategery was to either be groveling on someone's wheel or bridging a gap like a bat out of hell. it worked reasonably well for half and hour until I lost the ability to bridge gaps of any size. then i just wheel sucked.

i also *never* passed anyone on the technical corners, I just tried to rest as much as possible so I could go with the inevitable acceleration on the next straight.
G-ride said…
upon reflection I have decided that I can survive on rear facing camera footage of races alone. this will allow me to sell all my bike shite and spend my weekends at home with my kids in my nice comfy house, watching sports on the couch and drinking.

thanks so much.

Oh, and did you get the "lay on the top tube on the track" idea from me? I think the officials thought I was serious when I did it riding past them. Sigh.

I almost stopped and turned around right there and just chatted. Why is it so hard to quit a cross race?
matt said…
sounds like jerry needs an intervention.
G-ride said…
no, i really really think the backwards camera is BRILLIANT!

Damn that kid is wicked smaht.
Colin R said…
no, man, i think matt's right.
G-ride said…
"use him like a Kleenex."

In Monopoli at Worlds, Curtis (SWD) and I coined the phrase "Make him you b*tch!"

I also wore a selle italia banner as a giant diaper.

That is some hard core heckling right there.

ps: * = "i"
gewilli said…
now how the hell are we gonna all get up to G-ride's for the intervention?

Maybe we can bungy G-ride to Myette at NoHo...

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