Submitted by Yuri Hrycaj
Joe Martin Stage Race day 4.
Good Morning. My legs seemed confused by this statement seeing as I had to check to make sure they were still attached. It was rough just walking over to the washroom and getting off the seat as so many of us know, can be an epic struggle; one that can require more watts than the final sprint. Lucky for me, I had been the sole competitor for the “Lantern Rouge”, so I had not had the luxury… err, chance… of sprinting.
The days have been long, and the weather great – if you happen to be a duck. With my morale waning, I keep going, rather than dropping out of the race. Coming into the race I did all my homework, I was fit. I made the people on the P90X exercise videos look like their before photos. Something just didn’t click, maybe I had gone a little too far in the fitness pool, too little in the freshness. So I paid the price. I will finish as the Lantern Rouge. It’s easy to just drop out of any race or competition. Finding the drive to actually finish – to keep going, to be able to say you finished, is hard. Finishing dead last (with a huge time gap to boot) was the hardest thing I have ever done. I will be forever remembered as “Lantern Rouge” at the Joe Martin stage race of 2013.
On a brighter note, today’s weather was beautiful. The race, however, was much shorter in length – 85 minutes. It happened to be a Criterium with a sharp hill in the middle of it. Someone dreamt up this nightmare of a course. The normal criterium format is flat with lots of tight turns. When a punchy hill is thrown in as well, it’s just plain cruel for both Crit racers and climbers alike. As soon as the race started, all hell broke loose. The crit riders moved up on the small flat portions and in the corners. The climbers would drill it on the hill. Either way, both were losing spots to one another regardless of your talent. As for me, I suffered as long as I could, and after my legs got torn off I was forced to pedal with my arms, and not long after they fell off too. It was time to pack it in and call it a day. Team mates Anton, Travis, and Luis were all going strong like diesel, but as time went on, they too faded. Anton got caught behind a crash with about 4 or 5 laps to go ending his race on a sour note.
My racing experience at Joe martin has been a big one, a life lesson that will stay with me forever. Racing strong in Ontario means just one thing; you are strong in Ontario. In the cycling world, you are basically a fetus, unable to defend yourself or prepare yourself for what is about to happen. I am glad I had this experience so that I am now able to mature as a rider. 4 days of good racing, 170km+ back to back stages. My team mates and I have learned a great deal about ourselves and each other. I thought I was going to finish this race as “Lantern Rouge,” but as fate would have it, I did not even last long enough in the crit to attain this title. I have now been shelled out of the rankings as if I was never in it. That goes to show you that in this race, even finishing dead last is difficult. I now know what to expect of the race next year, and boy do I have a lot of arm curls to do.
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