May 22/12 13:17 pm - Dave Byer Report – 14th Annual Niagara Classic Road Race
Posted by Editoress on 05/22/12
Victoria Day means many different things to many different Canadians. For some, it is sitting on the dock at your cottage or camping in the rain while for others, it is logging 18 hours of dead-stop traffic time. For some, it is hitting the lake on a Jet Ski, while for others it is getting your car impounded at a RIDE program stop. And, for few people of questionable aptitude, it is a torturous day of bike racing.
All of these different pursuits are an abhorrent insult to the true meaning of the Tew-Foar weekend; a celebration of the majesty of Queen Victoria and the Commonwealth that we are so fortunate to be a part of. For some reason, I packed up a van with Octto-Cervélo teammates and set off to log some good old fashioned bumper-to-bumper holiday traffic time and eventually a bike race.
We arrived to an unseasonably warm afternoon with high UV, a 12,000 ft ceiling and a air quality index warning. Having done a pre-ride of 12 laps of the course at 10 pm of the previous evening, I had every centimetre committed to memory so that I could brief Pete, Kevin and Yuri. Our strategy was simple and twofold: First, I was to appear on the start line as if I were to actually contest the race. Since I am unquestionably one of the most inspirational athletes of a generation, I would attract enough attention to take the pressure off of our secret weapon. Second, I was to sandblast the yellow line off of the majority of the roads on the course to cause havoc in the Master 1 field that would be following us.
For those of you who do not know Octto-Cervélo rider Yuri Hyrcaacjzx [Ed. - Hrycaj], he is our secret weapon: our little weapons-grade Ukranium powered Missile. In fact, none of us on the team know much about him either. He speaks no English except the word “bicycle”, with the only other word I can understand being Chernobyl. He gained a spot on the team by showing up to all of our rides on a CCM Black Ice model bike and sprinting for every mailbox we passed. We still don’t know how he found out about these rides.
On the start line, with our strategy in full swing, I took note of some of the ‘ones-to-watch’. The always powerful Jeff ‘don’t-call-me-Jeffrey’ Schiller was present with his Garneau-Quebecor-Norton squad. Maybe his teammate Zach ‘cute-as-a-button’ Hughes would survive the attrition and catch air off the last ascent. Or maybe we should be carefully watching Jet Fuel Coffee with Man-ton Varabei’s audacious attacking style. And of course, we could not let the riders on Real Deal/La Bicicletta, full of zeal, get too far up the road. So it began.
Lap 1: With riders cautious of the smog advisory, the real Real Deal rider Ed ‘the-real-deal’ Veal took off on a peel and reeled in leading rider James ‘jet-pack’ Larmer to reveal an early break of two.
Lap 2: This course is dominated by one feature - the Effingham hill - with the finish line at the top. [Ed. - 100 metres of elevation gain per lap, with a max grade of 18%, for a 1000 metre total gain.] After the first time up, riders regrouped, with a few attempts to get away and bridge up to the leading duo.
Lap 3: The early break was truly starting to form. Real Deal Rider Anthony ‘doobul-daown’ Walsh had bridged up as well as Man-ton Varabei. Man-ton is best known for vicious attacks, pouring diesel fuel on his breakfast cereal and looking eerily similar to more composite suspect sketches than any other bike racer in Ontario.
Lap 4: The early break was no longer an early break. It was clear that the selection was made. Chris ‘59’ Freeland, and Zach ‘don’t-you-just-want-to-eat-him’ Hughes had joined forces with Veal, Larmer, Walsh, Varabei and our very own Yuri Hyarcczjzax [Ed. - Yuri H.].
The break had an advantage on this lap. Getting bored of climbing the hill, Ed Veal screamed at it and the road actually flattened in fear before returning to its original composition.
Lap 5: While “effing the ham” for the fifth time, Octto-Cervélo Teammates Kevin Black and Peter Morse realized that the peloton had no chance and left them behind. They had been sitting on with the Missile up the road and decided to ride away from the ever shrinking group.
Lap 6: The dynamic in the break had started to change. Walsh and Schiller made a little dig and pulled out an advantage. Man-Ton began to chase with Yuri the only one left to help the effort. Ed the real deal Veal could feel the appeal about his man up the road. He made a spiel that made them feel that the deal was easy to seal.
Lap 7 & 8: I am not sure what happened on these laps as I had fallen asleep under Alex Sanna's Soigneur Race Service tent. Tew-Foar bro! [Ed. - This was the point that David's DNF became apparent to the readers of this article.]
Lap 9: As the heat got hotter and the air quality did NOT improve, the race turned into a sweaty slog. Peter Morse and Kevin Black ripped their way through some of the riders cast off from the intensity of the break. After Walsh and Schiller crested, Man-Ton, Real Deal and finally Octto-Cervélo’s Yuri Hyjarcaczjzzz [Ed. - I give up.] all appeared with small gaps in between each of them setting up a final lap showdown.
Lap 10: The lead four came together on the final lap. Yuri chased down the lead valiantly but ran out of road. In the end, Walsh and Schiller were able to put daylight between themselves and the others with Anthony (pronounced Antnee in his native Ireland) taking the victory after a convincing surge on the final time up the “Eff”. Not many riders had marked Anthony Walsh but I had totally called it at the start of the race. You see, as a nation, we have lost our way. We have no reverence for the Commonwealth that gave us our identity. It is only fitting that an Irishman would show up the Canadian peloton on the day of our Queen.
*this report is 100% factual. [Ed. - Except for this line.]
Niagara Classic results