Canadian Cyclist


May 14/12 17:15 pm - Byer Report -A Mother’s Day Saga: Reckoning on Bristol Mountain

Posted by Editoress on 05/14/12

Another tongue-in-cheek (we assume) report from David Byer...

The 19th annual Bristol Mountain road race was held on Saturday, May 12th.  I arrived in the Finger Lakes region mere minutes before sign-in closed, with my Octto-Cervélo teammates - just in time to start under a beautiful clear sky and low barometric pressure.  We arrived by donkey back after smuggling ourselves across Lake Ontario on a stolen row boat.  I rowed the entire way.  When you are travelling with a rider that has all vowels in his first name and all consonants in his last name, it is best to avoid the border.  Also, teammate Kevin Black is wanted in 12 states for crimes unrelated to cycling.

Everyone knows that there is absolutely nothing more important in the world than cycling... except your mother.  On this past Saturday, your sole focus should have been to prepare for a day of celebration with the woman who reared you and gave you your first breath.  That is, unless, you come from true cycling lineage.  In that case, your mother was likely slumped over her laptop all weekend, screaming every time the pirated EuroSport stream of the Giro d’Italia so much as flickered.  Luckily Kevin, Yuri, Pete and I were all forged from the very DNA of cycling and have supportive families.

The Bristol Mountain race consists of four large laps; each lap featuring two significant climbs and speedy descent to the finish line.  There are 47 varieties of trees native to the area; and they were all pollinating.  The encircled Mountain Ski resort was established in 1964, has an elevation gain of 1200 feet, and it best known as the site of Senator Robert Kennedy’s alpine antics.   We rolled out at 10 am.  The Genesee Valley Cycling Club was right on schedule. If I had to describe my state of mind as a type of pepper at this moment, it was Scotch Bonnet.

Bristol Mountain is typically a race of attrition.  With little distance between the climbs, riders play a chess game of surging Pawns and wheel sucking Bishops with Kings conserving energy for the decisive moment.  The Mount Bora team was the first to sacrifice a Pawn and once we hit the slopes, the attrition game started.

At some point, I tried a short acceleration on a rise and was followed by the lead group.  As we folded into the pack, I slid backwards in an attempt to recuperate as disaster struck.  Another surge followed and I found myself as the last rider in the shrinking peloton.  Suddenly, a deer darted out of the woods and plow-kicked me chest.  It was a sign.  I had forsaken my mother and nature was retaliating.  I crashed; not physically, but emotionally.

Not to make excuses but, normally I would not have been in this position.  It is just that the climbs that I am used to are much longer and steeper.  Had we been on a true mountain pass with far less oxygen, I am sure that I would have danced my way back and straight past the field.  However, today it was not to be so I decided to help my team in the best way that I could; by standing on the side of the road and transferring my own strength via interpretive dance.

Around this point, the difficulty of the road and the pace of riders like the formidable Bruce Bird of Wheels of Bloor had split the field.  A select group had formed at the fore containing Bruce, Dan Timmerman of No Tubes and the always resilient Peter Morse of Octto-Cervélo.  This group would press on, forcing a large gap between them, the chase group and the ever shrinking peloton.

For those who don’t know Peter Morse, don’t worry; he already knows you.  At a glance, he knows your blood type, weaknesses and can estimate your Vo2 Max within 0.02%.  He is the most calculating and precise practitioner of the cycling arts that you may ever encounter. Unfortunately, he was up against the Bird man.  Bruce stands approximately 7 ft tall on tree trunk legs with the silvery glint of a killer in his eye.  He is said to crack the ground when he walks and it is rumoured that his vat-like torso contains a third and fourth lung.

Octto-Cervélo comrades Kevin and Yuri sat comfortably in the peloton behind the leaders, setting a brisk pace only on the climbs, thereby reducing the field to a handful of opponents.  A brilliant strategy; it allowed them to sprint into the final money spots while never endangering the Morse/Bird moment of reckoning.

In the break, legs became heavy as the Bird can only fly.  On the final lap, only Peter Morse could follow the pace.  As the wind speed increased, I changed my focus from Energy Transferring to signal scrambling waves of confusion.  While I was certain of Peter “the surgeon” Morse’s tactical methodology, we were leaving no risks.  With the Bird’s digital integrated shifting inoperable, there was no question what the outcome would be.

After jumping clear on the final rise, Peter Morse screamed down the final descent and stormed across the finishing straight to emphatically stamp the first victory of the season; verily, in the history of Octto-Cervélo.  Children screamed with excitement, adversaries became associates and a single dove took flight.  I fell to my knees and wept.




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