MGCC Ride & Race - The Wheels of Bloor Assault
Occasionally I race on Zwift. Ok, ok, I race on Zwift about 2-3 times per week. Sometimes it is more serious than others, but as soon as the heart rate gets over 160bpm, everything becomes more serious. This week was no exception.
A bit about this event…
The Morning Glory Cycling Club’s Ride and Race is, on the surface, a nice experience. It’s usually a three lap, 45 minute race that starts off with a neutral lap. Since the race starts on lap two it is not simple to get away while the double draft is active. It takes a concerted effort by 4-5 riders to really break that elastic with the bunch or it all comes back together. Combine that with the course selection, which is usually flat, and you need to go deep or be content to watch others stand on the virtual podium at the end.
So, what happened today?
Today we had almost 40 riders in the starting pen, however only a few caught my eye:
Demetre Kalkounis (Wheels of Bloor) - Powerhouse this year! Literally off the charts if it comes down to a drag race. He will TT you to death.
Ian Scott (Wheels of Bloor) - Always a threat if you can’t get him off your wheel,especially with a downhill finish.
Luiz Lanfredi (Splunk) - Strong finisher
Chris Harris (MGCC) - Punchy rider who can get away with help
Knowing the mix helps prepare mentally for what is to come. Also knowing that Ian and Demetre race together in real life, expect some team tactics (just like the TeamEN work-over Saturday!).
Good times. Minimize effort, stay behind the beacon (Hans Winter) and get ready for Lap 2. Wife surprised me by actually coming down to spin early, abducting a fan along the way. Marriage +1, Cooling -1. Power-ups - XP/Feather
Soft attacks after we cross the banner. 5-6w/kg on the front until we hit the slope down into the tunnel. No one seems to be taking up the attack to continue, riders all sit up and the bunch continues to ride around 3.5 w/kg.
I try to put some pressure on the weaker legs - a bit of a push up out of the tunnel on the 3% ramp. No one follows. Zero. Three second gap opens until the base of the switchbacks up to the Italia Village not enough to go solo for 15km. I drop back and sit in as we start into the false flat up the switches. I give it another shot on the last ramp and see what kind of damage can be done. This time, I get a bit of company over the last lump before the Village but it all comes back together. Another attack goes up the hill before the Esses, but since it was expected and not too heavy, it comes back.Heading into Lap 3, there are still 15 or so riders together. Power ups: Draft/Feather
Surprisingly, given the side of the pack no one wants to start attacking early. There’s enough strength to sit in unless someone gets serious. It takes us until the switchbacks to see who this is. I’m about 10th wheel and I see Demetre’s avatar stand up just after we cross the dam. We’re in the warning zone here about 5km from the finish where a break can spell the end. Demetre just gives it.
I do 500w in his draft for the next kilometer as we take this small hill. Surveying the damage at the top, we have finally caused a 10 second split and there are ten of us left, Demetre, Ian, Luiz, Chris, Michael H, Ben McNabb, Andrey and two unknowns - Guido and Miles. The pace slows as we head through the sprint banner and I drop my feather for something more useful in a showdown between some of these more serious sprinters.
After we had regrouped, I thought Demetre’s matches were burned, they weren’t. He leads an attack up the hill leading into the Esses. I have to jump on at 10w/kg to hold on. Cresting the hill with me, and sitting in Demetre’s draft is Ian, his teammate. I immediately revert to the PTSD caused by Sunday’s Hang On ride. Thankfully we are shortly joined by Luiz and I hope he can put in some counters to what I expect to be a 1-2 punch.
AGAIN, Demetre goes in the last kilometer. I try to keep pace, but a gap begins to go, one second… two seconds… ugh, not going to bring this one back solo. Ian isn’t going to work, is Luiz going to close it? Nope, elastic breaks and we let Demetre go. I was wishful that we could maybe catch him in the sprint, but that would require some colossal work on behalf of Luiz and I which didn’t materialize. So, the sprint for the podium was on.
I had a drafting power up, so I was no way in the driver’s seat. When we passed the 400m mark, I threw it on defensively, hoping that someone was going to drop some watts. Chasing Demetre had drained me pretty hard, towel was gone, jersey was unzipped and I was doing my best to recover as much as possible. Eventually Luiz pops an aero and it looks like both Ian and I have drafting power ups. It’s the kind of finish that I would have liked to avoid. My legs want none of it but I am able to hang on long enough to barely pass Luiz at the line but not enough to close the deal with Ian, who threw down an exceptionally strong finishing sprint, tossing out 1100w to get past Luiz and I.
Overall, I’m not sure if the result would have been better any other way. If I had caught Demetre, I would have pulled Luiz if not Ian up there as well. I would have burned my matches and perhaps ended up 4th. We will have to see how the Nationals shape up. Demetre will be a force to contend with if he participates!