When I awoke in the Toronto suburbs, the weather man could not make it through his morning forecast without mentioning several NHL hockey teams. The forecast was that the Leafs were gonna score some goals, it was gonna be cold, wet and windy, and I was gonna have as much fun as possible. Half Acre was going international.
Save for one century, the past 7 Sundays have been race days for me, so I had that going for me when I got up in Toronto Sunday morning. I did snooze for an hour and my breakfast was not normal and my level of hydration far from ideal, but it was really biz as usual. I got all set and rolled through the empty streets to the ski chalet that housed registration. I entered a race that I feared I might be a little over qualified for, but it was the first one of the day and I was able to enter by buying a 1-day Canadian license. I figured I was not really 'on top of my game' and I wanted to allow us all to check out of the hotel w/ time to spare so I pinned up and pre-rode regardless.
When rolling around the course and taking everything in I started to feel great -- mentally at least. It was really cool to ride up the mini-mountain and look down on Toronto and wherever else it looked down on. When they fired the gun, I was in the top 10 around the first corner into the barriers. After those I was in 3rd and feeling like the guys in front of me were slow and that I was a filthy sandbagger. Once we started climbing though, those thoughts started to fade and I began to play the maintain game.
It was really cool to hear the Canadian announcer mentioning my name and team and the fact that I was in 2nd ascending this huge hill, but the motivation was not sustainable. When I later heard him call Dura Ace "durr-atch-eee" I thought that was even cooler, but I had other things on my mind at that point. I did get passed by another couple of riders eventually and settled into as comfortable a 4th place as possible despite a pretty fast crash descending the second portion of the hill. Overall it was an absolute brutalizer, but there were a few sections that were as fun or more than any race I've done in the states.
I met a few really cool people too. It was a great experience that would've been the same on all accounts if I had raced the Ontario equivalent of my current Category. Thanks to Canada for providing plenty of starch and a little good-hearted joke fodder. I never got my case of Brio, but I've got every intention of going back next year. TO, ho!