It's been a few weeks since my last post, I've been incredibly busy at work as I'm shooting for an August 15th Thesis submission and my experimental probe keeps self-destructing. Since the Nationals, I continued to train hard, but didn't do any races with the exception of 2 editions of the Mardis Cyclistes, missing the July 5th edition with work getting in the way, but as it turned out, there was a bit of rain minutes before the start which turned the road into a bit of an ice rink. I was upset to miss it but when I heard of the crashes I was able to feel slightly better to avoid that kind of danger.
On the June 28th race however I was feeling really good and with my new goal of getting at least one point in the series in mind, was doing a good job of staying at the front for the bulk of the race. Finally on the 5th Prime I wound it up as I thought it would be the easiest way to take some points, as the major players would be saving some energy for the final sprint. As it turned out I won the prime from the pack, which I was ecstatic about, thinking I had won a prime, but a break of 3 formed up the road so I was 4th, but still! I got 7 points! Then I established a new goal of getting some points in the final sprint. In my experience so far, it's not entirely about your strength as a sprinter, but about positioning yourself in the right place at the right moment. Mardis is still a pretty small race and having full teams of strong domestiques to keep the pace high is not the case. When there are no guys dedicated to driving the front, the tendency of the pack is to slow down at the front (guys get to the front and don't want to bury themselves) so some movement from the back will come around. There is a bit of circular flow!
As a solo rider at Lachine, I don't have the luxury of a leadout train (nor do I think I would deserve one at this point) so I need to be a bit sneaky. Sticking on the wheels of the big sprinters is usually a good tactic, or paying attention to the breakaway artists and jumping with them can also work. I was hoping to employ this at the next race.
On the July 12 edition, after conquering the Vermont Six Gaps I tried just that. After an initial break went away with Veilleux once more, I tried to watch for guys making a move for the breakaway. I got on the wheel of a rider from Garneau as he attacked and we worked together with another from GTH to try to bridge up to the Veilleux group. Not more than a lap had passed when I found myself completely in the red zone and decided to head back to the Peleton instead of gassing myself completely. As it turned out, shortly thereafter a group of 8 formed and took advantage on the pack. This meant a stalemate against the top 2 in the series GC, J-F Laroche of Cycle Regis and Martin Gilbert of Spidertech which Laroche seemed happy with and Gilbert had no teammates to argue with. This meant for me that the race was mostly over with all of the points up the road. I regret not trying to stick it out with the break, even though they did get caught, because even if I blew a gasket the end result would be the same.
Tomorrow will be a big challenge with 4 big teams, JetFuel (6), Garneau (6), Ride with Rendall (5), Kallisto (4) and one guy from Spidertech. In my opinion, none of the teams are far superior to others, so unlike the case in Quebec where Garneau needs to be happy with the composition of the break for it to work, I think the teams will be able to neutralize each other if they're not represented up the road. Ryan Roth of Spidertech is also incredibly strong, so I think he'll just wait until a break seems to stick and then bridge up.
I'm not really sure how it's going to play out but I know what wheels I need to follow and I'll hope for the best.
Wish me Luck!