August 10, 2014
Windsor Park Criterium

The Windsor Park Criterium is a wide open flat criterium in Oak Bay put on by OBB. Coincidentally, it’s the course for my first ever bike race. The turnout was good (45 in the As) because no other races conflict on the calendar.

In a flat, non-selective race there is still in fact an order to things. The accelerations and pace order the riders based on fitness, experience and handling ability. Stronger riders exchange pulls and attacks at the front while those unable to spend much time in the wind, draft. Some riders with lower tt ability can stay at the front based on their handling ability while some tt powerhouses drift mid-pack due to weaker accelerations or lower handling proficiency.

I personally separate the field into thirds and try my best to stay near the front. Assuming the race finishes in a sprint. it’s best to be in the front few wheels on the final corner as it may be impossible to overtake a closely matched sprinter. Vying for position anywhere much farther back rarely yields much benefit.

So the questions is, why attack or go off the front if breaks are bound to fail? If you are not a dominant sprinter, then a break is a mini-field sprint. Even for non-sprinters, a break with 3 riders guarantees a podium position in what can be loosely considered a field sprint.
How does a break succeed? A break is more likely to succeed if the most represented teams have at least one rider in the break and they feel that their rider has an option to win. This example is most obvious in the 2014 Bastion Square Provincial Criterium Championships. Initially, there was a break with two teams represented for 20-laps. (H&R + Trek.) Then, once the break was caught a new one was formed with the three dominant teams and the group lapped the field in at most 7 laps. Late breaks have better chance of succeeding because of opponent fatigue and bureaucratic imputus. Race organizers know this and give primes to keep races dynamic and interesting. Riders in big criteriums may choose to throw away their chances at winning the race because of a lucrative crowd prime. FYI, prime means bonus in French. If you don’t trust me, look at your bilingual food packaging.

So the Winsor cirterium was animated early on with a number of break attempts from various riders. From the early the first few laps a group of 6-8 broke away but it was chased down before it would stick. I tried a number of times to stretch the elastic and form a fresh break but to no avail. In the final three laps Gillian Careton offered a lead out for a sprint. It’s remarkable but no surprise that she can maintain such a calm demeanour in the crucial final laps of crit . On the final lap at corner one, Dustin Andrews from Trek Red Truck made a late dash and managed to hold it to the line with Cid Martinez in close pursuit with Issac Leblanc a few lengths behind. For me it was a mix of chasing wheels and trying to bridge to Gillian on the final stretch. Emile Derosnay had fresher legs and drag raced his way to 4th in front of me. Thanks to Gillian as I wouldn’t have felt as confident moving to the front without a last minute game plan.

July 13, 2014
Gastown 2014 Race report

Gastown Grand Prix 2014 Race report..

From what I can tell the Grand Prix is growing with every year. In 2012 there were 60 finishers and this time where was close to a hundred.  In my opinion this is the most exciting, intense race one ferry ride from Victoria.  Imagine going to a Hockey game but being inside the arena with a mass of excited fans.  This is Gastown for me, basically the corners are filled 5-6 deep for hundreds of meters and only thinning out in parts of the straightaways. 

 So what level of talent could draw this type of crowd? Well firstly, United Health Care and Optum, then of course team Heisomat. I heard in an interview with one of UHC riders that the German riders were to be kept in safe distance because their capability to ride away.  A quick look at their stats on shows that they are no stranger to 200km races. Or 550km of racing in 4 days with 232kms being the longest. There were a number of other pro teams from Canada and the US as well as a U23 development team from Columbia.


Broadly speaking my preparation for this race was a large number of weekends beginning in May riding high volume and good intensity.  Sometimes I did a few longer 20 minute intervals and the week before I cut all volume and did 1-2 hour session with 2 minute intervals.  Most of the time I was simulating the 1-2 minute intervals that would happen out of corners. The goal was to arrive rested for the race with little to no fatigue and hopefully finish with the pack. My race calendar this year has been sparse so there was some uncertainty as to whether I was sufficiently prepared.

The commissaries established at the start that riders caught behind a crash would not get a free lap. So predictably there was a crash sometime around the third lap causing a bottleneck and leaving me and a few others to close a 15 second gap. Usually in a high level criterium, this is a death sentence. According to Strava, Steve Fisher from Jelly belly had the fastest lap time at 58km/h with some laps settling to 46km/h. Fortunately I was caught out with some stronger riders and the gap was closed.   The rest of the race involved slotting into small spaces and accelerating out while avoiding errant wheels.  In the previous two years I could only hang onto wheels for dear life, now, I was able to move up at different stretches.  Any move forward was an anaerobic effort so I had to be judicious with the efforts as there is a small window of vulnerability after. Ie sprinting  for position on back the straight (Cordova)meant fresh riders could overtake on the incline on Water Street.  


In terms of equipment I rode a Focus Cayo with aluminum deep dish tubulars. The bike weighed 17.5 lbs and would in most people’s eyes have heavy wheels (1700g).  I feel that getting into a draft and spending as much time humanly possible in the drops trumps the advantage of aero wheels.  Many of the other riders were racing Ultegra equipped bikes and sometimes box section aluminum rims.  I have to thank Hal, Renny and Parker for tuning my bike to race readiness and of course Broad Street Bikes for the exceptional support and encouragement.  Gastown is a race anyone capable of finishing should slot on their calander, the crowd excitement is infectious.  I normally don’t high-five strangers along the barricades but this scenario warranted it. For me the race was a success. image




Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. — To realize that it’s just an inconvenience, that it is not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up. - Bruce Lee

July 13, 2014

I’m fond of the vintage pic.

July 11, 2014

After three years of trying, I finally managed to stick with the pack at the Gastown Grand Prix.  The riders around me were experienced crit riders so the biggest difference I noticed was their experience in slotting into small spaces.  This isn’t to say that the moves were dangerous, it’s just that the shuffle is relentless. UHC and Optum were at the front most of the race so obviously they took the win over the other minor pro teams.

Points to take note of:
There was probably an equal distribution of Ultegra and Dura-ace equipped bikes. Also, some riders rode box section aluminum rims without any noticeable deficit. Race weight for the setup pictures is 17.5 lbs.  Thankfully the Mavic cosmic carbones are 11 speed compatible. The weight would be considered high but I feel that they are durable and can handle rough roads. (Criteriums are held by and large on perfectly smooth surfaces?)

June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014

June 7, 2014

1st cat 1-2 race of the season.  Compared to the previous two years there has been a big improvement.  Mostly because my lifestyle isn’t interfering with training and I’ve been mindful with nutrition. 

June 1, 2014

May 30, 2014
Race report.

Tsolum River Road Race Report

Words by Steven Grandy

The up-island road races are often an overlooked opportunity to race on the island. As usual transportation was not much of an issue as there were a few groups attending.

The course profile was a (10km loop) x 8 with little elevation gain except a minor rise at the start/finish area. The race was largely represented by Oak Bay/Wheelers riders and a 5-7 rider junior development team (VIPRS).

On the first lap, a break was established with two riders from the Wheelers and later Alex Hui from Pro-city. This quote from Tim Krabbe resonates with me. “Bicycle racing is a sport of patience. Racing is licking your opponent’s place clean before starting on your own.” For the subsequent 4-5 laps there were various attempts to break away from unattached riders, attempts to close the gaps by the junior dev team and blocking by the Wheelers. The Wheelers had Stephane Tran and Andrew Russell policing the pack. This involved setting a reasonable tempo at the front which would discourage other riders to chase. Ie at the front pulling at high 30s km/h to just above 40km/h. A few of my attempts to establish a new break were countered by Russell or Alex Amiri.

My personal strategy was to avoid the front of the pack for the first 4-5 laps. The rationale was as follows: The break would not last for 80km and the longer they were in no-mans land, the less effective they would be in final kilometers. The riders involved in chasing would output comparable energy to the break and would also be depleted near the finish. Also, the Wheelers at the front blocking, would be obliged to spend more time at the front.

The gap from the break extended to 2 minutes by the 4 or 5th lap. But, only two Wheeler riders remained in the break. A 120 second gap is about 1300m at 40km/h. 40k/h is approximately 11 m/s. In the remaining laps the gap was reduced to about 45s. One advantage a small break has over a chasing peloton is that the turns between pulls are more organized, which in turn gives a better average speed. Also the chasing pack attacks itself which increases pauses in the tempo.
By almost the 2nd half of the final lap, the break was caught. There were a few more break attempts and finally a small gap in the final 2km was formed with Alex Amiri and myself. (75m-100m) At this point we agreed to continue pushing the pace in hopes that the pack would fight for 3rd. With about a kilometer to the pack came together and I was 4 or 5th wheel back from the front. Nick Kupiack, took the front and attacked from 500m out. The riders on his wheel chased but couldn’t close the gap. I managed 2nd by a bike length.

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May 29, 2014

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May 29, 2014

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May 28, 2014

May 26, 2014

“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”

- Bruce Lee


— Bruce Lee

May 18, 2014

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May 17, 2014

If I could give anyone advice about how to improve their TT ability. It would be as follows: Before buying equipment you need volume, intensity, good body composition and good core strength. It doesn’t matter that you have the latest aero-bar, frame wheels ect, if you can’t hold a proper position.

My teammates and I all managed between 41.5 and 42.5km/h on a 17km course without deep-dish carbon tubulars and all the other fixings.

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