The past few years I’ve been on Trek Red Truck, the women’s team has had the opportunity to attend one of few UCI races held in North America every year, the Gatineau Grand Prix. This road race gives us the chance to show our colours and abilities in one at the highest level of racing in Canada.
This year’s edition was slightly different than past editions with the course starting with a loop through the rolling Gatineau Park and then moving onto the flatter circuits where previous editions of the race have always been held. The 108km course provided a bit of everything in terms of terrain, and Trek came prepared with a good group of six girls to tackle it: Leah, Suz, Sarah B, Sarah C, myself, and 2014 race winner Denise Ramsden. Mundy came in support back out towards his hometown and his parents drove in and used their own experiences of taking care of a young Evan Mundy at races to help feed us and provide extra race support.
This year’s race was a twilight race starting at 5:30 pm out in Gatineau. Despite the time of day, it was still sweltering hot out and most of us retreated to the shade until just before the race start. The first test of the race came in the park with a couple good climbs set a fast pace by some of the bigger teams causing a bit of a split in the pack, but a good size group came out of the park together after 35km with TRT well represented still with four riders.
From that part on we tried to make the most out of the race on the punchy hard circuits following some moves, but nothing stayed away as a few of the big teams wanted it to come down to a field sprint. The next 70km consisted of hard, on and off racing, wearing down on the legs, and the last lap being fast and hard made positioning coming into the finish count.
Denise’s experience, power, and knowledge paid off putting her in a good position and allowing her to sprint to 12th against a strong field with arguably the best sprinter in the world, Kirsten Wild, taking the win. The rest of us came in the main group to finish off a good hard race.
The next day was the Chrono Gatineau, a separate UCI time trial on a similar circuit as the road race. TRT had two entries in Denise and Sarah B who had strong showings finishing 16th and 23rd respectively out of 56 starters.
Once again a big thank you to TRT for giving us this opportunity to race some of the best in the world and see what we’re made of.