Gastown is the biggest race of the year for the Trek - Red Truck team sponsors, and is a key event for most of the riders, allowing them to showcase their sport in front of a hometown crowd of friends, family, and sponsors. This is was my third time racing Gastown for TRT, and during previous iterations I was very aware of the nervousness amongst the team. Riders were worried about being able to finish the race, potential crashes, and living up to the teams expectations. This year felt different and I could feel the confidence, both the men and women knew we belonged at the race and the team meetings were focused on how to get results rather than how to finish.
Confidence breeds success. The TRT women's team was aggressive from the start and a constant force at the front of the field. Denise made a perfectly timed bold solo attack before the midway point in the race and soon began to distance herself from the field, while the rest of the team covered counterattacks and shut down moves. During the next half a hour the announcer said "Red Truck" at least fifty times as Denise proceeded to lap the field and cruise in for the win, likely the biggest result for TRT in recent memory, if not ever.
Meanwhile, in Team Alley sponsors where coming by and taking photos of the team and talking about Denise and the amazing TRT performance, everyone was fired up. Thanks to Denise, and Steve talking to the right people, I got a front row call-up for the men's race. Everyone that has raced Gastown knows that getting to the front in the first couple laps is extremely difficult if you start near the front, so I wanted to take full advantage of my fortunate position. I did a quick cyclocross style start to stay in the first five riders and on the second lap sensed some hesitation in the field so I attacked. There was little response from the field and I was able to distance the field and roll though the start straight solo to the roar of the crowd and the announcers saying Red Truck is off the front again. I knew the move woundn't stick but I did get some sold publicity for the team and picked up a cash prime before being swallowed up by the pack a few laps later. Michael was a constant presence at the front of the race and I was back in the action again later in the event. Geordie despite having an unplugged Di2 shifter and riding singlespeed managed to finish in the front half of the field and Will on Junior teams gutted it to finish the race as well. All and all a solid performance for the team and clearly the best showing by an amateur squad.
After the races all of the riders and sponsors proceeded to the Red Truck Brewery to refuel on beer and burgers at the Truck Stop, a great way to cap off a successful day of racing.
The whole team was racing in the Garneau Course helmet which were recently praised in an extensive aero road helmet test by CyclingNews. Most aero road helmets have poor ventilation and riders have to balance the aero benefits against the drawbacks of overheating, and on a hot summer night many teams decided not to race in their aero helmets for Gastown. The Course helmet offers excellent ventilation with solid aerodynamics and is our choice helmet for all conditions.
Just about every rider in Team Alley was jealous of our Lululemon clothing and I was personally asked twice if I would be willing to sell or trade my jacket. I told them the closest Lulu store is only a few blocks away.
Denise made her bold solo effort on Easton Aero55 wheels, which happen to be the most aerodynamic mid-depth race wheel on the market, plus at only 1330grams is incredibly light which makes the wheel extremely versatile, perfect for flat crits to mountain top finishes.