First of all I can't begin to express how grateful I was to race for the Canadian National Team for the Tour De Beauce UCI 2.2. Thanks to Trek Red Truck p / b Mosaic Homes for all their support and getting me to where I am today.
The Tour De Beauce is one of the hardest pro stage races in North America, six hard stages in five days in the hilly, bumpy, and unforgiving roads of the Beauce region of Quebec. Now racing with Team Canada was really great, super good support before and after the races, massage, bikes are tuned and clean, any type of food you want at any time, and a very organized atmosphere.
Stage one was 187km with your general rolling landscape of the region of Beauce to a circuit which we did eight times, which included a very steep 500 meter climb and then back towards the finish on the same up and down roads. The team’s plan was to keep Hugo on at the same time as all the other GC guys, and set up Ryan for the win. My job for the day was simple but hard: set the pace at the front and slowly reel in the breakaway. I was rotating through with four guys from teams with GC interests. At this point the pack was pretty unmotivated to change so that's where I came in, keeping the pace going and not letting the gap go up and getting some time back. All in all, I spent about 100 km of the race at the front which took its toll on the legs, and when my job was done I was done; nice and easy to the finish.
The Infamous Mont Megantic stage. My Job for the day was another hard one: get in the break. Easier said than done. The first hour of the race was lightning fast with many moves going off the front. I was trying to go with as many of the good ones as possible to make sure I was in the move that goes. Just when I thought I couldn't follow one more attack I said to myself "I can do one more," and that was the one.
I looked back and the pack was easing off and a gap was forming; that's a really beautiful sight to a bike racer. It was a really hard break, at the start there were about 25 guys in it, then after the first time up the KOM climb there were about ten. I lasted in there quite a while, but eventually my legs just stopped working and I booked myself a one way ticket back to the main bunch.
That brings me to the next part of the race, trying to hang on to a charging peloton as long as possible after being in the break. This is very tough, especially on this course. I wanted to just throw in the towel and ride easy so bad, but I had to stay in there. At round 60 km to go there was a split in the main peloton which I was behind, and let's just say I wasn't super disappointed that I didn't make it up there, because then my group just rode it in easy to the finish.
The St. Prosper time trial. After two very hard and long days of racing doing a lot of work for the team, I was granted a rest TT, well sort of. The only goal was to pace it so you make it in before the time cut, which was pretty easy. I could have actually gone slower, but it’s always better to play on the safe side.
A super short 78km stage with a crazy finish over a narrow bridge then a short steep climb. Hugo was now sitting in 2nd place on GC, seven seconds behind the lead, so it was our job to ride with him and protect him. Axeon had the GC lead so they were all riding at the front. We lined up all together behind them and that was pretty much how the whole stage went. Near the end my teammate Ryan Anderson got me to go up to the front and work with the Axeon boys. When I was sitting in their draft I was doing about 380 watts, and when I was pulling I was doing about 450-500 watts. That's what the pace is like at the front of the peloton in the last 15 km of a race.
Stages 4 & 5
I combined stages four and five for a good reason. In Trek Red Truck we have a hash tag called #IDGT which stands for “I don't Get Tired." Well on the last two stages of the race, I did get tired. Stage four was a criterium in Quebec City which I just hung in and finished (it was a hard Crit), and stage five was a hard circuit race in Beauce which I have done well in before by getting in the breakaway. I attacked at the same place I did the last year where I thought the break would, go but it didn't, and I was pretty wrecked and had some tired legs. So after a few times up the climb I had to withdraw from the race because I wasn't doing anything useful in there.
And that's all I guess. Beauce was a super good experience, we ended up finishing 2nd in GC with Hugo and would have loved to get the win, but that's just how it goes sometimes.
Until next time,