By Michael Nangle
The conditions were perfect for a road race. I put on arm warmers for the warm-up, due to the slightly chilly breeze, but promptly removed them.
This was my second time riding outdoors since my crash at the Good Friday Road Race, four weeks ago, where a fallen rider in front of me lead me to go flying across my handlebars three kilometers into the race. Having fractured my right scaphoid, I was in a cast for three weeks and a splint for one week. This put me back on the stationary bike and training at PowerWatts in Oakville. On Week 4, I was feeling confident enough to hit the road again.
With James Sreblowski, our E4 rider, recovering from a torn hamstring from the Grey County Road Race, and Stevie Welsh, our E1/2 rider, racing in Syracuse, there were three of us left to represent Team Race in Effingham. Luckily Domenic Valela, Adam Lentini & I were all E3 riders, so it gave us an opportunity to try out a few team tactics.
The race began with a neutral start on Metler Road and a nice climb on Effingham Street. My game plan was to be very close to the front right before each Effingham climb (which we had to do six times) as this would allow me to maintain a decent position in the pack once we reached the top.
It was evident from the beginning that Kallisto-FCV was the dominant team, representing about one-fifth of the peloton. They used their numbers to their advantage, doing well in chasing down breakaways, controlling the pace, and allowing some of their own to break away.
The first lap was controlled and peaceful. Then on the second lap, Domenic began to agitate the pot after the climb by shooting past the front. Of course, such a prompt move from the back to the front was difficult with narrow roads and the yellow line rule. Unfortunately Domenic was DQ – halfway through the third lap. And the bad news did not stop there, as Adam also had to pull out of the race due to a chest cold.
The remaining of the race consisted of me working with a few other racers (I’ll make a mental note next time to remember exactly which teams) in reeling in two-man Kallisto-FCV breakaways. However, near the end, there was one duo that managed to maintain their gap. I believe they finished 8 seconds in front of the pack. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to witness the finish. With 1.5 kms to go, the scramble was on, and to add to the confusion we were passing dropped riders from the E1/2 Women’s race. With everyone funneling between the dropped racers and the yellow line, I found myself being shoved to the right and touched wheels with one of the girls.
This landed me squarely, again, on my left wrist. The cast is back on. My only reconciliation is that no one else went down as well.
Cheers, Michael Nangle