Ontario GP Crit Cat 5 and Cat 4/5 by Ethan Zhu
Took a good starting line position. Wasn’t exactly prepared either as I had only done 18 miles the day before as my only miles the entire week. I had downed a PowerGel about 10 minutes ago and was taking my second one right at the start line. I was able to take a good starting position only one length back from the start line and on the inside for the first corner. The flat course of the Ontario Grand Prix consisted of seven turns, of which turns 1-3 were left, turn 4 was a right, then a easy left turn 5 followed by two left kinks to form turns 6-7 and put you on the slight downhill sprint straight. I was able to hang on fairly well, many times finding myself behind or next to fellow PAA teammate Tommy Liao. Within the 55 strong field, I was able to stay within the top 1/2 for the entire race. On the last few laps, a gap opened up between the two groups and Tommy was able to squeeze through before the gap closed. I was stuck behind this group and finished at 28th out of 55, while Tommy secured a solid 2nd place podium finish! Much better than my first race last week at the ICE Sportswear crit with a solid mid pack finish by using many positioning tactics I learned from last week.
Wow, this was a fast group. Immediately at the start, people were sprinting out of saddle. I was dealing with some issues with my crank coming loose before the race and was rushing around to see if anyone could help me fix it. A mechanic from Empire Bikes was kind to assist me with my problem but that also meant in the rush I had no time to down my first PowerGel and so only had one gel at the start line. Within a few laps, I had fallen to the back of the pack but was still hanging on. I started having some issues with my crank (which in hindsight- why did I race with a problematic crank? Guess I was really looking for some good racing action.) Luckily the crank held together, but I did get dropped on the last lap as the group pushed the pace to even higher than it already was. I placed 24th out of 27 but luckily was still able to finish.
During these two races, luckily not a drop of rain fell and soon after the following Pro 1/2/3 race began, it was pouring rain! Overall it was an enjoyable experience and I definitely look forward to racing on this course in coming months as part of the Pacific Sunset Velo series.
Thank you to our sponsors: Empire Bikes, Re/Max (Pete, Lisa, & Eddie), Nancy Bond Insurance, Robert K. Shimasaki DDS, Polsinelli Attorneys, Coach Rick Babington, Kevin Knapp Insurance Agent, Matt Construction, Powerbar for nutrition support, Louise Garneau for Clothing and Gear Support, Centric Bicycles, Franco Bicycles, Carole Neary Integrated Health & Wellness, and Fly6 Cameras.