The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Preston Street Criterium

Laura prefers biking over running, and biking over swimming. For a while she's been asking to do just a bike race. She's a really strong cyclist. I just happened to get an email about the Preston Street Criterium a couple of days before it was held (last Sunday). The Ottawa bike race is in it's 43rd year, and was offering a competitive race for kids in the 13-14 age group. So we asked her, and of course she jumped at the chance.

The day was a bit longer than we expected. But, we got to watch the entire women's race, the event before Laura's. I have to say, it was fast and furious, and well worth the watch. Much respect for these ladies. Perhaps more-so for the back-end who would yo-yo a bit as the group stretched out, and then eventually fell off the back, but still kept up a high effort to finish. Race speeds were averaging 45kph for the first half hour or so. Very impressive.

Laura's race was called up. The mechanic had locked out her rear-derailleur so she couldn't shift into her lowest gear - a UCI rule apparently. There were about 15 on the line ... but only 2 girls. This was a let down. She was really looking for some competition.  Admittedly, it would have been odd to have a race for just 2 people, but mixing in with the boys, particularly at this age, seemed a tad unfair for the girls.

From the get go, the pace was fast and furious. 3 strong guys were off the front and setting a vicious pace at 40kph. The pack was fractured and in survival mode. Laura was on the back end, but still holding her own.

Laps 1, 2 and 3.... mostly she was still in reach of the fast and the furious. Laps 4 and 5, things were getting spread out. And Lap 6 -- the final lap, was a "Get me to the finish line!!!" kind of lap. She made it. Perhaps a gap of 45 seconds from the overall (male) winner. She was ready to collapse. It's always rewarding as a parent, to know your kid went 100% and poured everything they had into a race, with absolutely nothing left in the tank at the end.

So, at the end, she got second out of the girls. Hey, you can only beat those who show up. Pretty awesome. Her Cornwall Multisport Club kit stood out from the mostly OBC dominated field. She earned kudos and cheers for Cornwall from the announcer on each lap. Glad she had the guts to do something like that -- no way would I ever venture into that ring.

The women's race.