text : Josh Gieni - photo : Gophrette Power
Montréal to Toronto (race) to Chicago (race) to Montréal in 4 days. Friends for the ride were Gophrette Power, Nicolas Côté, Jasmin Ten Have and Louis-Charles. It was a adventure that started and finished with bad luck or bad karma or absent mindedness – you can decide. The first incident was when I did not hear the last calls for passports until we were already done 30 minutes of driving. Apparently Jasmin made the first call out before we left the city. I did not hear it. Yes, I am the owner of the shop, the second oldest on the trip (ie. Old enough to be the father of 2 of the trip participants), and it was me that forgot my passport. So we turned around and one hour later we found ourselves in the exact same position we were in when Nic made the last call for passports. We were once again on the road for T.O.
We arrived in T.O with Andreas Ihm and Mathieu Lefevbre waiting for us at the AirBnb. We unloaded our stock, got our spandex on and went out to open up the legs a bit after the 7 hours of driving. We had a fun little rip, went back to the AirBnb, drank water and watched the Tour de France before going to bed. We got up early ate a piece of fruit and went out for another little ride to get coffee. When we got back Louis-Charles already had our breakfast started. We ate well packed up and headed to downtown T.O for the race.
We arrived at the race about 2 hours early giving us plenty of time to register, check out the course and warm up. Team iBike racers registered for the first ever Ossignton Crit – Maxim Garrant-Rouseau, Nicolas Côté, Josh Gieni, Marc Seguin, Andreas Ihm, Mathieu Lefevbre, and Jasmin Ten Have. The course was your average Crit length of one point something kilometers but it had a slight elevation change which affects a Crit significantly. The uphill was the home stretch and start line; the downhill was on the backside of the rectangular shaped course. The tightest turn of the race was at the bottom of the down stretch which had many riders a little worried before the race. When the race started it was obvious that there were some new riders as they were flying hard but not holding speed in the corners. The tightest corner was taken by the peloton at speeds of 35k/h at the beginning and reached speeds of 43k/h by the end. This was one of the main reasons Nicolas was able to break away and stay away. After the race we all talked about this corner and the speeds we were able to carry through it. Nicolas was the fastest. The increase in cornering speed was also the main reason only 4 riders did not get lapped by Nic. If the race was a little longer, Nic would have been able to lap the entire field. The temperature was insane. It was almost 40 degrees Celsius and most fixed gear frames have still not evolved to hold water bottles. Therefore, most of the racers went the entire 45 minute race without water. Can you say dehydrated and delirious? Ouch! Team strategy was not as strong as it could have been. If you are a team of four riders with one other strong rider in the peloton with you, you should be able to break them. We did not break the rider and he eventually broke up the iBike podium sweep with a 3rd place finish. There is literature about situations like this. Even if the single rider is stronger than one or more of the four remaining team mates, he should finish 4th at best and should most likely finish last of the lead riders. We learned and will come back smarter next race! What we are learning as a team right now is one of the most inspiring parts of racing. We will be a force in many series races next year!
Right after the Ossignton Crit in T.O we packed up and hit the road for Chicago. No rest for the wicked. After our 7 hour drive, we arrived at my Uncle Stuarts place in a south east suburb of Chicago at midnight. We unloaded had a beer and went to sleep. In the morning we woke up to coffee and a breakfast for kings. I still can’t believe how well my Uncle and his wife Linda treated us. I am family and get it but I came with 4 unknowns and they put on a feast for them as well. After a solid breaky my uncle had to show us his gun collection. As a small town boy from eastern Canada, guns and hunting are strongly routed in my culture. My Uncle was also fully part of that culture and now that he lives in the USA where everyone can have a gun, he has lots! I don’t believe in the need for guns unless there sole purpose is to provide food for a family. However, there is something to be said about holding a 9mm Smith & Wesson in your hands! The power to kill things gives you a strange feeling. After a little playing with guns we headed to downtown Chicago locked and loaded for the Fyxation Open, the fixed gear portion of the Intelligentsia Cup. Same scenario as T.O, we arrived in time to register, walk the course and warm up. The race field was much stronger overall when compared to the T.O race. It is not that the race was faster but rather that it was deeper. The lead peloton included 20 or more riders and was full of RHC veterans. It was fast, aggressive but safe. The race saw attacks, covers and a few short lived break away attempts. As we approached the last few laps we thought we were paying attention to the lap count. However, both Nic and I did not know it was last lap and therefore did not throw out a final sprint and we finished 9th and 13th respectively. Upon checking our GoPro footage after the race we realized that the race went from 3 laps to go to 1 lap to go. Even though there was a glitch, it did say 1 lap to and it was a rookie mistake by myself and Nic to not see the lap count. Addison Zawada also made a mistake and launched a sprint just before last lap. He thought he was sprinting for the win only to find out he had one lap to go. Fortunately his teammate Josh Tyrrell was able to cover his attack and the mistake turned out to be Josh’s lead out. Addison kept his sprint attack going for half a lap before telling Josh to go. With over half a lap remaining Josh took off and was never caught. He won the race and also finished in first position for the general classification. Again, the knowledge that we gained during the race is something we will draw upon in future races. Jasmin and I were strong enough to create a lead out for Nicolas. However, we were never able to come together during the race to make it happen. The mistake won’t happen again and next race Nicolas will have a chance at glory!
After the race we had 2 hours of free time. We headed into Chicago for some famous deep dish pizza and a swim in Lake Michigan. All was going well, we were playing tourist and having some chill times. However, after the swim we went to buy my Uncle a bottle of Whiskey to say thank you for taking care of us. While we were in the liquor store a huge storm started smashing the windy city. As Nicolas said ‘wow man ça c’est un bon spectacle’. The wind caused major damage to a building under construction across the street from the liquor store. It was dangerous and impressive. We had no choice but to wait for the bulk of the storm to pass. After about 15 minutes we headed out in the rain in the direction of our car and then my Uncles for dinner. It was rainy and slippery. Nicolas did not have helmet, nor did he have his clip shoes on. A set up for a crash and it happened. Nic went over the handlebars on the street with parked cars to the right, traffic on the left and me and Louis-Charles right behind him. I thought we might die for a brief second or 2. Nic ended up with road rash and destroyed bar tape. Not a bad result considering how dangerous it really was. I consider us lucky. Another set of rookie mistakes!
Anyways, we finally got back to my uncles 2 hours late for dinner and with some near death stories. We were treated to another great meal, got drunk on scotch and went to bed only to get up at 05h30 and hit the road for our 14hour drive. The drive was long as fuck and finished with an accident. We arrived in MTL at 22h30 and were unloading the first person, Jasmin, when some dude backed into our car. It is all in the hands of insurance know and will surely prove to be a pain in the ass for the next few weeks as all the paper worked gets done.
Highlight of the trip: experience gained! Old dogs can still learn new tricks if they are willing. Every rider on the team is a little wiser than they were before. The team is getting stronger every day because together we are more!
Vous pouvez également observer les deux courses via la GoPro installée sur le vélo de Nicolas Coté ci-dessous. Un énorme merci au capitaine du Team iBike, Josh Gieni, pour cette agréable aventure. Partir sur la route pour découvrir de nouvelles places et rencontrer de nouvelles personnes qui partagent la même passion est une superbe opportunité. Sortir de la routine et s'éloigner de sa zone de confort est vital. Si vous désirez en voir plus, allez faire un tour dans mon archive Flickr #iBikeOnTheRoad Toronto/Chicago : Stage No.1 et Stage No.2