Prelude: With Jared at Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Dallas knocking off 1,600km in 3 days, 18 hours, and Trev busted up from his 65km/h crash at the Pigeon Lake road race, the Speed Theory cycling team had room for a couple of cat 3 shleppers...enter Keith and I, stage right. Banff-Lake Louise tourism has really gotten behind the race, and offers a total of $20,000 in cash to be won, so the best teams from western Canada and a couple of NW US teams come to compete.
Thursday afternoon was the hill climb on Hwy 93...6.5 km of undulating pain and ascending. Since I have a remarkably heavy road bike, quite a nice TT bike, and was lucky enough to have Trev/Speed Theory lend a set of lightweight Shimano wheels, I bucked the trend and took my Cervelo up the hill. Managed a decent 34th out of 84, and I gave a sigh of relief that I wouldn't be laughed at all weekend. Alex, probably our strongest all-round rider, didn't have a good race, which threw us a bit, because this was supposed to focus the team on our GC hope. Frank threw down a storming ride to be fastest for our team, in 24th place.
Friday took us out on 1A for a very picturesque, fun course that had sections of one-lane, one-way, twisty, rolly road - total blast. I crumbled in the final km and ended up back in 59th.
Saturday's TT was great, I posted a time *5 minutes, 29.7 seconds faster* than last year!! which funnily enough was 34th, keeping my overall at...34th. Saw some big names in the results sheets below me...wow.
That evening was some of the hardest, highest-intensity racing I've ever done, on the best crit course ever...but I couldn't handle the pace and ended up getting lapped, although I managed to be the last person not in the pack to be lapped. I found out today my little brush with one of the barriers cost me $150 for a new brake/shifter.
Final day was the road race, on a great 13km circuit with some tough little hills and wild descents. I was feeling the pain, for sure, but not too badly, but got stuck in a minor crash that put me just out of reach of returning to the pack...game over. Bummer, but all in all a great experience, and general good times with the team.