Race Report from HCC’s National Champion, Shelly McKee

HCC’s very own Shelly McKee had some amazing results at the recent 2011 Canadian Road  Championships in the Burlington area… she’ll tell you all about it below, in her first-hand account of the time trial, the criterium and the road race (Click Continue Reading at post’s bottom right).

Time Trial

My original start time was just after noon, but it was delayed by 20 minutes.  The weather was perfect compared to the other times that I did some training on the course.  Today I had sun, warmth and very little wind compared to the cold, fog and a thunderstorm while training.  Race day came with no hiccups other than the delay from my original start time.  In the start house I had very little nerves, which was great to say the least. Knowing where everything was on the course, from the training runs, really helped.

Count down happened and I was off.  The course starts with a three-tiered climb and then drops down into the first right hand turn.  I got into a pretty good pace right off the bat. At the top of the climb on the front straight I could see my 1 minute person down the road.  I caught my 1 minute person in the first corner, which was good and bad at the same time.  She went into the corner wide. Which meant I had to go into the corner super wide. Which put me into the gravel shoulder and really close to the guide rail.  That scared the you-know-what out of me, but with a lot of body English I got back on the road.  Further down the road I met up with two more ladies out on the course.  I was flying through the corners with very little braking, another benefit of training on the course many times.  I came into the finish line with a big smile on my face knowing that I had done my best by shaving 20 seconds off of my best time on the course and had managed to stay upright in the first corner.

My goal was to win and set a personal best, I achieved both.

Crit

Another perfect day of weather for the crit in Toronto on the CHIN Picnic course.  The master womens categories were combined for the result of this race and also decided the provincial crit champ for Ontario.  The masters also raced with the juniors, which makes for a very interesting race.  If you know the CHIN Picnic course at all the chicane corners one and two made it interesting for some of the junior girls with many crashes in this corner. There were many attacks at the start of the  race and eventually three junior girls got away. We took turns at the front, but there was never a combined effort to create a proper chase. As the race went on the field was slowly dwindling as juniors and masters alike were lapped and pulled. As the race drew to an end I was well placed in the group going into the final corner. The juniors made a move and came around the masters field for the final sprint. The masters joined in the mayhem of a field sprint.

In the Masters Category I finished 10th and 1st out of the Ontario ladies. I went into this race with no expectations, but came out with many things learned.

Road Race

Once again I was greeted with dry weather for the road race, but it was a hot one this day. The field for the Masters A and B road race was a bit bigger with some ladies only coming into town to do the road race.  The lady that won the crit on Friday challenged the field right away on Snake Road.  She hit the gas a few times going up Snake in the first lap to test the waters out.  We all stayed together for the first two laps and then there was another attack going up Snake, same lady, same attack.  Should have known better.  I saw the field going forward and I wasn’t really matching the speed.  I could still see them up the road and around each corner on Snake and then they were gone until I got over to Waterdown road.  Then I could see the group ahead of me way down the road.  At that point there was not much I could do but to get on with the time trial portion of the race.  I managed to stay ahead of the other Master A (age 30-39) ladies behind me but a considerable amount of time was made on me to the front group.

I learned many things in this race: I should have known better than to spend that much time on the front of the race, and trying to find a good hiding spot in a small group is quite hard to do. My first masters nationals riding in all three events was a great experience for me.