Monday, July 12, 2010

Tour de Youngstown

Well that was one EPIC ride. Susan, Peter, John, Sara and I left Youngstown, New York at 10:00 a.m. with all of our gear in the 'team car' or 'sag wagon' driven by our directeur sportif Sheila "I'm the only sane one" Ceko (who, incidentally is gearing up for a 10k). The ride along the Niagara River sent us through Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown, and the quaint village of Lewiston. On the other side of Lewiston we encountered our first 'mountain ascent', the Alpe de Lewiston - all riders stayed within themselves and crested the summit unscathed. From here we cruised along the river dodging potholes and a few drunks who were getting a hammered start to their day. The border crossing was special - we had a phenomenal view of the falls and managed to avoid the car line by playing ignorant at the pedestrian crossing. Once on the Canadian side we followed the Niagara Parkway along the other side of the river to Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was during this time that various teams moved to the front to keep the tempo high and control the 'peloton'. A quick descent found the Beast and Stinger enjoying the adrenaline surge. Once past NOTL we followed Lakeshore Rd to our lunch destination in Port Dalhousie. We managed to secure a front row patio spot and the cold Coke tasted euphoric (ok, I'm embelishing a little). After a quick bite it was time to push the heavy gears home. We followed along the service road to Beamsville with a threatening storm just up ahead - fortunately for the peloton it avoided us as we turned south towards the second ascent of the day, the dreaded Col de Mountainview. Once onto the Col things really heated up as the peloton was blown apart. Honu popped first and struggled to maintain contact, Sara and Susan (still working on nicknames) maintained tempo and rode strong while Beast and Stinger were vying for the summit in a good old-fashioned peepee contest. Once over the summit we put the hammer as all the teams wanted good postioning for the final short climb of the day in Grimsby, Mont Mountain Road. Here Stinger got a quick jump while Beast was having difficulty changing gears (Beast was going to try riding in the big chainring - something he's never done. Sarcasm in italics). Stinger buried himself to crest the summit first. From here the road to the finish was predominantly flat but had a few sprint primes to keep the pace high. As the peloton neared the finish there were some close calls when teams were trying to position themselves for the sprint finish and almost crashed. Once in the final straightaway it was Stinger who made the surprise first jump and caught the peloton off guard. Beast gamely took off in pursuit but just came up short by a bike length. The rest of the peloton came in a few seconds later in the same time. All in all it was an exciting stage. For the win, Stinger got a cooler, a caesar and several glasses of white wine (because it's the afternoon after all). Most aggressive rider award was given by the tour organizers to Beast. The polka dot jersey for queen of the mountains went to Susan - neither alpha male Stinger and Beast would be caught dead in polka dots while the white jersey for best young rider went to Sara because she's a 76er. Honu claimed the green jersey because he had to turn himself inside out to stay away from Sara after riding by and slapping her on the butt!

This was a stage to remember - all the heads of state road without "a spot of bother" (have to throw in a couple of Phil Liggett quotes) and completely "on the rivet". Cooldown was properly looked after with booze and pizza and tons of laughs. Thanks again Sheila for looking after the group - it was greatly appreciated! Huge thanks to Susan for setting up our accomodations - the view, the sunsets and the stars were amazing!!

That's all for now - stay the course


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