September 4/12 12:11 pm - Ontario Provincial Criterium Championships: OCTTO Cervelo team report
Posted by Editoress on 09/4/12
OCTTO-Cervélo Race Report – Provincial Criterium Championships
Saturday September 1, 2012, Ciociaro Club, Windsor Ontario
byline: The Robot and The Brain. - prepared by David Byer
Many people ask me, “How do I become a champion like you?” The answer is simple. To be a champion you must ride with champions. On Saturday September 1st 2012 that is exactly what Kevin Black, Brian Trafford and I did at the Ciorciaro Club Criterium in pursuit of yet another provincial title for the OCTTO-Cervélo team.
Kevin Black wins
Being a part of OCTTO-Cervélo is a huge element of my secret. Riders on the team have been hand picked due to their true champion’s aura. Maybe a rider has yet to win a title, but it is clear when you look deep into each of the rider’s eyes that everyone on the team has something special. Magical.
The Ciociaro Club is a mainstay in the Italian Community of Windsor Ontario. There is a roughly 2km ribbon of pavé running around the exterior of their expansive lawn behind the lavish sprawling building. With the spectator friendly circuit, the club is purpose built for some of the favorite past times in Italian culture; making pizza, getting married and racing bikes. The club hosts a regular Thursday night Criterium affectionately know by the locals as “the chooch.” They make a great pizza.
We took to the line with only 32 riders willing to take on the challenge. A small field could work in our favour. With only three riders, the OCTTO-Cervélo Team was hoping to shatter the field and tip the advantage toward the ‘strong man’ rather than the fast finishers. The field was given our clear instructions on the start line and sent on our way by the ever-fastidious OCA commissaire Andrew.
OCTTO-Cervélo put our plan into action immediately marking the first attempts at causing a split. Kevin, Brian and I were stalking the front like a trio of rabid, hungry hyenas waiting for our chance to pounce. Being a champion also requires competing against champions. Since Ed ‘the real deal’ Veal, Jeff ‘for-the-last-time-don’t-call me-Jeffrey’ Schiller were among the starters, I knew we had to be careful, but careful in that crocodile hunter kind of way.
Just back from injury, Brian Trafford pulled a huge effort jumping from one attack to another as the group was showing first signs of strain. We had barely a chance to race together this year but it was immediately clear that we partially shared a brain. After all, Brian is just “brain” misspelled. And Brian has one of those brains that is so chalked full of amazing information you can’t help but wonder if he has had an Encyclopedia surgically implanted in his Brian. I mean brain. Regardless, he was putting it all on the line.
As the pressure continued to ratchet, Anthony “Irish car bomb” Walsh, riding in Real Deal Racing pb/ La Bicicletta colours attacked as if terrorizing a Dublin Pub. Tony Clovers, as I like to call him, is a mean rider. You might remember him from such race reports as the lap-by-lap account of Niagara Classic where he proved to be a champion in his own right. I couldn’t let him get away so I jumped after him. Directly on my wheel was Ed ‘the REAL real deal’ Veal and then a large gap to the field.
“Well played Real Deal” I thought to myself as we began to share the work in our attempt to pull away. Well played, that is, until the other half of the Ontario cycling celebrity couple, Jeff Schiller, came scorching across the gap into our small group. Veal and Schiller – or Vealler as the tabloid media like to call them – have a real thing for each other. If one accelerates, the other does. If one swerves, the other follows. Unfortunately, if one sits-on refusing to contribute, they both do the same, which, in this case, took all of the wind out of our sails.
As our tiny escape was about to be annexed, I attacked again. This time, Brent Aquino came with me. Brent is at least 10 years older than everyone else in the race but seems like he is made of stone. He never gets cute and always works so we stayed away for a bit. This is around the time when the race started to get interesting. After cornering on the course, a quick glance back told me the field was starting to break apart into small groups. I could see the OCTTO-Cervélo boys sitting comfortably in the front two echelons.
Dave Byers at the front
Brent and I were joined by a small bunch of guys and this is where the attacking really started in earnest. Kevin hit them, Brian attacked, I countered, and Kevin went again. Once he was gone, I bridged up on a wheel then I attacked. Kevin countered. Brian’s group caught us and then he promptly attacked before Kevin really hit out and split off with Bayden Pritchard. It was like a real Windsor Italian wedding where you found out that your cousin’s husband’s brother has been sleeping with the waitress who is your friend from High School who use to date that Rico guy who cheated on your other cousin with your best friend and all hell breaks loose.
Kevin Black leading
When the dust settled, it was clear that we had the upper hand. Kevin was away with Pritchard. Kevin has the ability to crush your soul when riding in a break. When you feel tired, he feels nothing. When you feel thirsty, he feels nothing. Like a robotic assassin who is programed to make you feel your demise, Kevin Robo-Black is not to be messed with.
Meanwhile, back in the field, I had committed to the fact that there was only one way that the break would be caught. The two-headed, four-legged muscle bound Vealler beast would have to start riding. So I was on them like a paparazzo. Every bit of effort from the two was aimed at one another. And, while we did get pretty close to our Robot and Pritchard, the inconsistency in pace meant that it was now a two-man race.
Podium (L-R): Bayden Pritchard, Kevin Black, Glen Rendall
Kevin systematically and emotionless picked up all of the major preems and did the lion’s share of the work in the duo up front. He surgically removed the will to fight from Bayden. No easy task as he is a brave rider who never shies away from battle. In the final few hundred meters, Kevin drove through to cross the finish line on his own. While I personally found myself lost in the frenzy of a celebrity couple, I can’t help but be proud of my boys. OCTTO-Cervélo has another Provincial Championship Gold Medal in the Elite category. Inspired and determined, moments later the Brain (Trafford) snagged the Silver medal in the U23 category.
Photo gallery by Jon Safka, cyclingphotos.ca