The dust has settled following another fantastic edition of the Ride of the Damned, Tekné Cycle Club’s annual ‘big’ event. This was the second year running the event as TCC, the previous 6 years having been run with Tall Tree Cycles. Each year we improve in as many ways as we can, pulling in more volunteers, beefing up protocols, preparing for the worst, hoping for the best. From me and all of us in the club, thank you to everyone who came out to ride with us!
We had over 200 riders on Sunday, and were more than happy to see the heat wait until mid-day to kick in and the rain to stay away. Conditions were definitely hot and dusty, and we were challenged to ensure we had enough water for everyone out there. But we did, and we’ve now figured out the ratios that cover us for hot days, so guessing should be a thing of the past. It seemed our check-point food worked out great, and we’d like to thank the Pold’s for once again volunteering to run it, and for doing such a fantastic job. If you have suggestions for changes / additions, let us know. No, we can’t do beer, sorry.
Some will have heard that one of our riders struck a truck near Mont Cascades. He veered into the oncoming lane and struck the pick-up truck as it approached, bouncing off it’s front corner-panel and windshield. Thankfully, he is ok. Stitches, bruising, a mild concussion, but no broken bones. For this we are all very thankful.
Our follow vehicle was on the scene almost immediately following the accident, and Chris Wood and Max Rubarth did a phenomenal job of responding to the situation. We are indebted to them for their poise, and I am very thankful that Chris had such composure when he called me to inform me of the accident. We can’t control what happens out there, but we take all the steps we can to manage the risk and respond to accidents as quickly as possible. We will take steps in 2017 to mark the turn that caused a number of riders issues, including the rider who crashed, and expect that many will remember it and pass on warnings to their team-mates: slow down.
While the accident cast a shadow on the day for us organizers, the majority of the riders had no idea it had happened and could focus on enjoying their rides. We saw a lot of good riding out there on the roads, tight team formations, and hope to see more of that each season. The team format seems somewhat lost of some every year, so it’s a work in progress. It’s pretty simple, however: any rider without a team-mate close behind them is wasting energy, because the team can only go as fast as their slowest rider!
Mobivelo covered the whole 155k route, saving the day for at least a couple riders. My longtime friend from Cycle Club Croix de Fer in Montreal, suffered a destroyed rear derailleur and hanger after Low, but he was pretty cooked anyhow, so was happy to skip roll back to town with Iain and me rather than see if Jon could salvage his bike. It was a pleasure to catch up as a result of his misfortune.
Many thanks to Rodd Heino and Ian Austen for photographing the ride. Both covered the route – or most of it – on their own steam, and captured many unique angles. You can find links below.
Pipolinka – who’s bagels were very much enjoyed at the Low check-point – was hopping when Iain Radford and I popped in on our way back to Euro-Sports. Phil and Kalina, the owners, have been supporting the event for years, and are always stoked on RotD day to see all the riders come by. Pipolinka has really been our oasis over the years, the place that makes our big loops not just possible (especially in the winter!), but truly enjoyable.
We’re really happy with how the meal went after the ride, seemingly even better than in 2015. Whole Foods did a great job for us, and we look forward to bringing them back in 2017. On the beer front, our Bicycle Craft kegs mostly went well, though we learned we’ll need a lot more ice to keep the foam away next year. Almost there! A snafu in communication saw some riders purchase pop at the meal when they were meant to be free. Sorry! This was my fault, as I didn’t make sure our servers knew pop were free. So, we will donate the $60 we took in to Trips for Kids, and make sure we don’t make the same mistake next year.
I managed to get to the raffle a bit after 5, when most riders had departed. Our grand prize, the Prologue Aspdin frame-set, went to Mike LaRochelle. Congrats, Mike! The rest of the prize winners have been contacted directly, but just in case you won and don’t know, here’s the list. Many thanks to all our sponsors for their generous support, thanks to which we raised $1065 for Trips for Kids Ottawa! The box of prizes will be at Euro-Sports Tuesday morning for pick-ups during business hours. Speaking of which, thank you, Mike Bennet, for once again opening your space and hosting the event with us, we are very grateful!
It seems very likely we’ll wind up running the event on the same weekend in 2017. The Canadian National Elite Road Championships will be on the same weekend, and we’ll continue to work around the Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau, Preston St. Criterium, and Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour. Overlapping the Ottawa Race Weekend is not ideal, but hey, it’s not a cycling event, is it? We’ll do our best, but please don’t be surprised if it falls at the end of May again.
If you fancy some more dirt road action this summer, check out the events some of us are keying on for July and August. On July 16, Jam Fund’s Gran Fundo, a dirt road adventure from North Hampton, Massachusetts. I’ve never been to the event before, but it promises to be a great trip for the whole family. Later, on August 28th, we’ll return to Woodstock Vermont for the third edition of the Vermont Overland. Peter Vollers, the organizer, is adding more Class 4 ‘roads,’ aka, ‘Vermont Pavé’ to the race’s route, which could just blur the line between cyclocross bike and mountain bike. That’s an exciting ambiguity, like an El Camino!
Ian Austen’s photos are here.
Rodd Heino and my photos are here.
Don’t forget, Double Cross is Thanksgiving Monday, as always!