The riders meeting today is mandatory. Apparently, there were a number of screw ups in protocol yesterday that Colin now feels its necessary for us all to hear the rules so there's no excuses. Luckily it's a full house and Colin doesn't need to shout any more.

The rest of the riders meeting is pretty much a glorified weather report. It's hard to predict up here in the mountains but the mood is cautiously optimistic. The track isn't dry yet, but it's getting there.

By 11:45 there's been no more rain and the track is almost completely dry, with just a few patches. Several of the journalists have opted to change tires today in the anticipation of worse weather tomorrow. I opt not to. I'd rather have a good dry session on worn tires to get my confidence up.

And is my confidence ever up. In the dry I'm much more comfortable and I have a lot more confidence in the bike. My times show it too. While yesterday, I was posting 3:11, I manage 2:38 to qualify first on the fourth row of the grid. It's the furthest forward I've been with two riders "behind" me.

By race time, it's getting warmer and still no rain and I'm up for it. In fact, the sun looks to be coming out. I'm technically ahead of both Matt Chandler and Connor Warnell, but they're both smaller, younger and probably hungrier than I am. 10 laps on a 4.26km circuit could prove to be lonely.

Lights off, I get a reasonable start. I pull ahead of both Connor and Matt but not fast enough to pass the third row, though Connor has the advantage on me into the chicane, probably due to being better on the brakes. As the lap professes however, he's not pulling away from me. In fact, I'm catching him into a couple of corners and I contemplate something I've not had to thus far in this series: passing someone.

By turn five I realise I have the drop on him and ease past on the wide exit. Immediately he's back at my heels and I can hear him rolling off as I try to keep line and force him to take the less comfortable one. However, can't hold it forever and he passes me again on the power on the back straight.

But again, he's not pulling away. I suspect crashing yesterday has affected his nerve. He's clearly scared going up under the bridge and I stay wide to line up another pass and manage to take advantage on the exit.

And after I do, I try and dig a little deeper. It seems to work. I spend the next couple of laps just keeping my head down and concentrating on pace and he doesn't pass me. By lap four, I feel confident I can afford a glance backwards and sure enough, Connor's no longer there, but I'm comfortable now at this pace and keep pushing.

By lap seven the leaders (Stacey, Ryan, Costa and Tomas) all pass me en masse, shortly followed by the next three journalists (Pascal Bastien, Dominic Aubry and Neil Graham). I fact, Aubry passes me in the chicane so quickly, I instantly know where I am losing a chunk of time. But this is my race and I'm running my pace. Each lap feels slightly quicker than the last, but mainly it's consistent.

As I round the bridge turn on my last lap, I see Matt Chandler lining up for Namereau. As I pass the flag I realise I came very close to actually lapping someone. One more lap would have done it.

Given the way the weekend started, I'm ecstatic. I can only imagine how much faster I'd have been if I'd had Friday as a dry practice, and more importantly, if I'd not crashed Thursday. Tremblant really is a wonderful track, all fast and flowing and I would really like to come back here again. And I will tomorrow. And I'm almost praying that it won't be raining.

2 Comments
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  • alex
  • 2012-08-22T07:02:57-04:00

I prefer the term 'slow' but damn, it felt good!

 
  • nick303
  • 2012-08-22T06:48:28-04:00

2nd pass was real nice! Good stuff!