Easily the hardest unsanctioned race of the local season, the Gentlemen's Race earned a healthy share of infamy this year.
52 riders in 17 teams lined up on a very wet Victoria morning.
Most were registered to race an approximately 110km route on geared road bikes. Gravel, slick descents, and elevation was on the menu.
For the three teams sporting fixed gear riders, a shorter route close to 80km was assigned.
No less difficult, this route excluded the treacherous Highlands, but included some grinding climbs out in East Sooke, as well a steep descent into Esquimalt lagoon.
The route was hard. Hard to navigate, hard to ride, hard to finish.
A combination of terrible weather conditions, sketchy pavement, and lots of adrenaline sent three riders to hospital.
Three separate incidents on three separate sections of road, with similar painful results.
One rider claimed a broken hip, the other two a good amount of road rash, bruises and lacerations.
This unfortunate turn of events led to the race being neutralized at about the halfway point. As such the results below are merely a representation of half the field's times.
GEARED, 110km aprx.
1st- 03:59:00 Tom S, Dan N, Craig R
2nd- 04:03:00 Dave S, Nick P, Sandra
3rd- 04:12:00 Jon J, Geoff R, Henri D
4th- 04:41:00* Rhonda C, Alan O, (Franz O)
5th- 04:50:00** Jamie C, Derek V, Jose E
6th- 05:15:00 Justin Bailey, Stefan Hill, Will M
- Shawn, Kirsten, Mike
- Brent H, Andy A, David J
- Minda R, Jenn, Tammy
- Alex H, Tom M, Ryan C
- Kelly, Drew M, Dan G
- Sylvia, Mical, Jen D
- Denise, Vanessa, Sarah C
- Leif K, Jeff D, Steve G
*Completed an abridge route, due to Franz' crash.
** Single speed team.
FIXED, 80km aprx.
1st- 03:18:00 Sam W, Chris P-T, Jeff L
2nd- 03:30:00 Halldor G, Matt H, Kevin E
3rd- 04:35:00 Patrick, Adam, Jacob, Aiden
Special recognition should go to both Jacob and Aiden, recipients of our 'Maillot Blanc', or Best Young Rider award. Both of them rode a very hard route on brakeless track bikes, and finished the race with style.
Despite the accidents, some teams chose to finish the race.
This show of panache and perseverance rewarded the winners with Sailor Jerry's Rum, Level Ground Coffee, A killer Craig Lunn poster, a gift card with Cima Coppi Vancouver, and pizza courtesy of Brickyard.
As well, Victory Barber offered up hot shaves and product for the winning team. A welcome refresher after the grueling weekend of riding.
All who returned to the finish did so in high spirits. Good vibes were rampant, and celebratory beers cracked. Clif bars were consumed in abundance. Burgers, chocolate, and trading of war stories ensued.
Sunday's race was an amazing showing of community, teamwork and determination. Thanks to all who came out, raced, rode, finished and helped their friends.
In particular, I would like to thank the ladies in attendance. Close to one-third of the field was female, a remarkable showing, and something that all local racing should emulate.
As always, it is the volunteers that make these events happen. Thanks for your hard work, camaraderie and problem-solving spirit.