I Rode the World Championships Road Course

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10/9/2003| 0 comments
by David Cohen

I Rode the World Championships Road Course

I finally did it.  Cycled the road race course for the Hamilton 2003 Road World Cycling Championships, that is. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

I finally did it.  Cycled the road race course for the Hamilton 2003 Road World Cycling Championships, that is. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

 

I?ve wanted to do it for months.  But one thing or another stopped me. Mostly traffic.  The Claremont Access, the course?s second climb, is really an expressway.

 

Oh, I had plenty of opportunity at the end of June during the Canadian National Championships, which used the road course, but somehow I didn?t get around to it.

 

Yesterday (Tuesday), I decided:  today would be the day.  A one-hour training ride was scheduled prior to the Men?s Juniors Time Trial.  I would do it then.

 

Of course, it wouldn?t be strictly legal.   Members of the general public are not allowed on the course, with bike or no bike, except at designated crossings.  But, as a journalist, I figured that I needed to know all I could about this course.  Oh, I know, there are organized rides in cars given to journalists.  But riding the course is different than driving over it.

 

So, I donned my cycling things this morning and fetched my bike (of Canadian make, a Marinoni).  My jersey is blue.  I figured that if some official approached me, I?d say I was a member of the Italian team.  They have jerseys of roughly the same colour.   I?d say I was a coach.  At the age of 61, it would be difficult to try to impersonate Paolo Bettini.

 

I happen to live two blocks away from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>

Queen Street

, just a few pedal turns from this street?s ascent up the Niagara Escarpment.  It?s the course?s first climb.

 

Once again, today, the weather was glorious.  As I pedaled toward

Queen Street

, the temperature was at least 20 C.  A summer morning.  I couldn?t ask for better conditions.  But, still, I was nervous.

 

I got on to

Queen Street

at about 10.30.  They hadn?t put up the barriers yet.  Nobody challenged me.

 

Southward I went toward the escarpment.  As I passed
Aberdeen
, I suddenly heard a whoosh, whoosh, whoosh ? three motorcycles sped by me.   A little unnerving.   I started up the hill.  Almost immediately two riders came up, passed me, heedless of my presence.  They were going easy but I felt stationery as they went by.

 

Up the escarpment I went, slowly. I was puffing.  Too much breakfast, I thought.  As I headed for the first turn I saw a few bystanders. They didn?t mistake me for a rider, I could tell.  But they cheered me on.

 

Near the top of the hill, I came upon another amateur like myself, a man I judged to be a few years older than myself.  He was also wearing a blue jersey.  I could not overtake him.

 

The top of the escarpment on the road race course affords riders a respite on a generally flat stretch along Garth, Fennel and James Streets.  I appreciated this respite.

 

Only one thing to report on this stretch.  A sort of training pelaton approached me suddenly from

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