This past weekend I participated in Ryder Hesjedahl’s Tour de Victoria grand fondo event in my hometown. 1700 people participated in the three events that included the League 140km, 100km and 50 km day on the bike. It was a spectacular display of love for cycling in our city. I was so stoked. Having Ryder win the pink jersey at the Giro D’Italia a short time ago didn’t hurt the excitement either. His first jersey was auctioned for $10,300 (and shortly after donated to the Sports Hall of Fame) and was shown off in Victoria at the event. What an incredible accomplishment by a Canadian athlete. Truly there is no single performance any more impressive that what Ryder did and even if you don’t understand cycling… it would be kind of like having a team from Italy winning the Stanley Cup. That just doesn’t happen at the Grand Tours in Europe very often and Ryder winning that event is only the second time EVER that a non-European took the title. Heavy accomplishment… for sure!
Cool podium jersey with all the fancy logos and sponsors on the back 😉
So we all hit the roads in town to enjoy the incredible training grounds that Victoria has to offer. I have been very unhealthy and managed to catch yet another cold coming back from Richmond so I babied myself up to the day of the event hoping to be able to participate. I had a brand new Trek Madone with Shimano Di2 straight off the stand at Trek Procity to go play with so I was eagerly anticipating my group ride!
Cool bike with fancy electronic Shimano bits, superlight Bonty bits and a flashy Trek 700 series carbon frame. Stupid light. 🙂
On Sunday, I managed to hide in the pack and keep the intensity fairly low for most of the day and thus enjoyed a long and comfortable ride right up to when the sprints started at the end of the ride where I came unhooked from the back of the group I rode with and rode the last 4km by myself. Good day for riding and will hopefully restart a training block. I really appreciated the company from all the awesome cyclists in the group I was in who were so positive, friendly and encouraging with each other. There were a lot of strong women out there but Alison Sydor and Mical Dyck certainly raised the bar. There were so many friends to mention but in particular I enjoyed riding in my group with super legend Peter Reid (3x IM World Champ) and Marty Vale (former Canadian mtb national champ), Rumon Carter and new local hero Adam O’Meara. I guess the fast company motivated a decent time up Munn Road? It seemed there were a lot of Vancouver superstars riding with us (Nice to see you too Garth and Graham!) so that was a special treat…everyone was SUCH a good rider! I couldn’t believe my luck. It was the perfect non-racing race.
Thank you to all of the volunteers that made this race happen… especially Island Savings for coordinating that effort. To League for sponsoring the 140km event and the Goodlife Fitness for stepping up as title sponsor.
There are a lot of sponsors that need thanking and recognition so check out the website at www.tourdevictoria.com and get yourself psyched to do it next year. Thanks so much to Seamus and the rest of the VICF crew for putting on an awesome event on Sunday. It was such a pleasure to do my Sunday ride on closed roads with some strong cycling enthusiasts and I can’t wait until next year to go at it again.