This 2nd annual edition of Tour de Hans in Kitchener-Waterloo, hosted at the German-Canadian Hunting Club’s Hubertushaus, featured a star-studded celebrity lineup:
- Ryan Roth, professional road cyclist from Team Spidertech powered by C10
- Steve Bauer, the most successful Canadian cyclist in history and directeur sportif of Team Spidertech
- Simon Whitfield, Canadian triathlete who won Olympic gold in 2000 and silver in 2008.
Having the privilege to ride with them was already worth entry fee.
I didn’t get a chance to meet any of them though. Here is a picture of Simon and Steve in Hubertushaus.
The weather was far from ideal. Temperature during the day never broke 10C with overnight frost warnings, and winds were 40km/h. The rain didn’t arrive until after noon, which was the only saving grace.
The celebrity riders led the peloton to a rolling start and promptly took off, never to be seen again.
I stayed comfortably with a chase group for just under 40km. Then a gap grew on a flat section with strong crosswinds, which I failed to close.
For the rest of the race, aside from a few encounters with other stragglers, I had to work alone.
I might have spent more than I thought earlier in keeping up with the chase group, that I was running low by the half way point.
From here on, it was a slow process of counting down the kilometres. Fortunately, most of the second half of the race had wind on my back, so I was able to keep a respectable pace despite the low fuel gauge.
Luck ran out with about 7km to go though. Turning north on to the final stretch, I was hit with the fierciest headwind since the very beginning of the race. This combined with the slow incline was absolutely brutal. Screaming at myself didn’t help me get any faster than 20km/h.
I wasn’t sure whether the road signs counting down the last 10 kilometres helped or not; at this point, it felt like I was against the world, and those signs were just downright teasing me!
Alas, I made the final right turn away from the headwind, and the finish line was 1km ahead. There was a megre, pathetic attempt at a sprint finish, and then there was relief.
While I almost had trouble keeping my balance on two feet after the race, the best part of the day was about to begin.
First thing first: lunch featuring schnitzel with sauerkraut.
Then, as per tradition, every Oktoberfest event must have a keg tapping!
The keg was well shaken, the hammer was primed, and the mops were on standby.
When the hammer went, beer went flying in the air, thanks to guy who kept shaking the keg!
Good thing the mops were ready. They sprung into action right away.
And thus, beer was the recovery drink of choice for this Oktoberfest race. These were all on the house for riders!
I have some unfinished business here. I’ll have to come back and kill the course next year. Hopefully the weather will be nicer.