With my last little bit of energy on Saturday, I agreed to ride out to High Park and check out the end of the men’s road race. The Queensway, eastbound, was a total parking lot. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper. It was a good thing we were traveling by bike.
We stopped at the bottom of Ellis Avenue. The crowd was small but supportive. We cheered for all the riders. I have been following the Tour de France, so I was expecting people to be running along side the riders, like idiots, but that wasn’t happening. It took the riders about 25 minutes to complete one lap of the circuit, based on my photo time stamps. For men, the total distance of the race was 160 km.
We originally overheard that there were three laps to go. After the second lap, hubs suggested we ride up to the top of Olympus Avenue, a really steep section of the course. Hubs and I have ridden up (rode?) Ellis Ave. and Ellis Park Rd on several occasions; however, we have never turned up onto Olympus from Ellis Park. I think the first time we noticed the turn-off, the road was closed. Subsequent excuses? It’s looks too steep, at least for me, like there is a possibility that I may fall over while clipped in. My boss has actually climbed it and described the route – make a sharp left off Ellis Park and it is an immediate steep climb as you veer a little further left, than right.
Before heading up to our new vantage point, I asked a race official if we were allowed to ride up Ellis Ave. He said yes, but informed us to listen for whistles to get off the road as the racers approached. Ellis Ave is lined with houses, and on this day, the street was dotted with many spectators. Some homeowners even set out tables and chairs on their driveway to comfortably enjoy the event. It was a lot of fun riding up Ellis because the bystanders would cheer for us in good fun.
The crowds at the top of Ellis, and also at the top of Olympus, were much bigger and animated than along the Queensway. You could totally feel the energy and excitement radiating off the crowd. We made it to the top of Olympus in the nick of time. It was the final lap. Much to my surprise, a Canadian was at the front with the leaders. He must have fought hard because during the previous two laps, there was no Canadian in the 3-man breakaway. I only noticed a Canadian racer in the peleton. Way to go Canada!
Within minutes, we heard that Canada took the bronze! Guillaume Boivin from Quebec, won the bronze medal in 3:46:26.
Earlier in the day, the women raced and Jasmin Glaesser from Vancouver, won the gold medal in 2:07:17, while Allison Beveridge from Calgary, won the bronze in 2:07:51. The women’s race had a total distance of 80 km.