Stage 2 here at Alberta started off with the thoughts of how cold of a day it was going to be. Waking up and looking out the hotel window we were greeted with overcast weather and temperatures in the low 40’s with a good chance of rain. Luckily the start of the race was close with only about a 15 minute transfer. Once we finished up breakfast we came back up to the rooms and I started to try and decide what I was going to wear for the stage. After thinking long and hard I just basically packed it all. Once we got to the start of the stage we all jumped in the bus to start getting prepared. Luckily with Hincapie Sportswear being our main sponsor of the team we never have a shortage of good clothing to choose from.
After getting all of our layers on we headed down to the start where they did there few introductions of riders and the Canadian national anthem and then we were off.
Trek Factory Racing had the task of defending the leaders jersey and once we hit km 0 the racing began. I think everyone was feeling the cold weather as it didn’t take much for a group of 4 riders to get off the front. One thing that was pretty cool was that after about 10 km we had a short stretch of dirt/gravel road to go through, I always like doing a bit of riding on the dirt and haven’t raced yet on it so that was a good lil experience.
From there on the race was pretty boring. It seemed like the whole stage it would rain then it would stop then it would rain then it would stop. The wind kicked up a few times, but never enough to cause a panic and split up the field. Mainly the whole race the only thing to think of was stay warm and eat and drink. We had 2 circuits to complete at the end of the stage and there was a bit of a kicker on them which could’ve cause for some concern but we took them at a pretty standard pace. The second time was pretty quick, but with it being no longer then a couple k it didn’t cause much change.
With about 10 km we hit another little kicker and here the break was caught and during our short little climb a small group of four riders attacked and I could see my teammate Dion Smith was up there laying it down. They got a good little gap but with mainly all the sprinters still in the field Orica – Greenedge went to the front to set it up for a sprint and within 3 km to go it was all back together. Oh yea, the last 10 km the rain really came down hard which made it a bit sketchy but luckily it was the end. Nothing too exciting at the finish as I just stayed towards the end out of trouble, but we did have Miguel come through with a top 10 finish crossing the line in 9th. Luckily I didn’t get taken down at the end as there was a banner that fell as we crossed the line and took a few guys down mid pack, but we all made it through safely. Tomorrow is a bit of a climbing day so I’m hoping the legs will be feeling good and it’ll be a dry one.
Jon Hornbeck, rides professionally for the Hincapie Racing Team and is also is the owner of Fast Tours Cycling.
Photo Courtesy Hincapie Racing Team