By: Ariane Bonhomme
Charlevoix is always one of the hardest ride on the Québec calendar, but also one of the nicest one to race in my opinion. I have done this race every year since my first year junior in 2012, and even if the team this year decided not to go, it was very important for me to race it again this year. My super-mom (she really is one!) and I headed to Baie-St-Paul on Friday morning to be in time to race the criterium that night. When I got there, I saw that Team NCCH decided to bring a full women’s team, which I didn’t expect. As I have been on the podium of this criterium every year, I made a point not to change this habit this year. I followed a couple moves, tried attacks but nothing sticked and the Team NCCH riders were bringing everything back. With to laps to go, I saw that they were getting ready to leadout Hayley Jones, a girl I raced against two years ago at Junior Track World Championships, and I knew she was strong. My best bet at this time was to take a flyer with about one lap to go and see where this would bring me. Unfortunately, my move didn’t work, and I ended up a couple of position out of the podium.
The day after, we had the time trial and the hill climb. My main focus for the weekend was the time trial. I have always had very good results on this course and it is one that I love racing. With my great pleasure, I got second on this time trial, Hayley Jones once again won the stage with a good 42 seconds. Just for fun, I looked at my time I did on this time trial as a first year junior in 2012, can you guess the time difference between my time trial in 2012 and in 2015? I went 3 minutes faster this year than I did 3 years ago! I thought it was very funny and I was happy to see this improvement. In the afternoon, we had the hill climb. It is a 4 kilometers climb with a wall at the beginning. I wasn’t able to follow the first group but managed to stay with the second group on the road.
The last day was a very very hilly 91 kilometers road race. We were racing with the men masters, which we knew could turn the GC upside-down really fast. The goal was to stay with them as long as possible. I managed to stay with them for about half of the race. I got drop with a couple other girls on one big climb. We tried to chased but didn’t work. A group of girls caught us and we rode together to the finish.
I was very pleased with my racing this weekend. It was a very good experience. I am now getting ready to race GP Gatineau with the team this Thursday at 5pm, come cheer for us!