The weather really couldn't have been worse for the annual Ryder Hesjedal Tour de Victoria bike ride and race on Sunday, Sept. 22 with close to 1,400 people turning out in the wind, rain and cold to race 140km, 100km and 50km courses.
Whistler's Trevor Hopkins did the full 140km "League" race, feeling strong on his bike from the start to the sprint finish. First place was out of reach with Rob Britton taking off on the chase pack well before the finish, but Hopkins headed into the final sprint feeling strong and managed to break out of the pack of 11 riders to take second place overall.
"There was all kinds of head-to-head racing at the end because it's a wide open road to the finish in front of the legislature buildings," he said. "It was a long straight and we were all spread out across the road. I think I might have been in fourth coming around the last corner, and I felt like I had a lot of gas at the end.
"It was really a race of attrition. It was cold, only about 10 degrees, it was pouring rain and it was super windy, especially the last 25km along the ocean. Guys that were riding up front started dropping off at the end when they hit that wind. And it's long, 140km is a good-sized race."
Hopkins said he just tried to cover all of the breaks and keep his head down.
"The group I was with was going at a consistently fast rate the whole time, and eventually we just wore people out," he said.
Hopkins said the course was surprisingly hilly, with hills that were generally shorter and steeper than the RBC GranFondo Whistler where he was 19th overall and fourth in the male 40 to 49 category.
While Hopkins normally spends more time on his mountain bike, he ended up with a deep cut to his knee during the Test of Metal that ended up getting infected. As a result he's been spending more time on his road bike than usual to give that injury time to heal. "I usually try to ride eight to 12 hours a week, and this summer most of that was on my road bike," he said.
After the race, Hopkins said he retreated to the shower in his hotel room to warm up his frozen hands and body, before returning to the finish to greet other Whistler riders.
Rob Britton's time on the long course was 3:58:21, with Hopkins coming in at 3:59:04, followed by Ironman star Peter Reid in third by one second. Hopkins also won one of the three individually timed sections that organizers called the "Champs Elysees."
Ken Chaddock was 121st overall in 4:37:20. Milo Rusimovich finished in 4:57:59, John Heatherington in 5:03:09, Grant Lamont in 5:26:31, Gary Baker in 5:37:18, Phil Chew — a below the waist amputee on his right side — in 5:41:20, Paul O'Mara in 5:41:21, Brenda Baker in 5:43:26, Tom Thomson in 6:08:25.
In the 100km category, Caroline Lamont finished in 5:06:34. Gloria Gomes raced the 50km event in 2:17:38.
The Tour de Victoria is headlined by Canada's Ryder Hesjedal, who won the 2012 Giro d'Italia and placed sixth in the 2010 edition of the Tour de France. He's had worse luck this season after a promising start, with an illness ruining his chances of defending his Giro title and a crash in the Tour de France.
Hesjedal is the main attraction for a lot of riders, moving around the pack and talking to participants. Part of the proceeds also go to Ryders Cycling Association of Canada, which raises funds to help up-and-coming riders fund training and competition costs.
The hometowns of riders were not listed in the results. If we missed anybody please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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