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Inside the Fixed Nations Cup with Team Canada and Josh Tyrrell

words by: Josh Tyrrell | Images by: @sfidare_crit_japan

The stoke was all time leading up to this event. With a series of races in the 2018 season counting for qualifying points for the main event, we were all very excited that the day had finally come.

I arrived in Dijon, France on the Thursday. I was pleasantly surprised by how well received the athletes were. We had accommodations provided to us, only 3km from the race venue, as well as breakfasts provided as well. This was something I had never experienced before, coming from the race organization and I must say, I’m a fan. With most of us representing our home countries, this nice touch really made it feel like a special event and not just another race. Chapeau to Maxime Poisson, his dedication and passion for fixed gear criterium racing is nothing short of masterclass. Without skipping a beat I got my Undefeated II built up and took a gentle cruise into town to pick up my race package and get some dinner.

 

Friday was Stage 1; TTT. I was riding for team Canada, which was composed of myself, Nic Cote, Nic Cote #2, Rich Bergeron, and Justin Shoubridge. Individually, we all have what it takes to lay down some serious TT efforts. This being said, we had never done a TTT together. We put together a solid schedule, and had our rotations planned out perfectly. When it came down to the execution, I think we did well for our first shot at a TTT. We made some small errors that likely cost us the W. We completed the 7km course in 8:48. Landing us in 4th place amongst all the National Teams. Between us and 1st place, there was only a 2.2s difference in time. Wild!

 

Saturday was the main event, and it could not have been a better day. Clear skies, temperatures hovering around 30c or 86f give or take. No real winds. Perfect. Seeing that I had made the National Team, I was able to skip qualifiers and go straight to the Super Final. I was slotted in row 7, pretty well right in the middle of the 100 person peleton. The race started with a ferocious pace and was strung out almost immediately. With 3 hairpins shortly after the start/finish it was pretty difficult to move up through the field to make it to the lead group. After about 5 laps of chasing I made contact to the front group of roughly 30 riders. By this time, my HR was pretty pegged as the chase was made mostly solo. Naturally, what felt like as soon as I made contact with the front group an attack went and the pace picked up again.

 

This continued on for the remainder of my time in the race. I took a poor move coming into hairpin #2 that forced me to Tokyo drift my way through the very inside of the corner, which zapped all my speed. At this point, I didn’t have it in the legs to catch back on right away, and I slowly slipped further and further back from the front group. I dug deep and gave it my all for the rest of the race. In all this hypoxia, coming into the 2nd hairpin I was carrying far too much speed and was heading right into the barriers. Thankfully my fixie-senses were still firing and I managed to whip skid to end up parallel to the barriers and only put my foot down, and twisted my bars slightly. In a huge rush, I straightened out the bars and got back on the bike. This critical error probably was what stopped me from completing all 30 laps, as I was pulled shortly thereafter. There was a solo rider OTF from the gun and he was closing in fast. In the end I finished 25th. For the stat nerds out there, I raced for 36 minutes and my avg HR was 181 Maxing out at 194 bpm. Im surprised I was even able to navigate the course by the end of it. DEEP IN THE RED.

 

Overall Im pleased with my race, I made some mistakes, I made some strong moves. I learned some lessons. It was a great race experience.

 HUGE Thank you goes out to State Bicycle Co. Without their support, none of this would be possible. I am forever grateful for the experiences that I have had over the past couple years. Here’s to many more as the sport of Fixed Gear Criterium racing continues to surge in popularity and new events keep coming up!

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