About Sara

Sara Byers is a Elite Canadian Provincial and National Champion in road and track cycling. Based in Niagara and racing with
Kallisto-FCV p/b Toyo Tires (Forest City Velodrome) and Canada's National Sprint Team, upcoming goals include
2015 Pan Am Championships, Track World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympics.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

One Weekend: First of the Road Season/Last of the Track Season

In the tradition of Easter weekend, there were endings and beginnings, just not in that order. Friday held the first Ontario Cup Road Race of 2013 in Ancaster, ON and Saturday evening Forest City Velodrome in London, ON hosted the Mary Kelly Memoriam which would be the last race night of the 2012/13 track season. Aren't we lucky on Team Invita-FCV to enjoy two consecutive race seasons with the support of our great sponsors!

Mary Kelly Memorial 2013 - Forest City Velodrome, London ON

What does it take to pull off a heavy race weekend? Maximum organization and scheduling. I have my processes pretty much down pat and Dave's company, support and experience as a fellow competitor are helpful, big time! The team has really got it together under the guidance on Rob Good and it makes all the difference when everyone's on board with a focused and fun attitude.

I'll keep my personal achievements to myself this time and pay honour to the team mates who's company I enjoyed so much during our first events together.

Good Friday Road Race, Ancaster ON
By Candice Vermeulen

The Good Friday Road Race, hosted by the Hamilton Cycling Club, marks the beginning of the Road Racing Season in Ontario. It is always a test of early season fitness. This year was no different, although it was a new course, less hilly than in previous years, but still challenging because of the wind.

There were 30 Women in the Elite 1/2 Category, with several teams represented. The race started rather uneventfully, there were a couple little attacks made just to get the pace moving and to reposition within the peloton. As the race approached the Start/Finish line, to begin the 2nd lap I went to the front. I generally dislike riding on gravel, so I went to the front to set a hard tempo, to find my own line through the gravel. As it turned out that was enough to cause a couple of the riders to have difficulty, causing a split in the group. We formed a breakaway with 7 riders, 4 from the Infinit Team, and 3 other riders from different, including myself. The breakaway was a motivated group, and an efficient echlon formed, quickly creating a gap that would continue to grow over the next 3 laps. There were a couple of riders that tried to bridge the gap from the main group, but were unsuccessful. My teammates Antje Thamm and Sara Byers helped to control the main group to ensure that my group stayed away.

On the final lap, with approximately 3-4km to go the Infinit Team started to make attacks, and counter attacks, hoping to gain an advantage on the rest of the group. I followed the attacks, not wanting to expend too much energy chasing, so I could save something for the final sprint. With just over 350m Annie Forman-Mackey (Stevens Racing) attacked, I followed, right on her wheel. Then just before the final corner to enter the Ancaster Fairgrounds, I powered around her to be first around corner. I put my head down and launched my sprint. There was no one in sight, I had won the sprint, and won the race by 2s!

By the finish the break had a over 4min gap on the main group. Antje and Sara worked very well together in the bunch, with Sara winning the bunch sprint for 8th.

It was a great first race for the InVita FCV Women's Team.

Mary Kelly Memorial Race, Forest City Velodrome, London ON
By Sarah Mason

Next up there was a little training camp in London on the Track Friday night and Saturday afternoon before racing again at the Forest City Velodrome for the 4th Annual Mary Kelly Memorial Race/ Birthday Bash.

The Mary Kelly Memorial is a special race for me as it was the first track race I ever watched, the day after my very first track session. I was amazed by the speed and skill of the women racing. Last year I raced it for the first time, finishing on the same lap as the winners but having raced the last 10 or so laps by myself in an absurd amount of pain. My goal this year was to finish the race with the pack.

Before the race my teammates Candice Vermeulen, Antje Thamm and Sara Byers and I talked strategy. Our plan was to be aggressive, send out constant attacks, not chase each other and tire everyone else out. The race got started and we did just that, with a Masters World Champion Kimberly Edwards, high-level female athletes from around Ontario and Canada in the mix we sent off attack after attack, Sara took the first $20 preem (presented by Occto-Cervelo), after just 5 laps and then going on to immediately take the $100 preem for being the first to lap the field. Antje and Candice put out some great attacks and we let other women pull them back. Half way through the race Steph Bester (CoachChris.ca) attacked and Candice and I went with her to take a lap. There were now four women up a lap. Every time that Steph tried to get away, I followed.

With 20 laps to go I was sitting on the front, exhausted… Candice had been trying to get me to attack again for a while but I just couldn’t face the idea of going out there by myself. She got sick of that pretty quick though and told me one last time to go, I put in a small attack for the sake of getting it over with but apparently it wasn’t as small as I thought because the next time I turned around to look at the gap I had already gained 1/3 lap. I kept going and going, almost catching the back of the pack with 14 laps to go, but they started to increase the pace, but I remained about a half lap up for the rest of the race, Time Trialing by myself with my legs burning and my tongue lolling on the bars. But in the end I won!

Candice won the bunch sprint for 2nd, and Sara Byers finished just off the podium in 4th. The InVita-FCV Women worked so well together, to end the Track season on a great note.

It was really exciting but I’m pretty sure I had the worst interview, I couldn’t think straight so I was just sort of mumbling into the microphone the whole time… Haha, oh well there will be times to do better interviews, but overall it was a fantastic weekend! One great victory and another surprise win against Elite Women. :)