Toronto Hustle – Hold Fast ep. III
“Cycling is more relevant to more people than it’s ever been. It’s experiential, it’s transformational, and it can make people’s lives better when they get into it.”
The North American domestic pro calendar is front-loaded. Finding form early in the season can be hit or miss for many riders, especially in the absence of extensive winter training camps. Shorter on time and budget, Toronto Hustle raced into fitness with varying success at major projects like UCI Joe Martin Stage Race and the Redlands Bicycle Classic. At the mid-point in the season, the team returned to Toronto for a core part of the calendar, hoping to make an impact in two races close to home. Racing in the heart of the city helps shape our collective consciousness around 21st century sport, and what cycling means to an active and engaged local community. It exposes the sport to new and curious audiences, and strengthens an important connection with our neighbourhoods.
The Ossington Criterium takes place in one of Toronto’s most vibrant and eclectic neighbourhoods. Historically, Ossington’s legacy is one of industry – the strip dotted with tire shops, hardware stores and kitchen cabinet outlets. However, more recently, an influx of bars, restaurants and boutiques has transformed the stretch of South Ossington between Queen and Dundas into Toronto’s best three blocks for drinking and dining. The prominent location of the event, and strategic partnership with the local BIA brought thousands of fans out to the course, pressed against the barriers lining the main street. Cycling in North America needs more of this – curated events that provide something for families, local businesses and racers – while reflecting the growing diversity of our sport.
Ossington gave us the opportunity to assume the role of ‘home team’, and it was really special to have a strong performance in front of our friends and family. Benoît Boulay was a hero – but the crit merely served as a ‘leg opener’ for the savagery that would unfold at the Canadian Road Championships…
Constant surges in and out of the corners created more of a criterium power profile, reducing the field lap after lap. With 30 km remaining, Svein Tuft (Orica-Scott) lined out the field in the pouring rain, producing power accelerations that reduced the peloton to only 22 riders. After crashing out in the final corner at last year’s Championship, everyone was happy to see Ottawa local Matteo Dal-Cin (Rally Cycling) take the win – he will represent Canada with honour and class for the 2018 season.
With the road race in the books, the Individual Time Trial loomed heavy. For our juniors, they faced a 26 km out-and-back effort, with more than 400 meters of rolling terrain. The simple truth about time trialing is that you’re alone – the sooner you accept this, the sooner you can focus on the task at hand. Mental preparation is everything – bracing your mind and your body is a skill that must be practiced and trained.
We all knew Graydon Staples had the capacity, talent, and ability to deliver a strong ride – all of the performance indicators were there – but executing on race day is always a tall order, especially for young, developing riders. After struggling in California, finding some redemption with the ride of his life at Nationals is a testament to his work ethic and dedication – and come September, he’ll take another crack at it in Bergen, Norway.
Words: Brad Bradford Video: Lossless Creative
Images: Ashley Barson, James Eaton, Chris Smart