Despite a clearing in the morning, at start time for the Gunner Shaw's 10k course of brutality the late fall weather had hit with full force. Jerry Ziak, the VCC's cross-country specialist, ran away from the field early on, leaving so-called "runner" ED struggling to keep him in sight. ED was later heard whining about the race being "too short" and "too flat"; speculation is that he forgot to loose his sandbags on the final hill. Nate Barrett, recovering from injury, came out and put in a manful performance, finishing 3rd in the VCC's standings on the day despite at one point mistaking the race for a triathlon and attempting to swim. Other notable performances came from Gilles de Belgique, finishing 3rd in the men's 25-29 division; from Troy Barrie, running strong to the finish line while carrying an extra 5 pounds of water in his stylish get-up; and Tak Takeda, holding on to his yellow jersey across the finish line despite thinking at the start that it was only a 5k race, and pacing himself accordingly.
All these legends of the fall (except, mysteriously, Mr. Ziak) were ready at the start line for Sunday's Stanley Park Road Race - 3.5 laps of the park, with 4 times up the grueling Hill. Despite an early clearing in the weather, the rain, true to form, came back. Nick rode off to a hard start, stringing out the peloton, but on the Hill he was pulled in by ED and Barrie, and the pack came back together. For two more laps Nick, ED, Barrie, Gilles de Belgique, and Tom rode in a tight peloton. The peloton broke when Barrie and Gilles de Belgique stopped to wait on ED with a "mechanical" - widely considered to be an excuse for not having to take on, and perhaps lose to, Nick on the final climb. These riders then timetrialed together with Tom to the base of the hill, with every rider throwing in big attacks in classic, exciting style. Barrie, launching an early attack to the finish at the base of the hill, was pulled in and passed by a charging ED, but cannily Barrie stayed on ED's wheel through the bend. Just like a Mark Cavendish to ED's Mark Renshaw, Barrie pulled out at the last minute before the line and charged away ahead of a helpless ED, to claim back the yellow jersey he has so desperately coveted. ED was heard uttering cries of "No! No! Nooooo!" as Barrie once again beat him to the line, shutting him out of the yellow jersey for his fifth VCC season. Gilles de Belgique and Tom finished strong on the heels of these seasoned VCC veterans, showing yet again the promise of the upcoming young riders.
In a display of incredible stamina, and the "one for all, all for one" spirit so characteristic of the VCC, all riders later adjourned to upscale local fine foods establishment "Frenchie's" to each do battle with a heaping pile of poutine. In the authoritative words of race director Eric Cessford: "In this final stage of the 2012 VCC, everyone emerged the victor. Except the poutine."
The VCC looks forward to welcoming you back next year!