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Waiting for godot

Ottawa Safety Counsil

Pat Boyd goes to Tremblant and Watches the SENS win.

Friday, June 1st, 2007

It's hard not to have a good time in Tremblant but last year I sure as heck tried. After not qualifying for the final on Saturday afternoon, I sulked. Well, no such sulking this year, I promised my wife, no matter what happens.

Tremblant is a beautiful, flowing road course in the Laurentians only about four kilometres from the Tremblant ski hill. The second year we came here, my wife brought her bicycle and repeatedly cycled from the track to the village and to our chalet. She had such a great time. This year, she brought our new baby. Hey, a different sort of fun!

I haven't raced since Mosport in July 2006 with fellow TEAM SHOULDER CHECKer Alan Burns. What a great weekend that was but Alan's weekend ended in the gravel trap of Turn 8 and his helmet and bike looked a little too pock-marked for an appearance at Tremblant so here I was racing alone. However, I keep forgetting all the good friends I've made at the track over
the years. You're never alone when you're saying hi to over two dozen people. And, I was renting a really nice hotel at the base of the mountain with former racers Yves and Michelle Dagenais with my wife driving in later in the day. Practise was just a warmup of myself, familiarity with the track and my bike. Everything was running well except my transponder. There were no times on me but it was just as well. I'm sure I was slow. In the afternoon practise, however, I was getting into the groove and I couldn't believe how tired I was. Thankfully, the transponder worked in the afternoon and I saw
I was 30th out of 54 riders. Not bad but what's this 1:58 best lap time? I was tired enough to think I was doing five seconds faster a lap. Nope.

Saturday, June 2nd

I chose to stay on last year's used tires for the morning practise and save my better tires for qualifying in the afternoon. Just as well since before we went out we were informed that there was oil on the track from Turn 2 all the way into Turn 6. Yeck! Well, I can always tip toe through the oil and then work on the remaining two thirds of the track. That strategy worked
splendidly and I was happy to see I marked off a bunch of 1:58 lap times again despite the fact that I was going really slow through the oily parts. It showed improvement in other corners. Of course, a far cry from the 1:52 lap times I had pulled off last time I raced here. But, hey, all I have to do is qualify on the last row.

Saturday Qualifying

Rush out and wait on the grid. Wait for 20 minutes as they clean oil off the track again. Darn, it ain't no fun following those leaky Thunder riders in practise. Too much oil. And here I am with my newer tires, I used my tire warmers and I'm ready to run.

After a delay, they send us out for our 20 minute qualifying. Since none of us were allowed to leave pit lane, everyone's tires are all cold again. Two dozen riders are anxious to scream through the track on cold tires and they take off when the countdown clock starts. I smell trouble and I wait 45 seconds for the whole pack to leave. Once everyone's 20 seconds gone, I put on my gloves and ride out on cold tires. At Corner 4 I catch up to the first crashed rider. I'm still puttering along, warming up my tires when the skies open up. It rains and it rains hard. For about 60 seconds. Red flag.

Qualifying is cancelled. D'oh!

Due to inconsistent weather for the two qualifying groups (two dozen riders per group in the AM 600 and it must be either fully wet or fully dry for each session) they decide to cancel qualifying and take Friday's times. I breathe a sigh of relief since I placed 30th and I know they'll take 38.

No, now they'll take Saturday morning times. Oops. I only placed 37th of 54 riders as I puttered through the oil knowing it would be clean in three hours for qualifying. Now I'm worried since I don't know if they'll take the fastest 38 riders or 34 plus 4 Promoter's Options (ie: wildcards).

At supper that night, the uncertainty is no more as the grid is published on the internet and I'm not on the roster. Well, it sucks but it's hard to have a bad time at Tremblant, even if you don't qualify. I am decidedly chipper and I enjoy the Tremblant atmosphere. The five of us have a great night out as my wife Erinn and Michelle head off for massages while Yves and I babysit little Kate in front of the TV. Yves is enthralled to watch his Ottawa Senators win Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That game will go down in history for me too as the first game I ever watched on TV. Well, most of it anyways. Between diaper changes and surfing the internet for
secrets to qualifying. However, it's hard to have a bad time in Tremblant, no matter what happens. And I'm secretly glad I didn't crash.

As far as qualifying, hey, there's always next year! And you bet I'll be back.


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