Date: 9 Sept 12
Venue: NSW State Championships - Road Race
Conditions: Sunny, Slight breeze
Result: 37th from 47 starters
My aim for this was to hang in for a lap of the course (4 laps of a 29km lap) and hopefully being dropped with another rider thus not finishing last! I had a good warmup and lined up for the start. Looking around I saw lots of familiar faces, familiar due to them standing on steps of podiums during the last few years in the road opens. I wasn't nervous but was concerned how long i would last being an E grader in amongst the quality A-C graders. These guys are class. We rolled out and cycled at a decent speed through the neutral zone. I soon found myself at the rear of the field and almost being dropped on the first hill in the neutral zone
I regained focus and got to the rolling start and we were off. Pretty quickly the speed increased but i was comfortable sitting in the last few of the peloton. As the kms of the first lapped ticked away i thought this may not be as hard as i thought. At the first turn around point a guy 3 up from me slid out and caused a huge split as the pack attacked out of the corner. My race was almost over but i dug in for the next 3 odd kms and just got back on. I was already stuffed as were another six as we tried to get some composure at the back. Approaching the first lap i looked to survive, and was prepared for the quick acceleration out of the turn. I got back on and my goal had already been reached!
Once getting my breath back i reset my goal to aim to get to the next turn point without being dropped. The pack surged as a breakaway was attempting to get away up the small hill. I hung on and even did ok on this turn as we headed back to the start/finish/half way point. The lungs were burning but the legs were fine. I was getting the hang of these turn points, even though i was wasting so much energy jumping back onto the pack after each turn point. I ate and drank lots on this lap to make sure i didn't bonk. Finally someone was dropped so i wasn't last! I tried on occasions to get further up the pack but as soon as that happened i found myself being passed and pushed back to last wheel.
I got to the half way point and thought, maybe i can get through another lap! At the start of lap 3 the big boys slowed for a natural break. I could finally get the HR down, give the legs a bit of a rest have some water. The breakaway was still out and increasing their gap, the pack wasn't interested in chasing by the looks of it, it seemed as though it was every man for himself. We really slowed this lap, so i hung on again and got to the bell lap!
No shame from here, i had to finish no matter how long it took for the final lap. My goal was to hang on as long as i could and coast home. We got to the small hills just before the turn to home and the pack exploded! They decided to chase down the breakaway which looked like they were fading. The peloton splintered and i had nothing in the tank. My race was over but i put in a huge effort to try and latch on to other dropped riders. We formed a bunch of about 6 of us and got a rolling paceline going. We started swallowing other riders after the turn point. The legs were screaming and i couldn't really hold down any water. My body was in agony and everyone within 10km probably ould have heard it too
. A few of the 12 strong autobus helped me out on a more than one occasion with getting me over a few of the slight inclines on the way home as everyone realised their race was over and were cruising. I rolled over the line in 3rd to last spot (of riders to finish). The breakaway hung on by 30 odd seconds, and our bunch only lost 3.5mins on the eventual winner
My initial goal was exceeded, i am ecstatic with being able to finish this race. It may not look good in writing, but this rates as the my best result ever achieved. I am looking forward to next season already and have the knowledge on what it would take to participate next year!
dist - 116kms (+3.6km neutral)
time - 3hrs 8min 56sec (official time 3:09:02)
speed - 36.8km/hr avg (64.3 max)
cadence - 89
heart rate - 168 HR avg (193 max)