KOCC E Grade - 3 laps = 21k
This was my second race and first graded scratch race.
After the previous weeks handicap race and realising my mistakes with regards the rush of blood and how I rode that race, I made sure that I rode a lot smarter this time. It was only 3 laps so I thought I would be in with a good chance. I rode at the back of the pack for most of the race and tried to sum up the other riders and what they had to offer. On the last lap I took some turns but ensured I kept a pace I was happy with and had no issues when other riders came over the top of me as a result. When we turned into the second last straight, with just under 3 k to go, a young kid moved to the front and another rider gave the remark "watch that kid". This made think about testing the bunch to see who had what left in the tank even though we still had a fair way to go. So, I got out of the saddle and gave it a good go...after a 100-200 metres or so I pulled up slightly and turned to see who had gone with me but was surprised to see that noone had and that I had actually put a good gap on the bunch. As a result I put the head down and heart into it to put the race to bed.
I cruised to the line with 500-1000 metres between myself and the bunch as a result.
1. I realised I went a little too early on the last lap..should have tried around the 1k mark
2. I need to go up a grade to test myself a little more
3. Was happy with how I controlled my emotions during the race and used my head
Yep greta, I know what you mean... a genuinely serious move early in the race (even on the prim lap I had yesterday, with 40% of the race to come) seems to make the bunch sit up rather than dig in. Seems to be "if he can make it stick, he can have it" rather than "smart alec! Let's chew him up!". That will surely change as they remember me and get sick of me disappearing I imagine it will be the same for you! Well done on the break. You might need to take some time in the current grade, or spend some more time rolling the turns to get used to the bunch motoring along more. I think we have very similar tactics right now but my crash definitely made me realise I have more to learn about being smart "in the bunch", not just "on the race track".
Yep Dale is right, it's normalised so it accounts for power spikes better. Pretty massive difference between that and the average then, no wonder I was struggling after 15 minutes of the break!
Thanks MREJ, Chook. I can't imagine a worse track for wet weather racing, unless you were racing along icy tram tracks as well LOL kamikaze grade sounds about it. I've been thinking further about it, I realise that I might have been trying to come over the top of Mark from LACC, Strava is saying I was doing 400W just before coming down. No way I was on the hoods and ready to slow down if he didn't accelerate as fast as I wanted.
Moral to the story - who cares who is at fault? It was probably me, but even if it wasn't, I initiated the chain of events that put me on my bum
lets not beat around the bush its 100% your fault, you ran into the guy in front, you need to slow down and learn how to control your bike and learn to race before you hurt someone..
im no pro, but I took it bloody easy the first 10 races or so and stayed out of everyones way because I didn't want to hurt anyone..
SKCC C-Grade Crit
avg. 41.1kph, 37km
Well, my first race in C grade went much better than I imagined... I turned up to the race not really knowing how much of a step up C-grade was going to be from D-grade, where I've been racing for the last 1.5 years. I planned to sit in the bunch, try and keep good positioning, scope out the other riders and stay with the bunch to the finish.
The race started and I quickly discovered that the pace was going to be about the same as D-grade, except that they don't brake hard into every corner, then have to accelerate hard out of the corner again. Much better flow and better consistency of people holding their lines through corners. I was happily sitting in the bunch and scoping out the other riders, when I noticed that in a period of 2-3 laps, I'd gone from front 1/3 of the bunch to about 3rd last in the bunch! I didn't even notice people moving up around me, but they were, and I was on the back and having to sprint out of every corner, just like I was in D-grade again! The old adage of 'if you're not moving forward, you're moving backward' was actually going to be true now...
So I made a concerted effort to continually move up, especially during lulls in the pace. About half way through the race, I followed a wheel up the bunch who then awkwardly hit the brakes and tried to slot into a small gap 3 riders from the front of the bunch. There was a guy 150m up the road trying for a break, so I figured I'd carry my momentum to roll off the front and bridge to him. I gave it a good crack without over extending myself and got to within 25m of him over the next 3 laps, before the bunch put in a spurt and pulled us both back within the next lap.
With 20mins to go, I sat in for recovery and hoped I wouldn't get spat out the back after ~5mins of relatively hard solo effort. 10mins later I was feeling fresh again and moved back up the bunch to position for the finish. The pace didn't ramp up ridiculously over the final 3 laps, but with 1 lap to go, I was still about 12th wheel with no easy way to move forward. At 500m to go down the back straight, I guy I recognised as having a good kick went past at pace, being led out by his mate - who was burying himself. So I jumped hard to get the wheel and we apexed the final corner just in front of the bunch, but with ~3kmh more speed than the lead rider in the bunch. Old mate had buried himself so hard that he overshot the corner and left his friend with a decision to follow the wheel, or open the sprint. As he swerved off the race line in indecision, I just held the line and kicked as hard as I could.
I kept expecting someone to come past over that last 150m, but no-one entered my peripheral vision. I just buried my head and went hard. First C-grade race, first C-grade win!
Pretty bloody happy with that!
Thanks! Realistically, it was a pretty lucky outcome for me. I wouldn't have been there at the front of the sprint if it wasn't for the train that came past down the back straight!
At least I do have the win out the way now - only need to get a place to get the slingshot up to B-grade!
Yeah but in the heat of the moment you still saw the signs and read them correctly...part luck maybe but also part brains
Well done guys!
Xplora... was your crash a result of poor bike handling skills, or more just not concentrating enough on the wheel you were following? It sounds to me like you had the bike under control and going where you planned, but just had your concentration not enough on the other riders around you. Sounds to me like you need to find a way to calm yourself when the red mist hits more so than learn to handle the bike better.
I'm very new to racing, and I have had a few moments that have luckily not lead to any incident. They have always been when I get distracted by something (an attack, or passing another grade bunch or something) and then look back and find I have overlapped wheel and cms from touching.
That's good to see Cerb and Greta that you are processing your race outcomes and working out what is good and what's not!
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
great stuff Cerb - i reckon you've got some handy race craft going there, and a blinding sprint. i wish i could do that!
bad luck Xplora on the crash - if you clipped his wheel, it sounds like you may have been overlapping wheels? i can't say, i'm only trying to reason it out. it's always best to consciously avoid that. another thing i do is never sit up - no matter how hard it gets, just dig deeper until you fall off the wheel ahead. don't make that decision yourself. there are so many races where i've felt spent, but then the pace has died - chances are if you're suffering, so are others. all things being equal, the winner is the guy who is willing to endure the most suffering.
SUVelo Club Champs, C-Grade
Heffron, Sunday, Nov. 10th
45min + 1 lap
With the forecast looking ominous in the days leading up to the race, there was talk of postponement and many anxious tapers at stake, but Sunday morning dawned to colder than usual temperatures, a dry track and a 35km/h headwind on the finish straight. As it was Club Champs, entry was restricted to club members, and the conditions reduced the field a bit, so we ended up with 15 or so starters.
The pace was reasonably quick from the gun, with the field strung out in a line for the first few laps. I rolled a few turns, doing my bit to keep the pace highish to see if we could ditch a few of the non-regulars who come out of the woodwork for club champs, but there was no sign of anyone cracking. I made sure to stay near the front, and to tuck up close behind someone for the headwind section. If I was on the front for the headwind I just rode to threshold rather than smashing myself trying to keep the speed up in the wind.
The prime was called with 25mins remaining, which was too early for a breakaway so I just followed along without actually contesting the sprint, but ensuring I wasn’t too far off in case someone decided to take off. As it happened, no one did, but two laps later one of the guys gave it a dig. He’s one of the strongest and was in good shape, so while I felt it was still a bit too far out I wasn’t happy to let him go and sprinted across. When I reached him we had about 7-8m so I let him know and said to swap turns. Although we did, the group had other ideas and had closed us down 1km later, though in doing so they’d shed half the peloton and we were down to 8. Brief showers had started to wet the track, but the GP4000s had no issues so cornering wasn't affected.
I don’t really know if I can sprint. I can give it a good go, but I prefer to ditch as many people as possible beforehand to maximise my odds. When I was on the front I started gunning it out of the turns to force people to chase me, and create a bit of yoyo-effect for those bludging down the back, but it had minimal effect. With a few of us quite evenly matched, everyone racing only for themselves and a couple of sprinters keen to keep everything together, a breakaway wasn’t going to work, so I figured a last lap, or last two-lap flyer was my best hope.
I found myself at the back heading down the finish straight for the bell, with the pace relatively slow as the cat & mouse games had started and everyone was thinking of the sprint. The rain had started, I was nicely sheltered from the wind and then the guy in front of me put in a bit of a spurt as we crossed the line. The gap opened and I just decided to go, so I put the hammer down and went for it. I figured I might be able to corner better than the bunch in the rain so just got as low and aero as I could and tried to keep the pace as high as possible through the squircle.
There was a bit of hesitation from the bunch, probably knowing that whoever closed the gap would lose the race, so I had got an 8-10m gap as I turned onto the tailwind section out the back. Kept going, shouting at the D-graders who had just finished to keep left, then as I rounded the top section into the wind I could see I still had roughly 10m and started to hope that I could make it. I chewed my stem all the way down the main straight in an effort to get as aero as possible into the headwind, looking back through my legs to see if I could see anyone and willing the line closer as the lactic piled on. With 100m to go I was seriously pedalling squares and was completely unco. There wasn't going to be any ‘sprint’ from me. I was struggling to keep the legs turning and the bike upright!! With 30m to go I couldn’t see anyone through my legs so decided to risk a head turn. At that stage I knew I’d won, but I wasn’t letting up as they were closing me down. Crossed the line with a half-arsed bike throw, close to a spew and thinking to myself “I wish I’d done some lactate tolerance intervals!”
Prizes/medals were presented by Nathan Hass which was pretty cool
30.5km at 37.4km/h
AP: 282W (Quarq)
Last lap: 2:59 (420W)
Off to B-Grade now
Quarq. Hopefully calibrated properly LOL I've checked Strava and the prim lap was averaging 380W. That's going to bump that normalised power up a lot. The calculation gives a lot of value to big efforts.
Dale, fair call and criticism accepted. I'm wondering if I've ended up overlapping the wheel trying to move past him? I swear there is a gaping hole in my memory in the lead up to the crash. I am missing 20m where I'm not sure what actually transpired, I'm just remembering clipping the wheel and . Part of me is thinking "have I attempted to stay on my line, to prevent me from cutting up the guy behind me?" which is plainly stupid, because you can't cut yourself up and protect the guy behind. Would this be defined as "got blocked up in the bunch sprint" in the race report??
CCCC Wyong B grade - 35’ + 2 laps
A hard race last Friday with plenty of breakaways and surges. Again I was for most of the time near the front of the race. After last week where the gentle giant won, we all kept an eye on him and when he blinked we all jumped. There was an attack from one rider and we let him ride away. Too far to go still. Out of sight and out of mind though. 3 laps to go and there was another attack and they gained some ground. While doing single leg drills, the gentle giant jumped across, I saw it happen but was blocked. Under 1 lap to go, and I decided to cross to the break, unfortunately just resulting in me dragging back the pack. They had picked up the solo escapist and it all ended in a bunch sprint. Taken out by the gentle giant. He’s moving up to A grade next week.
HVMC Kooragang – C grade – 6 laps
Sunday morning I rocked up for a dry but very windy Kooragang race. We went off with a bang and as usual the first lap was high intensity, I did my turn at the front, into the wind, and realised that I needed to use my strength sparingly as the wind would make it a difficult race. There were plenty of attacks but none of them could stick. Pace fell when into the wind as people were very hesitant to do a turn, coming into the straight with a tailwind we were absolutely going as hard as we could. At one stage the bunch split in two and we had to work pretty hard to get back on. After that i stayed near the front and was not caught out again. Just before 1 lap to go 2 guys attacked and as no one wanted to do the work into the wind they managed to stay away. We accepted to sprint for the minor places. A bit disappointing.
Nice reports and well done on the win donncha! Holding off a chasing bunch in the closing metres of a race is always a challenge and feels great when you pull it off!
Cheers! My sprint is pretty good as long as I have a fast wheel to follow into the sprint and a relatively slow ramp up in speed. My actual kick for the sprint is a little lacking (possibly due to 90kg of mass that requires accelerating!). Despite this, I managed to hit 59.3kph in the sprint - frustratingly close my 'magical' target number of 60! Must spin moar!
Thanks mate. Looking at the data I'd managed to do the previous lap at only 202W, so got a chance to get a bit of a breather.
At 84kg 420W works out at 5W/kg exactly, so now I know I can hang with Jens for perhaps the first 3 minutes of one of his breakaways
With your power make sure you have 0 average turned on on the garmin as this throws the numbers out. With the numbers your putting out, you could go fine in A grade and be comfortable in B grade.
As others have said, you are letting yourself off easy with the crash. You need to admit you screwed up here. Remember while its nice to win, you are not racing for sheep stations. There is no need to be riding that close in C grade. If you dont want to get boxed in leave a wheel between you and the guy infront and come out half a bike width to a bike width, you dont overlap. Frankly, sounds like you were following way too close, overlapping not to get boxed in and just taking way too many risks.
Wow... Suffered like a stuffed pig on a spit today . Didn't feel amazing in the warm up, no explosive power... Plus each lap had some pretty serious climbing... Some of them needed to be done at full power to clear obstacles. Plus a stair run each lap which I totally sucked at.
Nothing much else to say... Got an ok start running around 20th out of 80. Crashes everywhere.
After a while I obviously started losing blood to my brain... I was trying to turn where there were no turns and making silly mistakes. Had to back off a bit to stay upright.
Lost a lap to the first 2 or 3 places... Wasn't upset at all about that!.
Roll on the one flat course in January!
Also make sure you have "smart recording" OFF. You should be using 1-sec recording.
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This is not specifically directed at Vander.
I have taken it on the chin where it is warranted, and I am not embarrassed about it. This is precisely why I wasn't keen on going to a higher grade - but I've gotten curry for that too! It is easy to have a negative opinion, it's harder to justify. I stay in the low grade because of inexperience. "Sandbagger". I have a crash because of inexperience. "Should have known better".
Just make sure you leave some room for someone to do something right. It is impossible to push the limit without increasing your risks.
For those interested, my knee was cleared by the doc today, and the bike should be back on the road fr less than 50 bucks, praise God! Going to jump on the trainer tonight to wind the pedals over.
I guess if you put it on a forum you leave yourself open to scrutiny
Don't see a problem with the grades you've entered in your first few races, but as far as crashes go it makes no difference if it's a D grader or a B grader you bring down, it's still someone who probably has to get up for work the next day.
I think the advice that you've been given has been pretty well meaning. I especially like the give a little bit more room suggestion. Clearly you're strong, if the guy in front starts to struggle and leaves a gap you won't be in any danger of getting dropped, you'll easily be able to close down all the gaps in C grade at your level. And stop talking your bike handling down, that crash was almost like a self fulfilling prophecy. You've done your share of group rides, I'm sure your handling is no where near as bad as you claim.
Oh and a little humility
Glad you and the bike are going to be OK.
Even if you're strong enough for B Grade, you need to know how to race first. Ignore what others accuse you of in relation to sandbagging, do not engage with those people on this forum - it is your health and enjoyment of the sport at issue here. Nothing will push you away from the sport faster than a more serious injury like a broken collarbone or worse. As a guide, you should be aiming to have no more than one crash per year or even less often. Even racing regularly.
Now, based on your report this crash was not great, and I'm a bit concerned that you're not even sure how it happened! In all likelihood, your bike handling needs to improve before you go to B Grade. That is not the same as sandbagging - you need to be confident about what you're doing before you go. Racing is not the same as riding around with some mates.
Also, do not allow anyone or anything within 30 cm of your front wheel, either at the sides or from in front. Even/especially at the sharp end of the race.
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