WCMCC C grade criterium (strava)
Smeaton Way - Rockingham
24 November 2013
This race was likely the last WCMCC criterium for the year for me. As the PDCC criterium season starts next Sunday at the same circuit. This was going to be a good chance for me to test my legs and see if I am going to ride C or D grade with PDCC.
I had very simple strategy, for the first few laps settle down as the ticket collector, get comfortable with the corners. Then go to the front and do exactly what I had been doing at the back, steady into the corner, surge hard out, slow, repeat.
The first few laps I struggled, a couple of times I had issues with the last corner and it took a lot of work to get back on up the finishing straight as it was a block headwind. After a few laps, I settled down and was comfortable with the corners, I then realised I was still feeling the effects from Thursday's effort and delayed heading to the front.
It was heading towards the 30 minute mark and the bunch was slow up the finish straight, so I got to second wheel, around the corner went to the front, drove hard out of the next corner, forced a chase, was preparing for the next corner, when the counter attack came, everybody was strung out and moving at pace. So I never got back to the front. A couple laps later, the bell rang, the pace picked up. Second last corner, a few stragglers from A grade where on the outside, I took a conservative approach, lost a few bike lengths, onto the finish straight, the rider in front popped, got past, the bunch where strung out and I was chasing the tail, which I just missed catching.
Happy with my performance, as Thursday's night race and a rush of over enthusiasm Saturday's training ride did take it's toll. Tactically, I need to move up to the front for the last few laps, so I can be in position on the last lap, if I want a result. Still this was not about a result but a test which I past and if nothing unpredictable happens this Thursday, I will be racing C grade next Sunday.
To be honest..I wouldnt have a clue as to what gear I am missing or should have. I recently put a 11/25 cassette on the back and the front is 34/50T sprocket. The course I am riding is flat so I am only using half the cassette really and only the top 2 rear cogs on that final straight to the finish line.
I realise the engine is the most important factor in all this, but being human, thought more is better when it came to the cassette/sprocket.
My tactics, if they exist at all, is pretty much just bang as hard as possible on the pedals in that final straight. In that last race, if I hadnt been so inexperienced, I should have held off on when I kicked and it may have resulted in me getting a better result...BUT...the beauty of it all is that there are more races for me to practice in
I have only been riding for the last 2-3 years, and 99% of my riding is commuting to work. I am in my mid forties so am enjoying the health benefits of cycling...am having a ball actually and havent felt this good in years.
More cogs are only useful if they provide a gear that you can use. As Xplora said if you often find yourself 'in between' gears when the gear you're in is too small, but the next one up is too big, that is where you have room to change things. You either sacrifice some range to fill in the gaps, spend a chunk of money upgrading to keep the range and add one or two cogs as well. On a flat course with your gears I'd be in the big ring all the time and mostly in three cogs 15, 17 and 19 depending how your cassette is configured. If you limited your gear range with e.g. a 11-21 or 12-23 you might be able to add a 16 and 18 tooth cogs as well. Whether it is worth doing would depend on what else you need these wheels to do.
For example, I have two rear wheels, one 12-28 for the frequently hilly road races I do, and my crit wheel has a 12-23. Last weekend's race was on one of the flatter courses around here and I could certainly have used my crit wheel for it, but in the end I went for my regular race wheel because there was a better chance of staying in the big ring up the lesser hills, when I'd have been forced to change chainrings otherwise. (Changing rings under pressure is something I try to avoid, a habit I picked up from long ago).
Gear spread is worthless unless you need big gears to climb, and small gears to sprint or go down hills faster. I use a compact and I am close to abandoning my 11-23 to go back to the 12-23. Why? Because 18 gives you 30-36kmh over 85-105rpm which I spend more time doing than most other speeds, especially suffering alone. If the legs want to spin at 95rpm and the gears force you to do 85 or 100 then you are wasting energy.
That last bit is so true. And sometimes you just don't have the legs to push that bit harder to get to the sweet spot where you can more easily use a particular gear.
^^^ Worth remembering as well that the sweet spot is different for everyone. I'm quite puzzled by my unconscious unwillingness to go standard or TT, given my slow twitch tendencies, but things just feel good on the compact and I am on the bottom of the cassette too much to believe that losing my 34 is a good plan
Anyways, looking forward to more race reports and on topic discussion Anybody at Marconi this week?
Tint A Car criterium
Open C grade
November 28 2013
The field had changed from the previous week, an extra 10 riders, a lot of new riders and number I recognised rode club B grade. So I expected a tough race and was hoping to last five laps.
The first half a lap was done behind the car. I was sitting mid pack and was surprised how badly most of the riders took the 180 degree corner at the bottom of the circuit.
The car pulled off at the end of the lap and the pace picked up. I had no problems with the pace or the cornering at the top half of the circuit. Though I was slowly drifting back to my usual position of ticket collector. A couple of riders panicked and raced past me, when I did not surge as hard as the riders in front coming out of the 180 degree corner at the top of the circuit. I knew from experience the pack would slow through the kink under the bridge before the service road.
I was sitting at the back as we swung off the service road onto the drag strip. The rider in front of me, rode across the rails on the circuit and promptly sat up for a couple of seconds. With no where to go I slowed. That rider realising his mistake, started a full on sprint to catch the bunch. I conserved my energy, stayed seated and drove hard. The rider infront caught the bunch at the turn and I was only 10m or so behind.
All I needed to do was take the corner well, drive hard out and catch the bunch. Except I took the corner so badly I ended more than 25m off the back of a surging bunch.
I rode hard to try and catch the bunch, passing the rider who just sprinted, got back on and promptly popped. However, the bunch was surging and riders where being spat out, at one stage a small group of six where off the back. It gave me a little hope as the bunch slowed and they got back on. But another surge and the group was strung out and going away. Riding into a head/crosswind I was never going to catch a group of riders who normally ride two grades above me.
I rode another lap, so I was not the first to retire, that honour belonged to the rider who slowed going onto the drag strip. I did catch another couple of riders, who got spat out. There was no way I was going to get back on, the bunch had good gap,it was growing and I was pretty spent.
I got to watch the end of the race. It was a war of attrition, half the riders finished in the bunch. The rest were spread out on the course or retired.
At home the post race analysis was interesting, particularly as you could see the how other people rode the race on Strava. The fastest laps of the race where slower than the previous week. The average speed was a little higher than the previous week, but not enough to cause me problems. So I should of been able to survive in the bunch. This was supported by my power data was similar to other recent crits.
So what happened, I was feeling the effects of racing for the fourth time in five days, but that was not a major factor. I lacked confidence in myself, I did not believe I was capable of riding with this bunch and I was. I need to ride further up the bunch of unknown riders for the first few laps, so I don't get caught out by other riders mistakes.
The big questions is will I be back for the next Tint A Car criterium in two weeks time. It depends, if I do well at the two PDCC C grade crits in the next two weeks, I will race, as confidence plays a bit part in my racing.
Hi Nick. I think that you are spot on with all this analysis. You are probably good enough to even ride B grade if you can master positioning. Staying at the front is easy. Staying in the top ten is a skill that needs to be learned. You practice hard on all the other skills I think it is time to turn your sole race attention to this skill. Staying in the top ten. Some things that I use to accomplish this are:
Get to the start line first, you can choose where to start,
Pull a couple of turns on the front to get recognised,
Every lap plan to pass 3 to 5 riders,
Recognise that from 3/4 race distance there is much less movement, people have established their status quo positions,
Learn to use your body: position yourself with the hip at the bars of your target position and wait for the gap,
Take every half wheel gap that you see immediately, quickly but not violently,
follow every train that rolls up the inside or out. Sometimes you will need to roll a small turn.
Ride conservative turns on the front at tempo.
Hey Nick, riding at the back of a race field will never gain you confidence. The reason being, there is to much flow on effect from the riders up front dictating the pace and breaking from the riders right on the front. So as that momentum goes through the field, it compounds down to the back, so stay in the top 50% of the field.
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Waratahs C Grade, Eastern Creek Raceway
What an excellent race! Plenty of breaks, chases and a good sprint from a reduced bunch at the end. I went into the race feeling good and resolved not to break away too early. Last week at Lansdowne I'd done three laps off the front on my own in the first half of the race and left myself with not much for the final. Eastern Creek always finishes in a bunch sprint so there isn't much hope of making a break stick, however I always enjoy attacking more than sitting in so I just wanted to restrain myself from going too early.
James from Waratahs and a Penrith rider went from the gun and got a reasonable gap with no-one chasing strongly. I sat in a few wheels back from the front and watched, eventually two riders moved to bridge and I went with them, they took a while to connect with the two riders up front and I wasn't quite connected with them so the chase was quite hard. We eventually got together and stayed away for a while. My memory gets a bit fuzzy here but there seemed to be a break going for most of the first half of the race, just before the prime there was a group of three with about 50m on the rest of us, I followed chasing wheels but there was no chance of catching them for the sprint. I joined the breakaway riders after the prime and went reasonably hard, not realising that we were forming a break which was to end up being a bunch of around seven riders. We started trying to work together and looking back we had quite a big gap. There were three Waratah riders in the break so I knew that the others wouldn't be chasing and looking to other clubs to chase us down.
The break was a bit ragged, we tried to get everyone taking short turns but it didn't really work out, I pulled turns climbing the hill on the back of the course for two laps and started feeling very cooked. In the end we overtook D grade who then got their bell with the rest of C grade right on their tail, we neutralised and let D grade go ahead. This was at the 65 minute mark which was supposed to be our bell but we kept going for another couple of laps before it rang, I was happy with that as it gave me a chance to recover a little. Coming up the hill for the last time I found James in the bunch and asked if he had legs for one final attack. I thought I wouldn't have legs for a sprint but a suicidal attack would be fun if not successful. After the sweeping turn we both headed up to the front but couldn't quite go together, I went on the left and ended up blocked in around the corner while James tried to go on the outside. Luckily my jump had put me in a reasonable position around the corner so I tried to stay with the front group. It was a bit cagey going down the straight as I fought for a wheel, I jumped around a bit and then opened up with about 200m to go. We finished up spread across the road and I rolled in around seventh place.
Kudos to the Penrith rider who I think was in every break of the day including our big one, he worked really hard and was never slow to go to the front.
It was probably one of the hardest races I've done with Waratahs, in the end no prizes but such a good race to be part of.
Where's your next race? cabici.net lists bike races in Sydney
Waratahs C grade, Eastern Creek.
Steve covered most of the action above, but I have some interesting additions. James from Waratahs, Croozin and I were the three that took off for the prime lap, I decided that I was not going to throw the kitchen sink at it, because it was a loooong race. My intention was to put CrooZin over the line because he wasn't going to sit in all day. I was giving him advice on the tactics and he responded really well despite some turn taking work. He is a glutton for punishment.
Anyways, we sat up after the prime because the Waratahs bunch is very unpredictable. You can break them but suffering over FTP for long enough without help doesn't sound like fun today. Too far out. So we sat up whoch sounds like according to Steve was a bad decision because that break was working HARD. They were creeping away and if the gameplan of winning was to come through we had to make it happen.
I expected 1-2 more laps (turns out it was really 3-4 more!!) I told the front of the bunch that we had to get it together otherwise it wasn't going to happen. To their credit, a few lads really started putting down the hammer but it just wasn't happening. On the first hill I told Croozin that we had to get up there, second hill I told him that I would get him up to the break but once I sat up, I was gone. Just as we crested Capital Hill, I had spent everything out of the saddle getting in touch with the break. Sat up and rolled around quietly having a chat with Keith from Parramatta, who beat me in my first race. Nice guy
Finished up a lap down, got to see Croozin cross the line in the bunch sprint. Very pleased with that one. My first time genuinely focused on getting the result, without myself being the sole focus. I think in hindsight I should have been more patient, but it is so hard trying to read some riders who clearly are strong enough to do the work but haven't decided to drive the chase, or maybe they can't and that is why they are sitting in. 300m is a loooong way at the Creek, and it is deceptive how close they really are. Hard to chase, but harder to take seriously because they are visible. The distance feels different to Lansdowne and the Regatta centre at Penrith.
I think a big take home was that I can't dump the 11-23; could not do that straight with a 12 without going seriously anaerobic from spinning 130rpm each lap! I need to work how bad I want these primes, I don't need any tyres just now, and it is a serious hit to the matchbox each time. Need to boost the FTP a lot and feel more comfortable accepting that the bunch is susceptible to breaks, and expect that chases won't come easy. I am also not worrying about not being a sprinter any more, I had tons of power if I needed it. I just have to be smarter about being rested enough to do them.
Well done to everyone racing today, safe racing in perfect weather, 171 riders all up. The creek is definitely on my list and the Waratahs do a great job.
Steve and X, nice racing with you guys yesterday. Lots of hard chasing of the breakaways. Brendan, the guy who won, is a big unit and deserved the win (I knew he'll win, he's strong and raced B grade at Marconi). Helped a lot in reeling in the 6-7 man break, did my turn (have some photos to prove it ) though some riders who looked strong just don't want to go in front. Was quite suprised that the bunch was much smaller when the race ended, seems like the chasing took its toll on some of the riders. I had some left for the sprint but jumped on the wrong wheel. Otherwise, it was good race. Chasing breakaways can be quite fun. Last tuesday at Marconi, we were able to make the break stick at the same course (also 6 riders), this time the table's turned for me.
Steve, that Penrith rider is David. He is one of the work horses of C grade. A regular fixture on the front on all races I been to, be it in Waratah or Marconi or Penrith.
So it wasn't just me thinking that the bunch wasn't much bigger than the break towards the end LOL I think that was the killer, strategically.... The break was clearly not interested in quitting, but I reckon there might have been more trying in the break than in the bunch. The whole peloton chase doesn't work if less people are chasing than running away
Racing tonight Wal?
ACT Vets Club Champs - Lookout Hill.
There were only 5 in our group, BB, TH, HT and some other guy I didn't know. Course was out to Point Hut then turn and head out to base of Apollo Rd, turn and go back to Point Hut and finish halfway up Lookout Hill.
Weather was cloudy and coolish but still warm enough for summer kit.
We started off and I was on the front then after a while HT came around and said we should do rolling turns. I just wanted to suck wheel but did my share of the work. The guy who's name I don't know was weaker and didn't pull any turns and we dropped him not long into the race. We were heading out to PH and BB attacked on the rise before the turn but the 4 of us stayed together. There was another half-hearted attack at the rise before you turn back toward LH but we stayed together. Then as expected BB attacked going up Lookout Hill. I stayed with him but used up too many matches and as soon as we got to the top I was done. HT was on my wheel and by this time a gap of a couple of hundred metres formed between us and BB and TH and then HT had left it too late and couldn't bridge to them. I was out in no-man's-land doing my usual ITT. They weren't getting away but I wasn't catching them either.
I caught a 3-Fidi guy (from a different grade) about halfway between top of Mt Tennant and Apollo Rd and he sucked my wheel for a while then we caught another guy wearing BMC kit who also sucked my wheel. I was feeling pretty tired and was more than ready for the wheelsuckers to do some work on the return leg but I had dropped them so I had to continue solo. About halfway back before Mt Tennant the BMC guy caught me again and kept going. I managed to jump on his wheel and have a rest for a while and then I did a mini attack up Mt Tennant and managed to drop him and stayed away from him for the rest of the race.
I picked up a bunch of 5 or so girls on the long grind heading back to Lookout Hill, passed them and kept going. I picked up a few more stragglers and left them behind and then on the way back from Point Hut caught another bunch of 4 along the straight before Lookout Hill. I just sat on the back of them and conserved energy and waited until the hill sprint. Most times I've been that cooked by now I've not been able to do anything. This time my legs still had a bit in them so I started to wind it up but was having trouble getting a gap. I managed to find one at the last minute but just got pipped by a tyre over the line. Not that the guy was in my grade anyway but I don't feel like I've had a proper race unless I sprint over the finish line!
So I ended up 4th in MM3. Not sure in the end if BB or TH won.
Last edited by Ross on Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
HVMCC C Grade - 5 laps
38 k/h avg
Place : 2nd
My preparation for racing wasnt the best this time. Bit too much alcohol the night before, and friday night, combined with a 4 day commuting week had me feeling a little off. The commute home on thursday arvo especially was a killer, it took a lot out of me and I was feeling shattered that thursday night.
Due to a motorbike toy run the same morning, the organisers decided to cut the race down to 5 laps. The race was also an invitational one, so it just wasnt "masters" riding. Between these two factors I was thinking the pace may be a bit faster as a result, I was wrong . Anyways, I line up at the start, in my usual position at the back of the pack. Being new, I know noone at all...all the other riders are chatting away and having a good old time. The pace from the get go is similar to the previous week and again, there is a rider who takes off from the start and gets a few hundred meters in front, this has me shaking my head. I settle in around the middle of the bunch and pretty much stay there for most of the race.
The course has a hairpin turn just past the halfway mark, and I am learning to make sure I am up near the front of the bunch at this point as it is less work coming out of it than if you are at the back. During the race individual riders have break aways but to my thinking they are pointless as they always get pulled back and being alone they would have to be very fit to keep away from the bunch with anywhere from 2- 4 laps to go. Apart from these individual break aways there was not much happening during the race. The bunch were pretty happy to simply roll around till the money lap.
I always smile to myself when the money lap starts because this is where the fun begins I believe. The pace picks up, as usual, and we go around and nothing much happens until just before the hairpin turn. One rider breaks away and as he does he seems to urge two young kids to go with him. The kids go and they get a good break on the bunch, the adult didnt stay with them..maybe he was just showing the kids that it was time to try a break away. The kids are doing well, the bunch doesnt seem to be worried as noone lifts the pace and just before the turns into the second last straight, I said aloud "hope those kids have got a lot of ticker" as the second last straight had a decent headwind the whole length. One rider pipes up that one kid does triathlons and the other kid did something else also, so they were supposedly fit.
The bunch caught the kids before the two turns into the final straight. After the last turn into the final straight I was sitting around 3rd wheel. I was not going to make the same mistake as the previous week and go too early. I waited and waited for markers that I had staked out during my warmup but before I could light up, a rider in front went and went hard. I stayed on his wheel but he got a bike length in front and I just couldnt bridge it. I kept pushing and did this time, sneak a look over my right shoulder...and there were bikes a plenty there. I kept going as hard as I could and this time scored 2nd place despite a hard finisher on my left.
On the presentation ceremony, the guy who came third was called up as the second place winner and I was called up for third. To his credit, this other guy told them he came third and that I had come second...so prize money was swapped. I went up to him and thanked him for his honesty and stand up behaviour.
1. Dont get on the grog the night before
2. Too much commuting isnt helpful
3. I can match it with C grade riders
I didn't realised there was only 16 riders on the bunch finish out of 41 who started. The breakaway did a good job on splitting the bunch on that regard.
Not racing tonight but tomorrow at Marconi, I will.
Hi gretaboy, good to see you mixing up in C. HVCC is a bit of a strange beast what speed is concerned. I raced B the first time I raced at Kooragang and got dropped at the beginning of the second lap. It was just going berserk and I could not see myself going at that speed for another 4 laps. The week after I raced C and again the first lap was full on. It settled down during the 3rd lap, but the straight was done at full gas each time. I believe that the top couple of guys got promoted to B after that race. Hence the 3rd race was a walk in the park, with the first 2 laps ridden at easy pace.
This Sunday I decided not to go to Kooragang as it was raining when I got up at 6, only to be greeted by a beautiful day at 8. Frustration ! You must be a good sprinter as it’s a very long straight, and it’s even longer with the kocc races. For me I consider the race over if we’re all together in the last lap : I don’t have a sprint. With the pace in the first laps not hectic it sets the base for my strategy : try and break away in the 4th lap with a couple of guys, so far with no success.
I’m going to Europe for a month’s holiday next week to Europe, without any riding. I’ll try and race I’m concerned about the form, as i’m not a spring chicken anymore (48). The plan is to come back and just ride for a week, and see how I go, and then to start doing intensity. Re entry on the racing circuit 10/1. I would imagine it would take me another month to get back close to my current form, but i’ll definitely will race at Kooragang early jan, so hopefully i can sit on your wheel.
Filip, I am still in D grade with Kooragang CC...havent raced the last two weeks with them since they have been running handicaps and have been racing at HVMCC instead. I am waiting for the scratch races at KOCC. It was overcast most of the morning and at once stage it did sprinkle ever so lightly during the race but overall the weather was good.
As to being a good sprinter..just depends what you compare me against I guess. I am still learning lots and to date havent picked it right, but hopefully one day I might get first in C. With the bunch going around the circuit at 38-42 k/h I just dont see the point in trying for a break away early so far and especially when the second last straight has got a decent headwind...just expend too much energy. However, in saying that, if I had someone to work with and who was prepared to put in, then I reckon it would be achievable..just dont know anyone..yet The break wouldnt happen till the last lap and just before the last two left turns....then you would leave the sprinters out of the running. I know I have got the power/energy to put myself or someone else over the line for first in that instance.
I am not going anywhere for the christmas break so plan to ride as much as possible....am having fun doing it. Its like a second wind with my youth
SKCC C-Grade Crits
50mins, avg. 41.4kph
After being rained out last week, it was good to get back into some racing again on Sunday!
Only 5 laps into the race, a group of riders I know to be fairly strong had managed to form a 6-man break and were opening a gap, so I bridged across to join them. Turned out that others were thinking the same thing, because we were brought back in just over 3 laps - despite maintaining a good pace.
Everyone then settled down, with a few half hearted break attempts keeping the pace up. By 15mins to go, my recent lack of training had me struggling a bit and I wasn't maintaining my position up near the front as I usually do. A break went with 3 strong riders and a couple of extra's, who threatened to ride away for the win. I didn't have the juice to do anything about it, so just worked on trying to move up into a better position and hope someone else would bring them back...
At 2 laps to go, it was clear we'd catch the break, so we had half a lap of respite before closing them down in the final half a lap. Shortly after they were absorbed into the bunch, a rider came out wide past me, so I jumped on his wheel for a tow up to the front. As we were moving up, there was a crash in the gutter and the back half of the bunch were isolated. The guy in front of me then popped, so I merged back into the race line and found a nice wheel coming into the final corner. Just before I started the corner, I got hit with a massive hip and shoulder as some muppet tried to push his way through a hole which was too small for him, while at speed... I don't mind a nudge or a touch of bars from a decent rider, but this was a full on hit. It skipped my back wheel out quite a long way, but we both managed to stay upright and recover to keep the race line through the corner shoulder-to-shoulder. (looking at my garmin data it gave my heart a good jump too!)
Having lost a lot of speed and potentially some contents of my bowels, the guy then dropped the hammer and went for the sprint. I gave a half arsed sprint so that he could still hear my abuse as I sprayed him down the finishing straight, then pulled up and reported him to the com. Turns out it was his team mate who went down in the crash only 100m earlier...
I ended up coming across in 5th, which I wasn't unhappy about considering what had just happened. But, as I'm a fan of keeping my skin and bones in tact over getting a podium, positioning wasn't exactly top of my mind. Fortunately, no damage at all and I'll live to race another week...
well done cerb on reporting him. to be frank, the SKCC crits don't have a great reputation for rider safety. i hope they did something about it.
Smeaton Way Rockingham
1 December 2013
The D grade regulars, looked relieved when I told then I was riding C grade.
I went into C grade with a simple aim in mind, stay in the front six riders or so, for as long as possible and not worry about a result. Which I did, until the second corner and my back wheel stepped out. Got round the corner and looked down, rear wheel puncture and on the wrong part of the course. Still had a little air in it, so I limped my way back to the start. But with no spare wheel, my race was over.
A new tube and asking nicely, had me lining up in D grade 30 minutes later. I was probably the strongest rider in the race, but there were 3 riders who would beat me in a straight up sprint. So I needed some tactics and in the absence of logic I decided to make the race as hard as possible for everybody and see what would happen.
At the end of the first lap I attacked up the straight, everybody chased back on, by the first corner, I came out of that hard, slowed a little, charged out the next corner, forcing a chase. Scott took over for the next few corners, then I put the pressure on up the straight again. Eased off on the back straight, so Simmo and Alan went to the front and rode tempo for a couple of laps. Until I attacked again, for a lap or two. As I rolled back to survey the damage I had caused, which was none, other than a lot of red faces and hard breathing. Dave P attacked, I dangled off the back for the length of the main straight, taking my time to get back on and hoping to make the attackers work harder. I don&'t know if I suceded because I was back on by the next corner. Next lap a visiting rider from NDCC Jessica launched a well timed attack, Scot was quickly on her wheel and I was not far behind, we got a small gap, but Scot was unwilling to go to the front and for once I did not have the energy to spend.
The group caught use. However, I was pretty happy with the results, I was working hard, but Scott, Dave P and Simmo were also working hard chasing me and attacking. A little later, a sole B grade attacker came past. After dangling off the front of D grade for over a lap, I used him as a carrot, attacked and quickly caught him. Looked under my arm and saw two bunches chasing both B and D grades. So I dropped in behind and waited for D grade to regroup, as B grade went by and then promptly slowed. The next lap and half was the slowest of the race for D grade. B grade picked up the pace and so did I.
Until the next corner, when my back wheel stepped out. a quick check the tyre looked OK, but it did the same next corner. So I dropped to the back, decide that the tyre was holding up, so ride conservatively, don't take any risks or ride up front in corners. If my rear tyre was going to give way, it could take me out but nobody else.
It was a pretty sedate pace, nobody was attacking until two laps to go. Then Jessica attacked on the back straight, Scott was quickly on here wheel as was Alan. Sitting at the back of the bunch, I expected Simmo to bridge the gap, but he didn't, he was spent. None of the other riders, even attempted it, maybe they were waiting for me to do it. Except we had a couple of corners coming up. The bunch was slow through them and there was no way for me to get past. Got to the front and started chasing, my wheel stepped out again turning onto the front straight and I cut the distance in half.
With three working it was going to be hard work to catch them, around the back of the course I did not gain any ground, I was still be conservative cornering, On to the straight, Scott was pulling away from Jessica, with Alan dropping back and looking catchable. When Phil, who had been sitting in the whole race and nobody said a word as he had open heart surgery less than ten weeks earlier, came flying past. I pushed on caught Alan for fourth , then promptly pulled off the circuit, expecting to find a badly deflated rear tyre. To my surprise the tyre was fully inflated, but the casing had started to deteriorate. Half the casing had a strange pattern on it.
While it was a couple of minor disasters for me today, flat in C grade, bad behaviour of my rear tyre in D grade. The D grade race reinforced my decision to race C grade and the need to stay close to the front as possible.
HCC d grade crit 25mins + 3 laps, marshalling duties.
i ended up riding most of the race with a young bloke about 14? who i think was in his first race. they'd cancelled E grade due to low numbers so he was in D with the big boys. my job was to look out for him, keep B grade out of the way. he was pretty upset he got dropped from the bunch, lacked confidence in riding in the bunch so rode most of the race on his own. but boy he could give it some pepper up the hill. i hope he returns as he's got the goods and will improve with every race. i also hope he's not reading this.
i also raced c grade afterwards and rolled in with the bunch.
SKCC D grade - 45 mins + 3 laps
massive field of 60 today. mostly out of fear, i made a point of staying near the front. i started at the back and after a few cruisy laps started making my way up forward. spent most of the race near and once on the front, moving back only when the race was 'neutralised' to let B grade clear off (i.e. give those hiding at the back a chance to surge to the front). thankfully there were no incidents, and i came about 15th. they're asking people to nominate for C to balance numbers so that was probably my last D grade race. did a 48 km/h final lap which i was happy with as only my 4th crit for the season.
Manly West Head Road Race
This is a race I've tried a few times in the past, the first time in D grade I finished ok, the next two in C grade I was dropped after the first lap on the climb after the turn-around at the entrance to West Head road. The last time I managed to chase back on again but was then cooked and was dropped again for good.
Since then they have extended the course to start in Akuna Bay and started splitting C grade in two; Prestige races from the gun while Hubbard rides the first climb neutral and races from the start of West Head road. So, I signed up for C Hubbard hoping that this time I'd be able to stick with the pace to the end.
My form's been good lately with an excellent race last week, however I was away this week and didn't ride and got to bed late on Thursday and Friday leaving me tired. I'd raced on Saturday at Lansdowne and felt very empty but hoped that a good rest would improve things. This morning I felt better but not great but seemed to improve as I warmed up on the hills around Akuna Bay.
After a bit of waiting around we set off on the 'neutral' climb which was actually at a pretty good pace (a PR on Strava averaging just over 20km/h) then on to the first lap which seemed at times to be a bit easier pace than the neutral climb. I felt ok and stayed close to the front of the bunch, hit the climb of the Wall before the first turn near the front and ended up half way back. The way back was fast but not hard and going in to the turn-around I made sure I was right at the front to give myself the best chance of staying on, this worked and I crested the climb after the turn with the bunch. I thought I'd recovered well but when we hit the next climb my heart rate went through the roof and I felt very close to cracking, I finished that climb near the back of the bunch which was now about half the size it was at the start. I couldn't remember how far it was to the Wall again but thought I would be dropped for sure when we hit it, as it happened it was quite a way and I thought I might have recovered ok, but when we hit it I more or less stopped and watched the bunch ride past me and over the top about 20m ahead. That was it, race over. I chased as well as I could with another dropped rider but it was never going to happen. I managed to get back to the start in time to watch the finish which was contested by about 4-5 riders.
So still some work to do. I think if I'd been able to prepare better this week I might have lasted a little longer, just getting up the Wall again would probably allow me to stay on for the majority of the second lap, the next challenge would be the final climb after the turnaround. I'll see if I can give it a go in January and try to prepare myself a bit better for it.
Where's your next race? cabici.net lists bike races in Sydney
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