Big weekend of racing for me
11/01 KOCC C grade - 4 laps 28 k
Avg 37.4 k/h
Turned up for racing thinking that I had prepared ok, especially food re energy. It was a warm afternoon also. Went and paid my money and was surprised when I got a bib for D grade...my joy however was quickly crushed when my name was called over the loud speaker. Go back to the office and they tell me I am racing C grade now...was wondering when that was going to happen.
Anyways we get told it is 4 laps so immediately think it is going to be a quick race, and we had a decent sized field contending also. Race kicks off and the pace is up there from the start. As we go around my legs were feeling a little tired and most likely from the swimming that I had done that morning. Just after the end of the second lap a single rider goes surges out of the bunch and he got a good break too. Four of us then started working hard to try and bring him back and this took a little bit too much out of me in hindsight. We eventually brought him back, or he simply pulled up and let the bunch catch him.
On the last lap and we turn into the final straight. I am second wheel at this point, first mistake, and the rider in front goes hard. I try and stay on his wheel to give myself a leadout chance. At one stage I hear some noise behind me and think there may have been a crash - it turned out wheels did touch and one rider went down but was able to get up and walk away in the end which was great news. With about 800 or so to go, the rider that went by himself earlier in the race flew past me. I upped my efforts in an attempt to stay with him, second mistake, but he was off. I kept pushing hard and was giving it my all to the finish line but with a 100 or so to go two others riders, who had obviously used my wheel, just went by me. I looked around and there was a gap to the next rider so I sat up somewhat and rolled over the line for fourth place.
I positioned myself badly going into the final corner and this was my downfall I believe. Overall I guess I was happy with my effort and the place but room for improvement.
12/01 HVMCC C grade - 6 laps 42 k
Avg 38 k/h
Wasnt sure how I was going to go in this race given the race the day before but was going to give it my best. When I was paying my race fee they asked how I went the day before and from this chat I was made aware that I was one point from going up to B grade in HVMCC. Well didnt that change my thoughts on how I was going to race lol. I am not ready I believe for B grade as I dont have the fitness and I am still learning how to race and position myself. They use a six week rotation type policy on the points so after a period the number of points I have will go down.
As a result of this information I made the decision to use the race as a training/fitness ride. From the start of the race myself and another rider went hard and we got a good break on the bunch and halfway round another rider breached the gap so 3 of us were working together. That first lap we went around with an average of 38 or so I believe. The bunch eventually pulled us in halfway through the second lap.
Normally I would hide somewhat in the bunch and take minimal turns at the front. This time I spent or tried to spend a large amount of time at the front and I pushed hard. I was surprised at how well the legs were responding given the efforts the previous day. I was not worried about placing, really didnt want to place, so wasnt worried about having legs for the final sprint. I ended up on the front going into the final straight and I was pushing as hard as I could and hurting myself. The bunch of course rode over the top of me, I think the entire bunch may have gone over me, but I was smiling regardless as I achieved what I had set out to do. A couple more races like this should see my fitness rise up.
Enjoyed myself thoroughly over the weekend even if I did hurt a little as a result of two days racing.
Final CX of the season ... I wasn't going to go, missed one last Sunday still suffering from jetlag... Not being riding very well so I just thought I would let this one pass. Especially after hammering myself on Saturday short ride.
But waking up to thick fog Sunday morning had me wavering... Club ride in thick cold fog or some fun in the forest. At about 8.30am I convinced myself to pull a finger out!.
Lucky it isn't too cold at the moment, about 6c which is warm enough for summer kit with an undershirt... Because I couldn't find anything else, also struggled to find safetypins!. You must supply your own in France... 6 to be exact ( they check! ).
Anyway bike hadn't even been cleaned since last race 1 month or more ago... Luckily it had been pretty dry and bike had run like a dream.
Arrived with less than hour till start time after 45k drive. Then nearly 30 minutes for sign in!. Not sure what has happened this year... This is my 3rd season of cross here, first 2 started with about 50 in a race tapering down in the new year to about 35. This season started with 80 and maybe due to the mild winter so far has stayed around the same.
Anyway quick warm up lap or two then get in early for a reasonable grid position, normally I would fight for front row as I usually aim for a top 15 place. Yesterday I was happy to sit in 2nd row... Enough that you don't get jammed up too much in first techie bit.
Got a pretty poor start due to poor gear choice... Oh well. Heart rate went from 70 on the line to 170 in under 30 secs then stayed there for the next 50 minutes.
Sweet course... Nearly flat, big deep gravel sections which I excelled in, super slippery grass sections which I could ride but chose to run them, something I don't excel at!. 40-50kmph downhill sections which were very sketchy... Very happy on the final lap to have got through them safely everytime!. Also long tunnel sections... Racing in an old fort is very cool!.
Got lapped with less than a km to go... Fine by me. One lap less!.
Not sure of my result but around mid 20th out of 80.
Glad I went . Can't get that intensity in a club ride!.
CX bike will now get 180mm standard cranks, a smaller cassette and 28mm tires... All ready for the cobbles of July ( and maybe April as well! )
Great report TLL, would love to see some pics of your cross course, it sounds awesome. We can only dream of that kindvof action here in Perth for our cross races.
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2011 Bianchi Via Nirone Veloce
Puegeot Aneto 105
Kona Jake the Snake CX
Raceline Keith Oliver Signature Edition
Penrith regatta crit B grade 13/1
Second attempt at B tonight and I have hatched a plot for a break with the Marconi guys for late in the race. My rear wheel broke a spoke so I am running my shallow wheels, and I just don't quite have the beans in the tank after spending 10 bours doing a Tafe assignment until midnight. plus other traoining. Emergency maccas run for some chips to make sure the stomach handles its trial run of some electrolyte and supplement powder.
So around we go, punching tickets. Second lap I see Gary from church who likes to come out to the races, and I conserve energy well. I watch 2.5 breaks get decimated by the bunch, the 3rd holds it together but we are waiting for the next attack. Comes around with three laps to go and we're off like Limburger cheese, hammering 400w turns and generally doing some work. We got swallowed up but play some mind games- bell lap comes and what happened to me? I wasn't holding good straight lines downt the start straight, and when the big attack came through I ended up on the grass. Waited until the bunch rolled through and reentered the track and made a decent effort to catch back up but just little ringed it across the line. And getting in D grade's sprint LOL
Take homes were -
the need for proper nutrition. Looks like my 20 minute power has to be 270w instead of 240w to be competitive. THe engine needs fuel, and all the fancy powder doesn't change the fact that glycogen doesn't magically appear. Tryin to eat more right now for Marconi tonight.
Strong breakers can't be left to the wolf pack for eventual consumption if you want to break yourself. A number of guys did hard work to catch the attacks, and I would have better served to jump in and help the strong break because it certainly felt like they had stronger legs than I did. All that happened was my break wasn't supported enough for me to sneak a podium.
I really do work better towards he front, because I make a good disruption to the pack. Less cohesion is better for me, and its no easier punching tickets than being 4th wheel.
B grade isn't c grade or d grade. Poor prep means an expensive training session. A grade will be worse, but we can cross that bridge when we get there.
Marconi tonight at Eastern Creek, should be another strong field with a bunch sprint but you get better interval training outrunning the wolf pack. Lot more sociable than a trainer ride too come out at 6 if you can!
I won't be at Marconi tonight Xplora. Maybe next week. Good luck... I hope you do well. There are some good sprinters that will appear in the final straight, so positioning is important and can be hard to get at the dragway if you wait until the bell, and then having the punch to go with them.... unless you can break, but it seems to me that breaks are rarely successful, but may depend on who is there on the night.
Marconi 14/1 B grade
vosadrian pretty much said it all. I had three good breaks after the halfway point but the bunch was quite big and so strong! I definitely need some serious pack management skills through the corners, not because anything went wrong but because I'm bleeding energy on a couple of the punch corners where I need to accelerate harder. Welcome to crit country?
I ended up rolling through 4-5 from the end, but it felt good to throw it out there a couple times, even if it was mercilessly shut down. Scary part was that I was having some trouble just rolling through at one point. All in all, a good race and I managed to learn a few more things about B grade.
1. It's really easy to overtake the entire bunch if you know when to do it.
2. Even getting allies for breaks isn't enough if you aren't good enough.
3. Turn your GPS on at the car after calibration - easier to edit the file than curse your poor data collection skills. World's most expensive hobby if you don't have data to show for it.
4. Never underestimate the possibility that you are not the only burglar in a race
Whistling and bouncing down the straight. We pass spectators, left and right of the narrow track. Crafties's voice over the PA, and occasional calls from the crowd. Not really listening to them. There's too much going on. Listening instead to the wheels and the breathing of the pack, like horses in harness, under strain. Listening to Rolo and others urging us forwards. Watching wheels, watching the cracks, pulling turns, trying to keep good rhythm, wondering whether we could stay away from the pursuing A and B bunches. If they catch us, it's game over. Counting down the laps. Sneaking occasional glimpses of the speedo, waiting for the 5 to go sign. There's so much happening it's hard to find a few steady seconds to snatch the bottle out of its cage.
Going through the corners. The corners, the corners: they can find you out. The square ones - pedalling through, slightly apprehensive, trying to put out of mind the memory of previous bad lines and the unknown qualities of the bunch. The two or three with raised asphalt repairs, the jolt running through the frame, the back wheel momentarily airborne. The ones with cracks running through the middle. The tight uphill u-turn with its cheese grater surface and the need to keep the gas on, or lose touch.
Then there's the wind. When it's a nor' easter, it's straight out of a bouncing asphalt speed hump corner into the face of the wind. It won't wait to ask permission or to choose favourites. This tests the character of the bunch, its commitment to sharing the work. How much do we really want to stay away?
I was feeling good today and had vowed to do my turns and hold my position. I wanted to be there at the end. Of course, that commitment was tested with every sprint out of a corner, every turn into the wind, every drag around the u-turn. Sometimes I felt like I couldn't lift one more time, but brief spells always restored strength and with that, morale. I wouldn't say I led the charge, but I did my bit, as often as I could.
Most of us were still together when the 5 to go sign was mercifully raised. The urgency lifted. The next three laps were quick, my heart rate above its usual sustainable level. We continued to smash our way around, occasionally passing dropped A and B riders, and losing a few of ours. 4 to go, then 3, and we were still away. Looking back as we rounded the bends we still had a gap, but it was narrowing. The feeling of being pursued, seeing the charge of the hungry pack behind us. The twisting of the track means that at some points - especially the small square section - you can just about look them in the eyes, even though they are still several corners behind.
We got the 2 to go. The next time we reached the square, they weren't in sight. They'd advanced further, and were somewhere in the square behind us. We ground our way on, tiring swimmers trying to outpace sharks to the shelter of the shore, through the bends, around the u-turn and into the straight, looking down towards the line where the blessed bell awaited us. We reached it with only our own company, but a sense of impending doom.
This came as we approached the square for the last time. The cries from behind, insistent and commanding, and then on our right, new riders, their numbers red or, in some cases, white, instead of our familiar blue. They flew by without a glance sideways. Sydney's finest, a hunting pack, brought together by a common need, but chasing individual goals. Like us, I suppose, just stronger, faster, perhaps hungrier. This was our last test. Some of us rose to the occasion, while others, myself amongst them, contented ourselves with knowing our best cards had been played. We rolled around the remaining kilometre or so to the line and took our places amongst the panting, sweating, happy riders. They were excited and talkative. It had been a good evening's work.
(Heffron Park Summer Series handicap, Tuesday 14 January 2014)
2010 Charge Plug, 2011 Genesis Equilibrium 20, 2012 Felt F75, 2013 Giant TCR Advanced SL
Great report MREJ!!
Xplora, it is tough to break in B at the dragway. I know when I am there, I am often leading the chase. I would like to get into a strong break with a real chance, but have so far not achieved this, so often if someone gets 100m, I will try to get to them, and most often drag the bunch with me. I am going to try punching harder from mid pack when I chase to drop the bunch and see how that works, as normally I am going off the front and easy pickings to grab my wheel. Whenever I have gone with an attack, it seems to be lucky to last a lap before being shut down. I just try to be on the right side and front of the bunch as the bell goes and stay with any attacks in the last lap. I normally finish top 5, but still searching for that elusive win.... just gotta find the right wheel for the sprint!!
I think realistically you have to form a genuine team that can genuinely execute a plan. I've been working with a couple great guys from Marconi, but we need to basically launch the entire "team" together, because it's easy to get away, but hard to stay away. Need to have more tactics to survive and tactics requires manpower. Even weak riders can be useful in a good plan, but I don't think most guys outside A are too keen on such a thing.
Thanks MREJ... I was reading that thinking, sounds like Heffron. Yes, it was... onto the straight there, my back wheel always lifts and goes a bit sideways. They keep talking about resurfacing it. They were talking about it 20 years ago, when I was a member of RBCC.
Used to be an army base. That concrete with those joins is like that because they trained tank drivers up and down those concrete sections.
Here is a good video of the course from last year ... our race is in the morning and we have 80 starters, this guys race is in the afternoon with a different federation and is at a higher level but they get a lot less starters. Still shows the course perfectly, the only difference is we don't have the barriers to run on this course .
It really is a cool layout.
If I can't ride the barriers I would rather not have them there! 12 inch barriers I can get over at speed, anything higher I won't do at speed. ... running is not my strong point!!!. Saying that this year was a lot muddier than in this video and I elected to run the grassy section which was a lot quicker than riding it.
Why does that seem so fitting? I think of Heffron as crazy crits. Crazy in a good way, that is. I think. Anyway, it's got an allure that keeps bringing me back!
2010 Charge Plug, 2011 Genesis Equilibrium 20, 2012 Felt F75, 2013 Giant TCR Advanced SL
having a horrible time racing right now. got dropped again in B gr at Coburg. the spokes on my rear wheel keep coming loose and i reckon the brakes are rubbing - in fact i know they were. but i'm unsure how much that is contributing to my poor form. i felt pretty strong today, but when the hammer went down i couldn't keep up. i had the HR up at 170 which is pretty close to my maximum, so it's not like i wasn't able to respond, but it wasn't enough. either something is wrong with me, my form is just bad, or the brakes are rubbing. i know that sounds like an excuse but i found them rubbing after the race.
i've had another crack at tightening the spokes - they're actually better than last week (i lasted two laps), so i'll see how i go tomorrow morning
well i had a better race this morning. i think the brakes are the problem. they seemed to behave today and i was much 'stronger'. i do a lot of km anyway so i don't think the F500 would have flattened me out too much. i'm sure everyone is relieved to read that
it's not stressful, you just don't go anywhere! the HR maxes out and everyone rides past you, and you're left wondering what went wrong
then you get depressed later
SKCC C-Grade Crits
38km, avg. 41.5kph
Good race for me yesterday! The field was smaller than usual due to the TDU being on and a number of the other strong riders were away - so a good opportunity!
The circuit was modified quite a bit from usual, as there was a parked car at the exit of turn 2 as well as the back straight being reduced to half it's usual width to allow vehicle access to a car sale that was going on nearby... This meant a re-think of tactics at the start line as there would be no space to pass down the back straight in the closing laps, so positioning would be key. It also meant that you couldn't swing wide into the second or final corners, so going full gas into them would send you wide.
The pace was very easy to start the race and no-one really wanted to do any work. About 15mins into the race I moved off the race line to carry my momentum when the guy in front slowed and suddenly I was easing off the front of the bunch. I figured I'd capitalise on this to see if me pushing a break would spark the race up a bit, but there was no real response, so I just kept pedaling away from the bunch. It was early in the race still, so I tried to relax my heart rate and settle into a comfortable pace. Strangely, my gap got out to about 20sec at one point and I ended up being off the front by myself for 8 or so laps... I was pretty happy with my effort once the bunch caught me and still felt good - thinking that perhaps I should have worked harder and tried to stick the break? Realistically, it was too far out from the finish to be able to hold a solo break though...
At about 15mins to go, a good bunch of 6-7 went off the front, which included one of the two other sprinters I'd marked for the day. It was still a way from the finish, so I just sat in and let them go. A couple of guys came to the front and started pulling big turns to bring the breakaway back and managed to close it up with 3 laps to go. The other sprinter I'd marked then came past me and I grabbed his wheel and got ourselves into position for the closing laps.
At the start of the bell lap, I was 3rd wheel and still following my marked sprinter. A few surges in pace were starting to open up gaps in the line behind us and when the front rider pulled off, the sprinter in front gave it a kick with 500m to go. I stuck to his wheel and by the time we hit the back straight, there were 4 of us opening a gap on the bunch. He powered up nicely providing the perfect lead-out and 50m from the final corner flicked his elbow and sat up. I said a 'thanks mate' to him as I opened up and went past into the final corner, then kicked for the line. I managed to gap the two behind during the sprint and held on to win by 2-3 bike lengths!
Had a couple of wins, so will be up to B-Grade now - I'm pretty stoked.
Will be buying my unofficial lead-out man a coffee next week
GCC - B Grade
Eastern Gardens, Geelong
I'd been meaning to do Geelong Cycling Club's summer crit series all summer unfortunately due to other commitments I missed the first half of the series before Christmas - finally on Friday I decided to get my CA license so I could race on Saturday. I tossed and turned all night wondering if I should be racing B-Grade or C-Grade as this would be only my first crit (second road race), I am fairly strong in our regular fast bunch rides, and very strong on the MTB (XCM / Endurance)... I rode 20km from home to the race to warm up and see how I felt - the scene was set, B grade it was.
The race was fairly uneventful, it started at a steady but reasonably quick pace and the bunch of about 25 or so stayed together for a majority of the race with only a few one man breaks from time to time which the bunch would soon dispose of. With all the race reports on here at the back of my mind I tried to position myself nearest the front as possible but found myself naturally rotating through the bunch a little, front one lap, back next, then front again. I felt good as the race progressed despite my HR being well above LTHR! Soon we got the "3 Laps" board, I was excited and feeling good - until midway though the 3rd last lap, I come down the decent to the back of the course much faster then the bunch as I had most laps; soon I found myself closing the gap to the single man break in front of me, but also with a gap the bunch behind me... I look back only to see the bunch winding up "fark" I thought to myself!!! It felt like the whole bunch had just hit warp speed and flew past, I hammered up the climb to the start finish area trying my arse off not to get dropped from the bunch, doing my best just to grab a wheel, I didn't care who's at this point but the gap got bigger, and bigger, and bigger.... I finished the race circulating by myself, with only sight of a few other riders that got blown out the back a few minutes after I did.
So that’s it first Crit race done, I was neither happy nor disappointed with the result - I probably could have done better but I think my lack of experience probably let me down a little (little hard early on). Still I had a blast riding with GCC and B-Grade so naturally I will be back next week to do it all again!
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