PDCC D grade criterium
9 February 2014
Eight weeks between race reports, as I have not raced for 8 weeks. I broke my collar bone in a training accident on my TT bike. I was riding at race pace, flat rear tire and my rear wheel went from underneath me while I was trying to avoid hitting a chain link fence. Hit the PSP hard, breaking my right collar bone and bruising or cracking a rib or two.
I had spent the last 4 weeks on my trainer riding at short threshold sessions, as I found anything longer frustrating and could not manage any more intensive due to my ribs and shoulder. I had done a couple of short rides, culminating in a 40km group ride the day before the race. I was not really race fit, however, I was back racing in D grade.
If it was any other course except Parklands, I would of waited another week. I just like racing at Parklands a 4km circuit with a sharp 400m climb, a single set of technical corners and a rough road surface. It is criterium racing on a short road race course.
I went in with a simple plan, see how my shoulder and ribs held out, attack up the climb on the 4th of 6 laps and solo to victory.
The first lap, I sat back as ticket collector and watched the race. Compared to last year the pace was down a little, until we hit the first climb and the intensity picked up. I made sure everybody knew how strong I was by being the first rider to crest the climb. I did not drive hard down the descent, just enough to fully test my shoulder.
I then rolled down the pack and noticed a couple of riders missing and a couple of others gasping for breath. I spent the next half lap on the back, until the two riders I had marked as breakaway risks, moved to the front, so I moved. It was a false alarm. One rolled back and the two of us slowed the race, as nobody wanted to put their nose on the front.
Onto the climb I drove up it hard and pushed down the other side. I was not trying to break away, I was trying to make it hard. I did not see how much damage I caused as nobody was willing to go past me. So I set a false tempo and let two riders, slip off the front. It took the bunch a while to react, they did as we approached the climb, so another fast tempo climb. Then everybody was together, well about half of the riders that started the race.
I was feeling my lack of race fitness, so I postponed my attack until the fifth lap.I sat back and watched the race. It was not the experienced riders taking turns on the front, they where obvious in their absence. Most of the work was being done by Mike. Who has really improved his fitness since I last raced him.
On the fifth lap halfway up the climb, I swung out and launched my attack, I could hear some noises from the bunch, but after years of seeing live bands my hearing is shot. So I assumed it was riders alerting others to my attack, it was not I was just short of the crest I heard the cry "riders" and realised we had be caught by B grade.
I kept going hard over the crest, not knowing how big a group had caught us and what damage I had caused to our grade. Eddie, one of my marked riders came past and said lets go. A quick glance back and I saw two lines of riders strung out behind us, D grade to the left and B grade to the right, and B grade did not seem that big. Then I found myself on the front.
If I put in a big effort like I planned, I probably could of stayed away from both groups, until we went through the 3 corners at the bottom of the hill. Keeping B grade in between us and the rest of D grade and getting a break. Instead I kept the same pace as before, 4 B graders went flying past, I assumed intent on using us to get a gap on the rest of their grade, so I eased back even more and kept to the left through the corners, not interfering with B grade and as a result letting D regroup.
I was not really worried, I knew I should be able to out sprint most of the grade. I spent the next lap on the back, watching as the bunch jumped at shadows, expecting me to attack up the hill. I didn't, I actually conserved energy up the climb and went over 10m behind the bunch, but quickly caught them downhill. Picked my wheel and waited for the sprint. Eddie went early and hard, the three experienced riders who almost no work, hot on his heels and me right behind. The problem was my legs did not have a sprint in them, I hit 47kph in the sprint. Which last year I would of been happy with, not now and could not even overtake the rider infront. So I eased back and got pipped for 5th place on the line.
Overall disappointed that I didn't have a sprint in my legs. That is what happens when you spend 6 weeks off the bike without training. Happy that Eddie won, and determined that those riders who got a free ride for a place will have to work harder next race.
HCC C grade. 27 mins + 3 laps.
another fun hit-out. felt a bit flat and took a few laps to get the legs spinning, but then was OK. humorous moment of the race for me was a Synergy-Baku (UCI Conti) rider who was in A grade, started riding around with us in the C grade bunch. i think he was one of the Azerbaijani riders and must have gotten dropped and then confused. he would have wondered why the race became so easy all of a sudden
i attacked after a lull at the top of the hill with a few laps to go, another guy came with me and i didn't really have the legs. we stayed away until the bell lap but were caught so i rolled around to the finish line. apparently we strung out the bunch a bit so i take solace in that..
Yep, good race Jules. Was hoping you and John would stay away but it wasn't too be, John kept pushing right to the line and finished just out of the top 4. Good luck for the weekend.
Quicker B grade race at HCC this week, just a little over 41kph average compared to the usual just under 40.
thanks Lock. i thought we had it for a little while, but it got shut down quite quickly. John (is he Coburg?) was stronger than me - didn't know he pushed that far, he must have had some biccies left for the last lap. i'm just not strong enough yet.
i saw the numbers for that race on Strava and thought "i'm quite happy here in C grade thank you very much" - very quick.
Finally took the plunge and had my first race today. Mackay Cycle Club Crit. It was a 25 minute + 2 lap race. Due to numbers they only ran 2 grades so I got dumped into B grade. As expected I had my butt handed to me but avoided getting lapped (just). Stone motherless last but had a ball. Not sure what to report other than the above, all I remember is the constant feeling my lungs were going to burst and taste of blood. Now to work on my sprints for the next one I think.
Malvern Star Oppy C5
Malvern Star XCS 5.0 MTB
Tour of Gippsland - Masters C (thrown in with Masters B due to their low numbers).
first state series race of the year! stage 1 was a 7.5km ITT with 3 short climbs. these short efforts are not my thing but i felt good and came mid-field at 37 km/h average. not mind-numbingly quick but i only had a set of clip-on TT bars and i am just not very quick. some people turned up with full TT rigs and disc wheels. i finished 14th out of about 32. the poor bloke who started in front of me snapped his chainstay as he launched and ended up sprawled all over the road!
stage 2 was in the afternoon - a 70km loop punctuated with about 10 short, sharp climbs. this race was essentially an exercise in rolling around until each of the climbs, then of course it was on like donkey kong. as the race progressed i felt stronger, which is my usual feeling if i'm 'on'. on the last, steep hill the bunch split and i easily held the front group. in hindsight i should have pushed harder - i thought there was another climb to the finish but somehow i got that wrong. the front group didn't work hard enough in the last 5 km and we were caught by the poursuivants. as we turned the corner i realised the finish line was before the first climb we went up in the ITT and i sprinted for 10th on the stage, feeling fresh as a daisy. wasted opportunity - there was actually someone 23 seconds ahead who i didn't even see.
stage 3 was a sunday morning criterium. i assumed this would be a formality until i saw the course map..
they say everyone has a bad day on a grand tour and this was mine (joke, except for the bad day bit). the crit was on at a blistering pace and a couple of laps in - my Di2 stopped working... i knew what the problem was - i'd knocked the cable out of the socket yesterday on my warmdown. i stopped at the finish line and was told the pits were around the back of the circuit. i fixed the cable and sprinted round the back of the circuit - there were a few people hanging around on one of the corners. i asked if these were the pits - they were, then asked for a lap out. a lovely lady suggested i find the chief commissaire for a decision. i kindly explained that i had about 10 seconds before the bunch came around again and she allowed me back on. i got back on to the lead group but became detached after a couple of laps, gave it everything to finish the race but got red flagged a few laps from the end. damn. i couldn't get my HR above 160 where it should be 170 when i'm chewing the bar tape.
i moved down from 10th to finish 15th on GC - about halfway through the field. pretty disappointed with the last day but i'll be back!
I keep hearing these weird rumours with the electronic gears... like a poorly adjusted, stretched RD sucks, but it's not a showstopper... but being completely unable to change gears is kind of "unacceptable" to me. Call me old fashioned I'm no track cyclist
Sounds like you had a red hot crack, Jules!
My better half was on a ride where a guy showed up with his Di2 bike (drove to start) but had forgotten the battery on the charger. Most expensive Di2 single speed bike ever.
SKCC B-Grade Crit
37km, avg. 42kph
It was my second ever race in B-Grade yesterday, and a terrible start to the morning...
I rolled out from my house for the race and 15mins later was riding along in sidewards rain, unable to see out my glasses and with small reservoirs forming in my shoes. I thought about turning back, but then passed through the rain and was on rapidly drying roads as I approached the circuit. I arrived at the same time as one of my team mates, who came from another direction and was completely dry. So I wrung out my socks and picked up my number ready for racing.
We had a team TTT scheduled for 1 hour after the crit, so I planned to sit in the bunch and conserve for the TTT later on. My group had been lapped in my first B-grade race and I was a bit hesitant as to whether I could even keep up the B-grade pace, let alone back up the crit with a TTT.
From the start of the race it was clear that the other teams in the TTT had a similar plan in mind. If anyone went for a break, it was quickly shut down and the pace returned to a fairly relaxed affair. Additionally, the road was still wet and there were occasional rainy periods, so racing (and particularly cornering) was fairly slow and conservative.
20 minutes in, I got a front flat and had to take a lap out for a new front wheel. I sprinted back onto the bunch as it came past the pits and thought "that was really easy to get back on... My legs are feeling great today!". Filled with a spurt of confidence, I maintained good position and conserved energy as much as possible - the race looked like it would come to a sprint and that's the only time I stand a chance.
3 laps to go sign came out and I was in about 20th spot. A few pedal strokes later, I'd moved myself up to 10th, where I sat for the rest of the lap.
2 laps to go and another couple of pedal strokes, I was up to 6th. I held the position and continuously checked my right shoulder to make sure no one was going to come past at speed.
Coming into corner 2 of the bell lap, 4 guys jumped - so I covered the move. I had a moment of indecision as to whether it was too early, but put the power down and jumped on the train, now in 5th wheel. The bunch was strung out down the back straight and no-one was moving up quickly. The guy in front of me started to drop the wheel, so I jumped around him and closed up onto the front 3, who were riding in a triangular formation, the back two guys fighting for the wheel of the lead rider. As we came into the final corner, the lead rider moved out wide to take the race line and one of the chasers got chopped as he was half wheeling. He hit the anchors and the other guy hesitated and washed some speed, so as I came round the corner I managed to pull into 2nd.
I kicked with everything I had, but the lead rider was already 15m ahead due to the slight slowing through the final corner. I got to within a couple of bike lengths, but ran out of road to catch him. 3rd place came across quite a way behind us and I took a whole lap of rolling around the circuit for my lungs to recover - but very happy with the outcome!
The team went for a post race coffee to prepare for the TTT (and get out of the rain), but the rain came down even harder and racing was called off for the rest of the day.
I'm stoked to get 2nd place in my second ever B-Grade race! Just 3 months ago I was racing D grade (where i'd been for 1.5 years) and wondering if I'd ever move up to C... Amazing what some base km over Christmas, then 1-2 weekly high intensity sessions can do in such a short period of time!
Now looking forward to the re-scheduled TTT and putting some of my gained confidence to use in the crit next week!
STCC 48km Handicap – B Grade
As the title suggests, yesterday’s race was a 48km handicap event, an out and back course with a few small lumps, one or two that might possibly trouble me. Tail wind out/headwind in.
It was my first hit out since the New Year so I was looking forward to putting my body through the rigors of racing. Being a handicap it was always going to be a good test of where I am at. A lot has changed since the New Year; I’d dropped 10kgs and increased my 5, 10 and 20 minute power.
As much as it is a race and it’s first across the line wins, a successful bunch in a handicap must work together. We had 18 minutes to wait before our race would start so the six of us talked tactics and it was decided with a hint of confidence that we would be at the front of the race and our bunch would cover the first 6 spots. Nothing like a bit of cockiness hey?
We definitely had a good mix and from our departure I could tell we were on. Pulling through at 30-45 seconds for 4-500 watts at a time seemed to work ok. Twenty minutes in and I was starting to hurt and we still hadn’t hit the first berg of the day. Well to be honest we had been climbing since the gun, so by berg I mean 3.5km (AT) 3-4% with some pitches at 6%. The youngest of our bunch got a bit excited as they do and got a little bit of a gap. As it flattened out we were able to drag him back. It wasn't an intentional attack, he was simply climbing at his rhythm. We also caught and passed D on the climb. The first 20 minutes of the race was ridden at 357watts, I was thinking, can I actually keep this up.
We zipped down the other side and we were greeted with 10.5km @1.6% to the turnaround point. From this point forward something happened, everything just got easier for me, not sure why but it just did. We caught C just before the turn so they managed to turn with us and we also got a glimpse of A, who had put less than a minute into us.
The next 3-4km was about a messy a bunch can get. We had guys sitting in on the rotation who weren’t actually pulling turns. Being a handicap the lower grades are entitled to sit on, but should be done outside of the rotation.
We finally got our showtime together but at somewhat reduced numbers. Four of us now. We rotated nicely and shelled all but 2 hangeroners. We approached the final pinch where I was sure I’d get dropped, turns out I crested the 1.7km @7% pinch 2nd out of our bunch, with our enthusiastic young climber getting over first.
We regrouped on the descent and hit the final 6km (didn’t know this at the time). This is where things started to get funny. I wasn’t even sure where the finish line was so I assumed everyone was doing short, soft peddled turns because the finish wasn’t far off. But we were along way out. This seemed to go on forever. I got sick of it with and with the possibility of A catching us I hit the front and stayed there, silly me. Boom the winner starts his sprint, the two others who were working come around me with ease. I’ve lost 20m just like that. I’m supposed to be the sprinter Ended up pegging back the 2 in front of me for second place.
Lesson learned, scout the bloody finish line.
Either way I was happy our bunch achieved what we set out to do with the first 4 places coming from our bunch. It was definitely the best/funnest race I have done to date.
Avg Speed: 38.6
Avg Watts: 321
P.S great racing Cerb
thanks X - was good fun. re: Di2 - it's spot on 99.9% of the time. but when you do something stupid like knock the cable out, it just won't work. the crazy thing is i did a full warm up with no probs, then it worked loose in the race. just bad luck. similar thing happened in another race last year when a cable into the control box was knocked loose while the bike was strapped to the car rack. i figured it out with minutes to spare.. it was a team time trial then - i was devastated for 2 minutes that i would be unable to start!
a lot of people rag on the battery but actually it's one of the least likely things to fail. you can check the battery charge very easily and there's no reason to be charging it the night before a race, except procrastination.
that's awesome cerb - A grade soon i reckon! you've clearly also got bunch positioning down pretty well too.
doggatas - i reckon there's little better feeling than your handicap group working together and holding everyone else off. one of my great early memories from bike racing was in a C grade bunch and holding everyone off. we worked like dogs and finished maybe 60 seconds in front of the scratch guys. leaves a big smile on your face..
Renae's Race - B Grade - Perth Technology Park Crit Circuit. 23km (AT) 41kph
It must be a week of seconds. It was my second B grade race this weekend as well and I also managed to pick up a second place.
After a pre-race meal of dodgy chinese and a few too many long necks of the old Bush Chook (the night before mind you, not the morning of) I wasn't expecting much from the legs add to that a nice patch of sand on one of the faster corners of the circuit and things weren't looking particularly good.
I rolled around in the bunch for most of the first 10 minutes as one of the local teams launched attack after attack only for them all to be chased down. It definitely wasn't a day for a breakaway as the bunch seemed to think anything that got up the road could stick.
Thankfully the patch of sand only came into play once as a rider pounded off the front into the corner only to come unstuck and go down hard. Luckily for him and the rest of us he was far enough off the front that the bunch, by then in hot pursuit, didn't ride straight over the top of him.
I took one or two turns on the front but it definitely wasn't a day I'd be pushing the pace too hard and contented myself to sit in the bunch. With 10 minutes to go I found myself on the back of the pack and decided that I might as well try and move up to at least have a dig at what was looking more and more like a sprint finish.
A couple of laps later I was sitting in 4th wheel and what do you know, we get the signal for two to go. It was at this point in my last race, sitting in a nearly identical position that I sat up and let the bunch go after a couple of near misses with more aggressive riders jockeying for position.
Thankfully this week the aforementioned team had taken it upon themselves to lead the bunch out and had lifted the pace enough that there wasn't likely to be much jockeying and I was determined not to lose my wheel and my lead out.
Rolling into the final corner I was still fourth wheel and as we wound up for the sprint and the lead rider pulled off I swung left as the two riders in front swung right totally screwing my lead out as it looked like they weren't going to sprint. I chased on desperately and managed to pass the rider in second and was bearing down on the eventual winner but came up short by about half a bike length.
I'll chalk it up to experience but definitely a race I could've won. Still, happy with the result and good to see some quality racing with Luke Durbridge smashing the field in A grade.
2011 Bianchi Via Nirone Veloce
Puegeot Aneto 105
Kona Jake the Snake CX
Raceline Keith Oliver Signature Edition
Yes jules, I know that feeling and its great. Especially when you know you rode strongly and didn't miss any turns. Good stuff.
There's an even better feeling though.
Sitting on the mark of honour and watching 50 blokes ride off into the distance until there is just the 4 of you left. No words spoken, just silent commitment to the task and to each other. We get up, or we die trying. No turns missed ever. We go till we blow. The race result is secondary - too often it is in the hands of a handicapper who is either incompetent or deliberately skews the race towards the guys who never win anything, the front and middle markers. The feeling of pride and mutual respect you get on scratch trumps anything else in cycling. To get first and fastest in a handicap is the holy grail. Every scratchman was a front and middle marker once - keep riding hard and keep trying to get more and more towards the back marks. The further back you go, the better the enjoyment.
I guess not everyone has the opportunity, or ability. But its something to aspire to, to aim towards. I was never a genuine scratchman, I only rode off scratch if the big boys were all away. But the day I first rode from scratch eclipsed every previous victory in my mind. For years you look up to those blokes, and then one day you are back there riding with them. Fantastic!
PDCC D Grade Criterium
16 February 2014
2nd ride back with broken collarbone aka another circuit another corner
Back to the Motorplex, but instead of the technical circuit with my nemesis the harpin. We were racing a new circuit, with more flowing corners and a sharp climb. In practise I was concentrating on the entry to the climb, which was narrow and I felt the most important section of the course.
I paid very little attention to the final corner, which was through a gate. I was taking at reasonable speed during practise. I had decided no last lap heroics and would back off if I was in a bunch on the last corner, but otherwise it did not hold any fear for me.
We were off racing and I settled down the back as ticket collector, to watch the race unfold. It was a typical D grade race, with only 3 riders taking turns up the front. Both the final corner and the first corner, caused me minor issues and saw me lose a few metres. But it was easy to get back on, particularly the first corner as the straight was into a block headwind.
After a few laps, the pace slowed on the straight. So I went to the front. Not trying to break away, just to try and thin the bunch out. So hard up the climb, accelerated over the top and tried to keep the pace up for a lap. Next lap over the climb and backed off a little and tried to change into the big ring. I had a little trouble and suddenly I was at the back of the group. That was the first lap I had real trouble with the final corner, I was not comfortable taking it at speed and lost 10 metres or so.
I worked hard, got back on, recovered, got through the corner OK, next lap, same problem, lost 10 metres, worked hard but it took half a lap. This was the pattern for the rest of the race, sometimes I would take the corner OK, other times I would lose 10 metres or more. There was no way I going to get to the front, given the energy I was burning just to stay in contact. Then with a little more than two laps to go, I lost 20 metres and spent the next lap and half, chasing back on. I got back, just as the attacks started, I stay with the bunch, until that corner lost over 10 metres again and rolled over the line at the back of the bunch.
A few lessons learnt today:
I need to practise the final corner at speed and get confident that I can do it consistently.
I need to ride the climb in the big ring, I was spinning up it easily, but there are occasions I need to drive over the top.
I need to ride closer to the front, I am sure some of my issues came from riding behind other riders who lacked confidence in that corner.
My shoulder still hurts if I get out of the saddle.
Hopefully, next week we are back are Motorplex, we are racing this course again, I have a corner to conquer.
Nice work Pravda on also making the double!
Nicko - good job on holding on. I haven't had the joy of a bike crash yet, but I know from previous skiing crashes that it takes a while to build confidence again! Keep on at it!
Crit racing bites back…
Crit tonight saw a failed two rider break bring me back to the fold. My lungs felt like I was sucking in glass due to the cold I had last week. Things got a bit manic with some attacks in the peleton, but I was very comfortable. One break went and they opened up about 20m. I was reeling them in but caught some other riders as we entered the top corner. We were three abreast and the guy on the outside didn't hold his line and moved right over on me. Took my front wheel out, it buckled under the sudden change of direction which unseated the tyre and caused the tube to blowout spectacularly. Fortunately, I landed fairly cleanly and skidded across the tarmac. No one hit or ran over me. No broken bones.
So, wrecked front wheel, grazed bars and tape, grazed shifter and rear skewer. Condition of fork is unknown. They didn't take a direct hit, but were subject to some big forces which I am sure they weren't designed for. Pretty sure the wheel took most of the force, but it isn't worth the risk. Not sure what to do.
Marconi B grade 18/2 Eastern Creek Raceway ( short course) 1st place
Tonight wasn't a rush for once, rolled up 50 minutes early after riding the 8kms to the track, wondering how it would go. Bit stiff after hill repeats last night. Honestly did not expect to ride after terrible forecast and a race cancelled at the drag way (200m away) on Sunday. Didn't race last night because my wife was working until 1am. Divorce and possible homicide in my sleep just not worth it. Happy wife, happy life...
Definitely racing today though and after some confusion about the entrance and sign on area, I wArmed up with Wayne, a Kangazilla local and later Jason from Penrith. Very nice to roll and say hi, talking tactics and riding. I forgot how much I like warmup!
After a warmup sprint with a top speed PB I realise my sprinting technique needs work because there is some kick. I followed trek52s system. Top gear, rip the handlebars off. Despite the hill day? More later...
We line up and I scope the field from the back. Attacks are happening straight off the bat and they are solid. I see a guy who comes to the store ride occasionally, and he's mixing it up in the attacks. Very careful because too many breaks disappear and I know he's strong, but nothing is happening in typical B grade style. I probe with a few different attacks, including a sneaky Stare Them Down. No one chased, and I didn't really want to break so I rolled tempo pace until they caught up. Not sure why but the Marconi races seem quite hard to find a wheel in the draft? Not in a mean way, but the line is tight and disciplined. I launch a couple solid efforts over the next 40 minutes, but trying to make sure I don't overcommit to a move, and I know I don't have infinite energy. I accidently drag the bunch a couple times too. I like soft pedalling to let the breaks get away if i am on the front, to build the breaks and enxourage positive racing. Also punishes people who who want me to chase. (Hmm I dont chase - never realised this before? This introspection stuff, I don't like it )
This changes with 3-4 laps to go and two guys have gotten away, one has been getting solid results recently in C grade. I figure Stu isn't getting anywhere but the gap has t been closed and they are 250m down the road after two laps to go.
I decide to throw it out there as I was getting good slow twitch power around the bunch (same thing at my last Marconi race, club must attract different styles of rider than the Penrith and Waratahs) so I decide to launch a bridging move and try to hold my 50+kmh off the straight, its clear the front isn't chasing hard enough. This time no one tails me, must have figured I was going to blow, and I catch the break in 500m after some nerves wondering if I would get there. Some encouragement and we are into it. The boys are not pulling brutally hard so no one is being dropped, and it's not perfect but they are probably shagged after 10 minutes off the front. I pull a couple longer turns because this ain't going back to the bunch if I can help it. I have not forgotten being killed on the finish line in my first B grade race.
I led them down the start finish straight, big turn, and I must admit I wasn't impressed that they sucked my wheel the whole way (50kmh+ is a great way to cook the engine) but we get the bell and its time to assess the gap.
Where are they?
Uhhhh here's a dropped A grader.
Where are they?
Ok - this is going to stick. We try and stay positive but our pace is fading over the double dip and the gap must have closed from 500 to 200 by the time we reach the final bend. The break stays together onto the straight after telling Stu to ignore the gap we are going to win this, or become a stain on the steps of the podium!
Something weird happens. We are coming down the straight in a triangle, me at the back. We are accelerating, but third place waves us through. Stu (2nd) is clearly processing this - any of us could win! Why did he do that?! :confused:
I tell them to work out what is going on, because the bunch is not going to have a gentlemen's agreement at 70kmh, and I have to split them and its too tight. We are 300m out and I am in top gear already, and the gap opens. Kill the pedals, strangle the drops! I get lucky from the confusion, keep pouring on the power and scream through the finish line, both figuratively and literally. 1st place in B grade. First podium in the grade too! Super effort from the guys in the break, and pretty chuffed that the hard work on the trainer and the hills is paying off!
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