Woohoo... first RR of 2014... boohoo, not very exciting!... actually the hail storm was a little bit exciting.
I managed 62.5 km's out of 63. Thought I would blow on the 2nd lap , but managed to make it through to the 6th. Big field, maybe 60 or so, I never saw the front or even the front 20!.
44% of the race I didn't pedal at all... but I found the 1km climb and the end of each lap pretty tough.
Got to look at the positives ... I am sure there are some in there!.
... The only races that pay here that I could enter have guys on pro licenses in them!.
Didn't get boxed in, the efforts needed were not that special...just too heavy and lacking form. Going to be a tough month!.
Today was easier... 70km on a windy flat industrial estate course, a few tried to get away but the wind was tough. No team mates so I hid... never saw the front again, but at least this time it was by choice sort of.
But it all went wrong on the last lap as I was moving up... some muppet warming up ( or cooling down ) took out at least 10 in spectacular fashion, cut the bunch in half with about 20 of the original 70 left to fight it out. My fault for not being further forward.
Good training I suppose .
Fairly similar... races are longer, 70kms is a short club race, usually bigger fields ( between 40-120 for club races ). The most noticeable differences are that if you have club / team mates there, then you ride as a team. The clubs are a lot smaller so you often have 3 or 4 guys from each club in a race. Can kill the racing once the break has gone, but makes it much more tactical... plus you know that if you are in the break then others are helping you from behind.
Being French they attack non stop which goes without saying... but the best part for me personally is there are no slow last laps, I always struggled in Oz with the foxing coming into the sprint as I can't accelerate very quickly, here it is always flat out at the end .
Been slack post race reports so this week and last week
PDCC D grade Criterium
Smeaton Way Rockingham
2 March 2014
If you are a regular reader of my race reports, you will know I like to have a plan for a race. This week's plan was to put in an attack (not a go to the front and ride hard, but hard sprint and get a gap attack) two thirds into the race, up the main straight and time trial to the finish solo. I even rode the Wednesday night time trial to try and gain a psychological advantage over my opponents. I was the fastest D grade rider on the night, but not by a convincing margin or anywhere near my best performance.
I quickly discovered I was suffering from a mild cold. A couple of days of recovery and a Saturday morning group ride and I knew I was not in top shape. I was still racing, I enjoy it and the worse thing that could happen is I would get popped off the back of the bunch, exhausted and in need a couple of extra days recovery.
It was a good size bunch and I settled on the front for the first couple of laps, so I could work out wind direction and my preferred cornering lines. Then everybody wanted to move up and pick up the pace, so I dropped back to the tail of the field. I did not waste my time, I was watching the line a couple of more experience riders took through the corners, and listened in on the advice one was giving his daughter, regarding cornering. I also took the advice from a former multiple world track champion, the advice was aimed at his son, but I heeded it and move up to the middle of the bunch.
Which was the place to be after fifteen minutes, as the "attacks" started. Though they were no real attacks, more going to the front and putting in a hard effort. I even did a couple of turns, to see how I felt, which was good and for a number of tactically reasons, including improving my confidence at cornering at speed, tiring my opponents and not letting them know I had a plan.
My plan was to go at the 22 minute mark on the front straight. However at that time another rider was on the front working hard, so I delayed my attack. The pace eased off, then down the back straight another rider put in an effort, we slowed and then bunched up as we entered the main straight again. I swung outside and produced a sprint effort for 10 seconds, hitting 47kph. Two corners later I looked under my arm, could not see anybody with 50m.
I train to hold my pace at VO2max for six minutes, today I held it for 5 minutes or two laps, before easing back to my TT pace. My lungs and legs were hurting, I was thinking I had gone a lap to early, when I was shown the two laps to go board. I could see a couple of riders behind be in the distance. I keep the pace going and two laps later crossed the finish line 10 seconds clear of the bunch.
It appears when I attacked, nobody could or wanted to chase me. I built up a lead of 10 seconds or 100 metres on the first lap and 20 seconds or 200 metres by the second lap. Then only reason the gap got halved was on the final lap as everybody fought for the minor placings.
There was some suggestions that after winning by such a margin, I should get promoted to C grade. I would disagree with that the power data shows it was a relatively easy race for me compared to the last couple of races at the Motorplex. Both my average and normalised power was down, along with the time spent in zones 6 and 7. Which means I won it by reading the race right, attacking at the right time and riding to my strengths.
What will probably see me fronting up in C grade next week (or the week after) I was riding with a cold, my physical performance was down, compared to the previous weeks and even more compared to last year, prior to taking 6 weeks off the bike due to a broken collarbone. So I am looking forward to the challenge of a new grade, with my new found cornering confidence and better tactics.
Me in the new club kit crossing the line
PDCC D grade criterium
23 February 2014
Back to the Motorplex and that corner.Turned up early to get a few practise laps in and ended up helping out on the registration desk. Managed two laps behind the juniors and found the corner had been changed from the week before. A couple of barriers had been added to direct traffic through the first gate, moving the apex, totally changing the line through the corner and giving a bigger margin for error on the exit.
With 17 riders in D grade, including a few new riders and others who had never ridden the course. The first lap was supposed to be a sighting lap, so I took to the front to tap out a steady pace. Another rider who likes to sit on the front early in the race, came round me, so I settled into second wheel. We slowed for the tight turn up the hill, just as a couple of experienced riders who had not ridden the course before, charged to the front. Three wide into a single width choke point, do not mix, a lot of cursing and braking saw the bunch through safely.
The next lap and a half, I sat close to the front, but was burning nervous energy trying to keep safe. So I settled back as ticket collector and bide my time. I rarely attack early in a race, not for any tactical reason, more to make sure everybody gets at a good bit of racing in, before I try and put them out the back.
The tactics today were simple, put the "sprinters" into difficulty and go to the end in a small group. Halfway through the race, there was a little lull, so worked my way to the front on the return road, slowed into the single file corner on the line and hit it hard up the climb and over the other side. I kept the pace up for another lap, rolled off the front just after the climb. Then the counter attack came, I was not quick enough to grab the wheel of the four riders in the attack. The three or four riders left look spent, so I gave chase.
Three quarters on a lap later, two riders came past, at exactly the wrong spot for me, on the corner to the climb. I had swung wide, they came in underneath without warning and carried more speed than me through the corner and up the climb. Try as I might I could not catch them, then there was six on the front.
I had a couple of riders on my wheel, one of then took a few short turns. I did bulk of the chasing, though after a couple of laps it became obvious, we were not catching them. I could of conserved my energy and sprinted for 7th place. Instead, I kept pulling long turns, managing to catch one of the riders who was dropped and lapping a couple of riders who finished ahead of me in last couple of weeks.
The two on my wheel me fought out 6th place, not much left in the tank as I rolled over the line 8th.
Overall, I was a little disappointed that I missed the counter attack, and getting on the wheel of the two chasers. Otherwise I was happy with how well I am racing, being able to go to the front, ride hard for a couple of kilometres and drop half the bunch.
Good reports! I like the addition of the finish line photo too
Sounds like you are very confident of your abilities, know your limits and how to ride them to your advantage throughout the race. I reckon that simply going into a race with confidence boosts your chances of winning significantly - it's partly a mental game.
Only comment I would make is that you really shouldn't be on the front unless you need to be! I'm of the mind that every bit of energy conserved during the first parts of the race, will be useful come the end of the race.
Surely you'll be going up the grades soon!
I thought the French were only taught to surrender?
Slow last laps must be to do with where you race. Our last 3 laps are always fast and furious!
HCC c grade, 32 mins.
the lesson learned today was that climbing Mt Baw Baw on the weekend will put you in the hurt box for a while. some smart bloke decided to shoot off as soon as the neutral lap ended and put me in trouble, straight away. despite warming up, it always takes me a couple of laps to get into the groove so i found myself yo-yo-ing off the back. it was no problem getting back on, but meant spending a bit more energy than what was ideal. with about 10 mins. to go, i threw in an attack. i impressed myself with the kick that quickly put 50-100m into the bunch, but then suddenly realised "i'm really tired" as i could hold only 38 km/h down the back straight - into a slight headwind. clearly that wasn't going to cut it and after a couple of riders responded, i gave in.
with 2 laps to go, coming up the finishing straight/hill - i saw some riders suddenly surge to the right. i don't know what caused that - it looked like someone either swinging off or moving right to attack - but he was followed by a whole column of riders. unfortunately, behind him, a bunch of other riders (inc. me) were already occupying that side of the track. the 2 guys in front of me were left with nowhere to go, made contact and one struck the kerb - they both went down. i narrowly avoided one of their bikes as it skidded across the track, but was left chasing the front-runners. i caught them, but i was too far back to have any impact and sprinted in at the back of what was left of the bunch.
much cleaner race this week! drove out to Casey Fields with a mate - 45 min drive - lasted about 5 laps before throwing in an attack and snapped a spoke. pulled over, loaded the bike back up to car, watched mate finish his race, drove home again
Was that with Southern Masters Jules? Which grade?
I ride several bicycles, but not at once.
No mate. I haven't raced for over 6 months. When I was racing with them I raced B grade. Did OK at Casey Fields. Something about that course in that grade that suited me. Have fun mate. Hope to meet you out there soon.
I ride several bicycles, but not at once.
Macarthur Open Criterium Division 3 16/3 35 minutes plus 3 laps
DNF with no shame!
First open race, and what a race... I recently moved up to B grade, and won my first B race 3 weeks ago, but haven't ridden since because of a lot of personal stuff going on right now. I've also just changed over to Rotor rings and I'm in the adjustment period for them ... not great prep?
So I've drawn Div 3 with a range of lads from A to C grade from Penrith. I'm under no illusions that I'm not going to burgle this race, and I'm looking forward to competing with genuine team tactics for the first time. Every man for himself is all well and good, but at the pointy end you need to work together and it's less confronting to be seeing tactics when you know it's happening To boot, a fellow clubman died after the C grade sprint finish last Monday in the final race for the summer, and was dearly loved by many at the club. A couple of his best mates were in Div 3 so I figured we'd try to do something special for him.
Warming up, I get the plan. Our sprinter isn't coming today. Yikes. I'm known for being a breaker, and it looks like it's break for the win in the handbook. Our 1 was sprinting off at the gun, and once he was caught, number 2 and I would launch and bury ourselves, no holding back. Simple plans are good plans.
So we start, I'm towards the back of the pack (25 riders?) and the attack happens as planned. 2 riders mark our man and they get up the road a little... for 1.5 laps or so. That was quick. On the finish straight half a lap later, the next attack is off and our Number 2 responds. I'm not silly, I'm up like a flash and we form a 4 man break with a Macarthur and Dulwich Hill rider. We complete a lap or two and I look down at the time... 9:36. I have 30 more minutes of this?!
We go round and round, I am expecting the prime whistle at 9:47... trying to think what we are going to do when that happens because the pace is clearly much harder than the longer circuits I've been doing. We were slowing to 38-39kmh, as opposed to accelerating to 38-39 which is my normal race pace. Heartrate was lucky to get under 174, and was hitting 180+. HURT FEST. So while I'm doing my best to work my turns and keep an eye on any funny business, we lap again. and again, and maybe again... 3 laps past my assumed prime whistle, and THEN it goes. We play a little doggo around the back, I'm mindful that I might not survive a sprint, and I try to set up our Number 2 for a crack at the prime. I am leading out the group and pull across because they are on my wheel like glue, but sadly Number 2 didn't pick the kick, and Penrith rolls across for the prime in 3 and 4. Bummer.
In the meantime, over the next lap or so, a DHCC rider has launched an incredible bridging move so its two Penrith, two DHCC and our Macarthur rider... whether intentional or not, this completely shuts down the breakaway. This might have been before the prime. I dunno. I was a spent force, and the bunch finally caught us after being off for 20 minutes. We worked well together but sadly we need some more race practice I think.
SO PLAN B! I really suck at bunch sprint tactics because I am either up the road, or useless in the back, but after seeing Number 1 up front with another Penrith rider who was clearly sitting in for a sprint, I decide to help out by setting pace and blocking etc etc. This is definitely overrating my tactics though, I just tried to protect the other Penrith rider for the sprint. I launch a nice attack with 4 laps to go, trying to get in front of Number 1. Number 2 sadly was a bit cooked like a Regatta duck from the break (how couldn't we be cooked?!) and was trying to conserve energy. I of course don't do that, and probed and blocked as best I could. They bunch would have seen three Penrith shirts on the front, two wide and been a bit cagey. I make a terrible cornering move after the eventual 5th place came humming down the inside, trying to maintain position... I ended up needing to fade back a bit as the 3 laps is called, but a lap later I was 10m off the pace and decided to call it a day. Our spare sprinter picked up 3rd place which was pleasing. The DHCC rider in the break, who took the prime, also got 2nd place, and a Randwick track sprinter took the win. Track sprinter.
It was an enjoyable hit out, I definitely didn't have the experience to make a difference later in the race, and I couldn't really make an impression with the break. If I had my time again I wouldn't have let the prime go. It's a really tough call, race for yourself or the team or the break, because no one has enough chips to bet on all 3 on the table if the goals of all 3 don't line up. I felt I did my best, and I definitely know what I have to work on. It really comes down to weaknesses right now. I have some serious weaknesses in my riding, or at least I only have one or two tricks up my jersey. How do I improve on that? Good question. More racing? Will be interesting as we move to much much much longer racing at Penrith and Parramatta.
We got a bit unlucky with the results, but that's racing. I felt the team worked really hard for the podium, and was a privilege to help out a couple riders who will miss our fallen clubman. RIP Mark.
nice one Xplora - you're flying, even if that wasn't your race.
SKCC D grade, 45 mins + 3 laps
i've almost given up trying trying to win here. the only way you can win is in a sprint (counts me out) or a breakaway - which you need to rip off a few 45 km/h laps to keep the bunch off your tail. to do that, you need to be a B grade rider at least. so i just use it for training and fun. i tried a break and had one guy who came with me, but wouldn't work as 'we needed 1 more to make it work'. probably true, but geez - glass half empty.. the funny part of the race was a mate who instigated a break and had another rider physically poke him for not doing enough work (he reckons he was). my mate - who's 60kg soaking wet and 99.9% of the time a very peaceful bloke - told him he'd smash him and ol' mate suddenly developed a renewed sense of decorum. it's always the D graders who behave like they're riding for sheep stations.. anyway i tried to lead my mate out for the sprint but didn't have the legs - note to self, digging post holes in the backyard for 5 hours the day before will leave you with dead legs.
edit: very sorry to hear about the passing of Mark Smith.
Last edited by jules21 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just as a side note, the gentleman that collapsed at the race at Penrith last Monday night was Mark Smith. He finished the C grade race and collapsed very shortly thereafter, and despite the best efforts of many people, he could not be revived.
He was a guy that everybody liked, and took the time to make sure everybody was having fun. He loved riding and his sheer enthusiasm was infectious.
Between Shaun McManus and Mark, they have been working (very successfully I believe) to bring back the fun to racing that has been lost in recent times.
He was always a ray of sunshine no matter what. Myself and many others are better people for having known him, and the world is not as nice a place for his passing.
PS that was a good effort today Leigh. The Penrith boys were looking strong, but as you mentioned, the plan just didnt pan out today. However, as Jens says, even if there is only a 10% chance, it is better to have a go.
"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever" Lance Armstrong
Well said Glenn. Mark's enthusiasm for cycling despite a few recent setbacks was brilliant. Always a friendly bloke to talk to while warming up or after the race. He definitely wasn't going to miss the race on Monday after getting a flat on the start line! The sad news on Tuesday morning definitely put my own personal disappointment at losing the C grade sprint into perspective.
I've really enjoyed the atmosphere at the racing at both Penrith and Marconi this summer.
Always sad to hear of someone passing.
Quick rr for me... was going to ride the 40kms to the race and back for a big day, mucked up my timing so drove running late with a mate. Rocked up in time for a quick warm up. Another team mate was there and he wanted to win so I said I would lead him out if we got to the end. 68km pretty much flat. Cruised the first hour then moved up. Team mate destroyed a 404 on one of the many potholes, he rejoined after a wheel change but was a lap down with no laps out, so seemed he would be leading me out if it came to it.
Anyway I snuck with 3 others for a lap or two off the front but the head wind in the finishing straight was a killer. Plus I am still not feeling strong. About 5 laps to go I just tried to stay up the front as there were some pretty big crashes. 2 must have got away with less than two laps to go. Anyway team mate pulled me up to the front with half a lap to go... he did a good job leading it out to the finishing straight, but I would have preferred it to be a lot faster, I let one guy sneak in between us who I know is strong, then another guy pushed in too which was fine as I know he was a good ( maybe too good ) wheel to follow. Mate pulled off and I was in 3rd wheel with about 400 to go and 2 up the road, but they were coming back quick. Sat in so as not to see the wind, but the big guy in front wasn't wearing a regional champs jersey for nothing. I could hold his wheel but not come around him. Got one of the breakaways back but not the other. Crossed the line in 4th out of 45.
Happy with that but power was way down in the sprint for some reason. Lot of work left to do!.
On the way home I passed someones kitchen coming home from Paris-Nice
SKCC B-Grade Crit
41km, avg. 43kph
Yesterday's race started in the freezing cold depths of Melbourne's Autumn - about 10 degrees, with a 30-35kph wind bringing a good amount of windchill and making it feel colder.
Following the neutral lap, there were hard and fast attacks. We had three people in our team keen for a break, so we were pushing hard every time a break came back. About 6mins into the race I was still freezing cold, so took the opportunity to make a counter-attack and do a few laps off the front to warm up. Heart rate came up nicely and I was quickly feeling comfortable again. No-one had come with me and there was a strong headwind making it hard work out there solo, so I happily drifted back to the bunch.
Shortly after I came back, one of our guys got into the break of 6 or so riders which were to hold on for the race. This took the pressure off and I was able to cruise around in the bunch and just keep the legs ticking over.
The bunch wasn't working particularly well together, but at one stage managed to get the break back to within 80m of the bunch. Another team mate took this opportunity to jump across to the break and we were sitting pretty for a good position as we had 2 of 7 riders up the road. I was also feeling confident if the break came back, as 3 of the riders in the break were sprinters (using their energy up) and there were only ~2 others in the bunch to worry about.
With under 5mins (+3 laps to go) 2 of us were riding in the front ~12 riders of the chasing bunch and someone yelled at us to get off the front... but we weren't on the front and were both purposefully not blocking the chase! My mate suggested that if the 'abuser' wanted to win the race, he could come up and do some of the work himself.... 3 laps to go and some others took this to heart - they came forward and started drilling it. The gap came down quickly, but it wasn't until within 50m of the final corner that another sprinter jumped from the chasing bunch and closed the last 30m onto the break.
My team mate followed this move fairly closely and I grabbed his wheel for a lead out. As we came around the corner, we found a wall of riders from the break who had sat up... I slipped through a gap and wound up the sprint, but there wasn't enough road left to close to the leaders, so I came across in about 8-9th.
One of my team mates in the break managed a third place after three of them held onto their lead and sprinted it out for 1st - 3rd.
Not a bad day's racing all-in-all - another good result for the team and I now feel comfortable with the B-Grade speeds / surges / tactics etc.
Legs are feeling good and it feel's like my form is improving again, just in time for the Mansfield Criterium next weekend!
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