Tandem Tales

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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:01 pm

^^^^^^ 8)

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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:05 pm

Tuesday night is crit night.

ACTVCC D grade crit 26min +2laps

A healthy sized bunch of about 20 took to the start in D grade. The course was anticlockwise today and the wind made sure that it was blowing into our faces on the back straight which is also uphill. This had the effect of ensuring that noone felt like attacking into the wind, or even riding hard. This was handy for us since we didn't manage a warm-up, so we just sat at the back and ticked off the laps. After about 10min or so we decided that we could wind the bunch up a bit, so we went to the front into collarbone corner and eased the power on to see who was awake. Initially it was only two who came with us, and they came to the front about half way up the hill to keep the pace on, and we duly went to the front on the way down. We did keep the pace on for the rest of the lap, but a backward glance at the top of the hill again showed that the bunch wasn't going to let us get away today.

We drifted back to near the back again to watch what was happening. There were a couple of little flurries, and I took note of who was chasing. With two to go, we started to move forward a bit, in time to see an attempted escape. Interestingly none of the players responded. In this case they may have known something since he gave it away and we caught him again just after the bell. We were still sitting too far back at about mid bunch on the right when one of the players started to move forwardad we followed him up the hill on the right side of the bunch. It was all looking good until saw another group of riders moving forward up the left side of the bunch, and a couple surge away when they got to the front.

By the time we hit the top of the straight we were in 9th, position, but this was now where we like it. We managed to really wind it up down the hill but it was too little, too late and we came home 5th but only half a bike down on 4th. Having said that we were closing rapidly on the leaders. The rider who would take 4th place had foolishly sat up with 30m to go and we had closed 1.5 lengths in that time.

All in all a pretty good result, however I think that we need to work on our positioning a bit more, and maybe even lead out the sprint in order to make the others have to come round us.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:21 pm

Tuesday night is Crit night!

ACTVCC D Grade 21min +2

Today there was a little extra incentive to do well as John said that he had a fan club coming to watch including his parents and some overseas visitors.

It was a little chaotic at first because I failed to read the email correctly and got the start time wrong by half an hour. Fortunately the error was in our favour and we were able to actually do a warm up, which is more important when the race was to be for only 21 minutes +2 laps.

The weather was good but windy, and there was a good turn out of 22 bikes for D grade. The wind makes it a little tricky for us since when the wind is blowing everyone is looking for hidey holes for shelter and there are far fewer holes available of tandem size than there are for a single bike, so we often find ourselves out in the wind with nowhere to go. The other factor is that because of the wind the bunch is much more likely to break up, so if you go to the back there is a good chance that you'll get caught on the wrong side of a break if it occurs.

The race got off to a reasonably sane start, but it wasn't to last. Jonathon kicked off the first break and another joined him, followed by another. However it wasn't going to last and he freewheeled back to the bunch whilst it chased down the other two. A couple of laps later he tried again, to no avail, but he was obviously up for a race today. Then with about 10 min to go he was moving up the sheltered side and looking dangerous. Since we were on the windward side anyway we moved up as well in anticipation of another break. However at this time the leaders seemed to back off, causing the bunch to expand and closing off Johathan's move. Since we were on our way forward the slowing suddenly shot us off the front.

Now long escapes are not usually part of our game plan since we really enjoy the cut and thrust of a bunch sprint, however there is more than one way to win a race. However on this occasion Darren came with us from the outset. Another joined us for a while, but disappeared after a couple of laps. Incidentally we did those laps with merely the encouragement from behind, rather than any participation in the pace making. In the meantime after an initial flurry the rest of the bunch seemed content to let us go.

I did hear Darren talking to the other rider about making the break stick. I don't know who he was but he shortly slipped back to the bunch. In the meantime Darren started to come through on the front straight and pull us up the hill, whereupon we would come through for our turn down the back straight and also through Collarbone corner and then back onto the front straight. This pattern continued throughout the rest of the race. Darren would lead us up the hill, and we would lead the rest.

At the bell Darren said something about giving us a lead out for the last sprint. Naturally I didn't believe him so when we took over at the top of the hill I was already plotting the strategy for the final. However true to his word Darren came through on the entry to collarbone corner and dragged us around to the kink to get us onto the front straight whereapon he sat up. Not taking any chances we powered on to take an emphatic win. The final average of 36.5 was pretty pleasing too.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby Daccordi Rider » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:24 pm

Brilliant!
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby foo on patrol » Sat Mar 14, 2015 7:53 am

Daccordi Rider wrote:Brilliant!


X2 8)

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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:12 am

Thanks Gents,

We've come a long way in the last 12 months. This time last year we were F grade, the 17kg I've lost seems to be helping. Another 2kg and I will officially be not overweight, when my BMI dips below 25.

In the meantime here is the report from last Sunday.

You'll just have to wait a bit for the report of our debut in C grade.


Stromlo 15 March 2015 ACTVCC Criterium Championships

As the Soothsayer told Big Julie – Beware the Ides of March.

Normally we stay clear of championships (unless we can use them as an opportunity to do our turn at volunteering) because there are too many A graders who are in our age group, so we would only survive to the first acceleration.

However this time we thought that we’d at least have a slightly better chance at hanging in for a bit longer. So we went down expecting a hard ride and to hope for the best. At least the racing was only for 30min +2.

The weather was a little cool and windy but unlike last Tuesday the wind was a little bit favourable going uphill. A small group of 6 showed up for M3, including Ed and Jason who I recognised as A grade, Stjepan from E grade, and two who I didn’t know but I found out later that we were Russell from B grade, and Dean from D grade.

Once the race started, it settled down to a fast but consistent pace and we were hanging in there pretty well, however it was a bit too hot for Stjepan. About half-way in Ed and Jason didn’t attack so much as putting in a hard turn, in the scramble that followed we lost Dean. Russell found himself caught between being able to go harder than us in bursts, but was unable to sustain a gap, particularly going downhill into the wind. From there we worked together as well as we could. Russell did mention that they were both A grade, and I replied that I wasn’t interested in reputations. We were chasing seriously and holding the gap at about 10s for the next half a dozen laps with the forlorn hope that we might be able catch them again, and at least be part of a sprint. Sprinting is a funny game and odd things can happen so I would rather be amongst it than not, since I reckon that my chances are better that way.

However with about 4 or 5 laps to go an attack and a chase from the much larger M4 bunch behind us meant that they caught up to us. We were alert to their presence keeping out of the way, however just as they caught us the protagonists swung off the front into our path. The chasers didn’t want to come through and followed them and all of a sudden we were in the middle of a bunch that was slowing down again.

We expressed our disappointment as we disentangled ourselves, but the gap to the leaders had doubled, and now there was no chance of catching them again, even if they did start to play cat and mouse. Still we maintained our rhythm until with two laps to go it was pretty obvious that since it was going to come down to a contest between us and Russell for third it really didn’t matter how far behind the leaders we came. Since I wasn’t all that keen to get caught up in the likely chaos of M4’s final lap, I suggested to Russell that we let them go by. Russell agreed and we both sat up into the wind and let the bunch go past and followed them at a respectful distance. Sure enough the bell went and they reacted like a bunch of startled gazelles and cleared out of our way.
As for our final lap we started in the lead at a moderate pace, (slowing down and accelerating again doesn’t do us any favours). Russell came through at pace before the final bends and opened a small gap. John and I did make some ground in the run up to the line, but it wasn’t enough and we came in 4th by a couple of bike lengths.

John and I are quite proud of the result, and our final average speed of 38.2km/h was indicative of a good solid race.

Our racing is coming on and the ability to race 3 times a week is part of that. I suspect that the somewhat hilly road race next weekend will tell a different story though…


Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:19 am

Put it all down to experience, Cameron. Just a shame you get halfwits racing around you at times. :wink:

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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:12 pm

Thanks Foo,

It didn't make any difference in the end. The only way we could have caught the others would be if they started messing about, and even if they did they would have had the power to dispatch us at will.

Anyway on to our first C grade race.


17 March 2015 ACTVCC Stromlo Criterium C grade 20min +2laps

After an emphatic win in D grade the previous week, we decided to make the jump to C grade before we got pushed. Besides there were only two weeks left in the criterium season. The race this time was to be run in an anticlockwise direction, meaning that the finish would be downhill, and that any final positioning for the sprint would be made on the climb at the end of the back straight.

We lined up at the start and the race director basically said that he’d be starting D grade right behind us so we shouldn’t dawdle. This was one of those times where it really pays to have the stoker already clipped in, because it is much simpler when there is only one foot to get in, rather than having to coordinate two. Sure enough when we were given the nod to go the pace was right on, it was so hot in fact that I thought that we’d bitten off more than we could chew. Fortunately however we warmed to the task and were even able to do the odd turn.

The bunch seemed content to simply keep the speed high with only a couple of half-hearted attacks which were quickly reeled in. One thing I did notice though was that the bunch craft of many of the riders was severely lacking. Usually the rule of thumb is that as you rise up through the grades you ride with better/more skillful riders and the racing is safer. This was certainly not the case here. I suspect that this group of riders are more confident, but have little regard to how their movements affect others. As a consequence I saw a lot of changing lines, which resulted in some slightly panicked swerves as riders tried to avoid contact. We steered clear of most of those shenanigans, but spent a bit of time in the wind as a result.

In the end it all came down to the final lap. We were near the front at the top of the hill but were only marking time since I had no desire to do a 1200m lead out for someone else. However there were at least a couple of others who did fancy that idea so at the bell there were two lines of riders moving forward on either side of us. As is typical they saw each other and moved together into a single line leaving us about 8 back. The bunch was stretching a bit into collarbone corner, which almost claimed another victim when Bob pedaled at the wrong time from a couple of spots ahead of us. He stood the bike up and started heading for the grass with what looked like some shimmy happening, which has got to be one of the scariest things in cycling.

However we weren’t in a position to do anything about that, and there was an opportunity to close the gaps as people allowed themselves to be distracted, so I called for John to make an effort. Going up the back straight the gaps in the bunch started to close up again, as the leader/s either got tired or started looking around.

Then it happened, Peter pulled out to overtake the bunch, right as we were closing onto his back wheel. It couldn’t have been better timed if it were planned. We dropped right into the slot as he made his move around the outside of the bunch. He got to the front right at the top of the straight and moved over, leaving us one back and one out with only a 300m downhill drag race to go. I was aware of someone else moving up on the other side of Peter, as we drew level with 100m left to go, but in the final few metres we pulled ahead for the win, Peter held on for second.

This was our finest moment in racing, with a genuine sprint win. It will be hard to reproduce that feeling again, but we’ll give it a crack. Our average speed of 40.2 was pretty pleasing too.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby Daccordi Rider » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:41 pm

Well my stoker Simon and I did our first scratch race with single bikes at the Adelaide Hills Club on Sunday. Short numbers meant A (2)and B grade (4) started together on a very lumpy course. We did 6 laps of 10 km with two main climbs. Basically we got dropped on each climb, and rode our way back on the decent, the gap getting a bit bigger each lap that we needed to close. On lap 3 the A graders put the hammer down up the hardest climb and spat us out. One B grader got dropped first lap, we got dropped next and then a lap later a third one got dropped. We caught him up and rode together for the last 2 laps. The finish is up the main climb then approx 750m of downhill to the finish line. He attacked on the climb but I'd expected that and kept a bit in reserve for the last climb to keep the gap to a minimum. He got a gap of about 50m over the top. We chased like maniacs and caught him with 200m to go and rode on to finish in second place.

It was a tough race, we got no rest because we had to go full gas up the climbs to keep the gap to a minimum, then full gas down the other side to catch back on. Couple that with my saddle dropping 3cm on lap 2 and I was pretty shot by the end. Good result, probably better than I expected given the nature of the course.

https://www.strava.com/activities/275616544

UCI event and Paracycling Nationals during April so some good racing coming up.
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:42 pm

Daccordi Rider wrote:Well my stoker Simon and I did our first scratch race with single bikes at the Adelaide Hills Club on Sunday. Short numbers meant A (2)and B grade (4) started together on a very lumpy course. We did 6 laps of 10 km with two main climbs. Basically we got dropped on each climb, and rode our way back on the decent, the gap getting a bit bigger each lap that we needed to close. On lap 3 the A graders put the hammer down up the hardest climb and spat us out. One B grader got dropped first lap, we got dropped next and then a lap later a third one got dropped. We caught him up and rode together for the last 2 laps. The finish is up the main climb then approx 750m of downhill to the finish line. He attacked on the climb but I'd expected that and kept a bit in reserve for the last climb to keep the gap to a minimum. He got a gap of about 50m over the top. We chased like maniacs and caught him with 200m to go and rode on to finish in second place.

It was a tough race, we got no rest because we had to go full gas up the climbs to keep the gap to a minimum, then full gas down the other side to catch back on. Couple that with my saddle dropping 3cm on lap 2 and I was pretty shot by the end. Good result, probably better than I expected given the nature of the course.

https://www.strava.com/activities/275616544

UCI event and Paracycling Nationals during April so some good racing coming up.



Well done Simon.

The scenario of being dropped on the ups and chasing on the downs is familiar to me. :)

It is good that you had company for the last couple of laps, because he will be a useful ally in future races. If he is able to figure out that he can get around the course faster by riding with you rather than against you it will be a good example to others, particularly to the other rider who now knows that if he can only hang with you it will make a big difference to his result. It adds a different dimension to the racing if the lesser climbers are able to chase back on. The downhill finish was favourable for you in the way it played out. I expect that you came past with enough pace to make sure he had no chance to catch your wheel. An alternate tactic for him would have been to not break away up the last hill and to have taken his chances in the sprint. I have always thought that John and I would make an excellent lead-out since we have pace and don't accelerate too hard, but sadly I don't have the chance to put that theory into practice.

It will be interesting when you have the opportunity to break away before a climb to see if the others have the nerve to just let you go in the knowledge that the hills will bring you back. Our experience is that they usually won't and will chase anyway. We have a couple of courses with early descents and it is a tough choice at times whether to just cool the jets and save energy for the climb, or to take advantage of the favourable conditions and condemn ourselves to racing the rest of the course at full gas, which is also pretty antisocial.

I managed to watch the Paracycling Track Worlds on Sunday night. Particularly the tandem sprints. The women's team had a couple of great semi-final rides, particularly one where they held the Kiwis wide for the entire race and wore them out by the finish.

April is a big month but a trip down your way won't happen for us. I'm sure it will all go well for you.

We are building up to our biggest race here, the Gunning 2 day tour in mid May. This includes a 100km race on the Sunday which is going to challenge me for distance since my longest training rides outside racing are the 7-10km commute to work (soon to be 13km with a change of location in April).

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:03 pm

Dairy Flat, handicapped points race - C grade

We set up what was previously my commuting tandem to use as the race tandem, basically so we don’t have to keep changing the setup twice a week, which is just a pain. However that being said the bike is a quite nice steel bike and no heavier than the Barlow, so we're not giving much away (especially if I put a 55T chainring on)

I had planned to ride out to the race, and figured on the usual route which is about 10-12km, so leaving about 40min before race start would get us there in good time to do all the admin etc. However when we were getting underway we made a last minute decision to go via the shared-paths, it can’t be much further right?

It was a poor choice as 16km later we arrived at the start with everybody already on the line. We were duly chastised by the race director, who could rightly have refused to let us race, however fortunately for the story, he consented to let us ride. We were just embarrassed to have caused disruption.

The race was to be a handicapped points race, with D grade getting a start on C, and therefore the opportunity to win the first few sprints uncontested. Even though the handicapper hasn’t actually caught up with us yet, we put ourselves into C grade again.

D grade started first and we waited patiently for our chance. It’s funny how slowly time passes when you can see your competitors riding away from you, however we were finally released after 1:45 and set to work about chasing. Fortunately since we weren’t going to be in the points until the catch the bunch settled down quickly into a unit that worked pretty smoothly with everyone contributing to the chase. We were losing a bit of distance at the turns each time, but it was only in the order of a couple of bike lengths and we were able to chase back on easily enough, although I did have to put the brakes on John who was always keen to just power past the bunch rather than to just slot into the line to do our turn as it came up. Finally after about 25 min, we made the catch, and subsequently the nature of the race changed.

For the first sprint we had manoeuvred ourselves into a good spot on the right side of the bunch one back from the lead, but the pace was fairly sedate as everyone waited for someone else to jump. This meant that Phil and then Terry came up on our right side effectively boxing us in. The sprint finally opened up and we were forced to wait for a suitable opening which didn’t happen until we were less than 100m from the line. We opened the taps, made up a couple of spots and finished alongside Ben, but were clearly behind the winner of that sprint. I actually think that Ben had held on for second at the line, but it seems that the judges gave it to us on the basis that we were going faster. Fortunately it didn't change the results of the race.

The next sprint came up and to our delight someone had a go from the turn. He was being chased by a group of about 4 and we were a couple of bike lengths behind them. The group had the leader well in hand and about 350m out paused to look at each other, which was too good an invitation to refuse. We went round the bunch, past the leader and went for it. Someone did come with us but he never got past our back wheel before fading at the line.

Shortly afterwards that the bell rang for the final sprint. In a similar scenario the bunch did the usual inch-worm movement at the turn and stretched out on the exit. As the bunch closed up again we again went to the front to lead it out again. We were able to jump at a time of our choosing for a change and Ben came with us. He started off with lots of closing speed but his rate of progress slowed as he came past, however he still did enough to get to the line about half a length ahead of us.

In the wash up, we came away with 9 sprint points to take a narrow win from David (from D grade) on 7 and Ben with 6.

This was another very satisfying outing, we worked pretty well with the bunch in the early phase when we needed to work for the team, and we were able to show some genuine speed when it counted at the end. We are still working out the kinks for our sprinting, since we don’t get many opportunities to practice. However the results suggest that we do best with going with the advice I was given by my friend Ray a long time ago. “It’s better to be at the front dying than at the back flying.” Particularly so since as Ben (who we’ve raced with on the track) told us afterwards, that even on a straight road it is still a long way to get around us.


Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Sat May 02, 2015 10:49 pm

Gee, this thread has gone a bit quiet. I was expecting Daccordi Rider to say something about the top level para-cycling races held in Adelaide recently.

I haven't done a lot of tandem riding of interest recently, races got cancelled, and I was away for a couple of weekends, even my commuting is being done on my #2 single bike since Lachlan got his own bike to ride to school on. That being said I've been doing some more miles on the #2 bike, since our biggest race of the year (the Gunning 2 day tour) is coming up in a couple of weeks and since we are in D grade this year it will mean that we have a 100km road race on the Sunday. Since the only riding I do is a short commute including the school run and racing, the distance is a big concern.

Fortunately school holidays allowed me to get a few more miles in. To do so I swapped the #2 race bike onto John's mag trainer and I retrieved my #2 single bike. Since Lachlan's angel bars were not suitable for John we had temporarily solved that by pinching the pilot's saddle and stoker bar assembly from the track tandem, however that pretty much left John with the one hand position and frankly I didn't care much for the saddle, but that wasn't an issue on the track. Fortunately this week some flash looking cheap bars arrived on Thursday so I was able to fit some brake levers to them, fit them to the original seatpost and tape them up last night. It was a big night of work since I also changed the Pilot's bars and stem, and did a strip and assemble of the rear wheel.

2 May 2015 Tidbinbilla

For this weekend the racing was at Tidbinbilla, which is one of our least favourite courses. This time we would be doing two full laps for a total of 62km so in light of not having a real chance in the race we decided that we would park some distance away and ride to the race, and maybe even do a 100km day. It has been years since I last did a 100km ride. I have to say I was pleased the bars arrived in time because I was concerned that I would have to do it on the saddle I didn't like. It was made worse because I have been fighting a battle against saddle sores for the last couple of weeks and I wasn't looking to doing a long ride on that saddle. So I was pleased to be able to fit my old B17N back onto it again. In fact I was more than just pleased when from the first pedal stroke the saddle was instantly comfortable and remained so for the whole day.

As for the race we rolled out to the start, made a few minor adjustments and were ready to race. The race itself was uneventful, we were dropped on the Birragai climb, but were able to chase back on eventually, we were dropped again on the Corin intersection climb and even though we chased and got close to them by the Flint's crossing turn, we were never to regain contact again. We did go close to catching one of the stragglers but a badly timed thrown chain put an end to that.

After the race I checked the distance and figured out that we needed an extra 6km or so to reach triple figures so we found an 8km detour on the way and duly completed the ride in a suitably wrecked manner. On returning to the car however I was devastated that my phone had died out on the road and I had lost part of my ride. Fortunately however I discovered that it had held on long enough to record a magic 100km ride.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby foo on patrol » Sun May 03, 2015 6:05 am

8) But don't ya hate that when the phone runs outa puff? :twisted: That's why I went to the Garmin + to be able to track my heart rate against the effort and speed. :D

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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Mon May 04, 2015 10:13 pm

foo on patrol wrote:8) But don't ya hate that when the phone runs outa puff? :twisted: That's why I went to the Garmin + to be able to track my heart rate against the effort and speed. :D

Foo


Thanks Foo,

However the phone dying was all my fault. Sometime the previous day I'd let my son play games on my phone and I'd neglected to close down the 27 applications he had opened. :oops:

I'm not sure that I want to know too much about my heart rate, I kept seeing scary numbers when I have used one. I don't even have a computer on the race bike anymore. The only speed that is meaningful to me is relative speed and a Garmin won't tell me that.

We are looking forward to the less steep hills of Dog Trap Road for the secret handicap next week. This race has a flatter start, so the course and the format suit us much better. It will be interesting if there will be anyone who will be prepared to help us out up the hills, in exchange for us helping them out on the flats and descents. I won this race last year by doing just that with another tandem.

The following weekend is Gunning where if it all goes to plan we will win the downhill TT and start the Saturday road stage with a few seconds margin. If we can get up the Cullerin Range (at 10-12km) within reasonable contact, we will be able to hold on to the bunch for the rest of the 50km race, although the uphill finish will see us desperately trying to limit our losses. The Sunday stage will simply be a war of attrition being two laps of the same course. I'll work out a plan for that if we are still in contention after Saturday. My race plans don't usually involve a long solo breakaway but we'd have to be climbing unusually well to have any other choice.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Tue May 12, 2015 12:18 am

Memorial Trophy Secret Handicap – Dog Trap Rd – 9th May - D grade.

This was a race that I was looking forward to. We have some good history on this course, and with some extra miles in the legs as a lead up to Gunning next weekend, we should be in reasonable shape.

The weather was not so favourable being cold and windy, which meant that organized bunches would do well.

As is typical with a secret handicap we all rode through the neutral zone with little in the way of banter as we waited for the flag to drop and the race to explode. Sure enough it did just that and in the wash-up there were two sizable groups of the fast men ahead of us we were alone with a group of mostly D grade forming behind us. Just as it looked as we were to be condemned to no-mans land a pair of out of position C grade riders came past and we joined in on for the ride out to the turn. It was all looking promising as we rounded the turn and started to power out when a tell-tale rubbing sound brought us to a halt. This bike has horizontal dropouts, and I had failed to secure the QR tightly enough. :oops:

A quick dismount, tighten and remount followed (which takes more than twice as long on a tandem) during which time a few of the other D grade riders had come past. Once going again we rounded them up and were in pursuit of the riders we were with, since from the turn back to the start is a slight downhill and is very much our territory. We did finally catch them just after the start area, and by this time we had a little posse of Klingons in tow. However as we climbed Pothole Hill the first time our group had dwindled again to 5. Mark, Dean, David, Ian and us. This was a great bunch who quickly worked out how to get to the finish as fast as possible, the others looked after us on the hills and we returned the favour by doing a big chunk of the work on the descents and flats.

The arrangement was working so well that two thirds of the way through the race, we even caught a group in front, which is almost unheard of in a secret handicap. It was all looking really good when we got to a little pinch. We got out of the saddle to drive over the top when the sync chain derailed. Fortunately without an embarrassing faceplant.

This time the stop was more time consuming, as getting the cranks lined up is tricky - particularly under pressure, and once it was on we had to change gears for a hill start. No-one looks forward to hill starts on a tandem, but we managed reasonably competently this time. We were a bit peeved and chased as hard as we could, but there was nothing left but to just finish as best we could.

As for the race results, it was a triumph of handicapping. 3 A graders finished together for fastest time, but Paul who was second across the line was an A2 rider and was given an extra minute by the handicapper, and that turned out to be good enough for the win. Pauline riding from G grade came in second, despite slogging it out by herself for much of the race, and David who was riding with us came in third, with an E grader from the bunch behind us in fourth. As for us we came in 9th overall, we finished a bit over a minute behind Dean who was also in our bunch but was dropped with about 5km to go and came in 2 min behind the others.

We can always wonder how it would have turned out had we not dropped the chain, however we would probably have been dropped on the hill shortly before Dean, and would likely have been chasing with him to the finish. It may not have even made any difference to the overall result since he was over a minute behind 7th on corrected time, but we might have at least had a sprint.

However a very encouraging ride which leaves us looking forward to racing at Gunning on John’s bike, which features vertical dropouts and a fatter boom tube.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Sun May 17, 2015 11:17 pm

2015 Peter Mclennan Memorial Gunning 2 Day Stage race.

This is the big one. For us it is the most important weekend of the racing year. I don’t know why but I just like stage races, and they don’t come up very often at club level. However despite my fondness for this style of racing, Gunning hasn’t been very kind to us. Last year was the munched chain, the year before I wasn’t available, before that we blew a tyre and on a single bike I have simply been dropped at about 5km into the first road stage.

The added challenge of being in D grade meant that the third stage would be held over the longer distance of nearly 100km which was a bit intimidating. However we prepared as best we could. I tinkered with the bike including putting a new tyre on the rear wheel, and agonizing over the cassette choice. I have wide cassettes of 11-30 and 11-32 but I opted for the 12-25 on the basis that we were climbing better and thought that we’d be able to manage the hills on the 42x25 and that the closer spaced gears would be useful.


Stage 1 4km ITT

This stage we had always penciled in for a win. Not really arrogance, just the realization that we are good at going downhill and the first km of the TT is just that. It seemed that the Gunning Curse had struck us again when we punctured on the warm up. However we had enough time to get back to the car install the spare wheel and adjust the brake (different rim width) to get comfortably to the start line in time. The change of wheel meant that we got our 11T cog back which would be useful.

Not much to report of the ITT, we rode hard and the results showed us being slower than last year (wind?) with a time of 6:09 with the other 8 starters ranging from 6:59 to 7:28.

It was a very healthy gap, however with the stage finishes being on the same road in the opposite direction there was a very real chance that if we made it to the bottom with the bunch that they could wipe that away very easily.




Stage 2 48km Road Race.

The terrain for this course defines the racing as far as we are concerned. 3km downhill, 10km uphill and 12km of flat(ish), turn around and come back. For us the first priority of the race was to get to the top of the Cullerin Range either with the bunch, or near enough to chase back on. After that, there was little chance of being dropped on the flat, and an opportunity to break away on the descent and earn a buffer before the final climb. There is a sprint point after the climb with bonus seconds on offer in each direction, but that wasn’t our concern.

As was not entirely unexpected, we got dropped on the climb, but we still had them in sight. They eased off a bit after the sprint and that was enough for us to get back on to them. At the ame time Sue got a blowout that ended her race with a bang, fortunately only a few 100m from the sprint point. The rest of the trip out to Breadalbane and back was uneventful, although we were gaining on C grade to the point that I thought we were going to catch them at one stage.

We gave the bunch a bit of stick on a little descent before the climb to the second sprint, partly to take a little bit of sting out of the others legs, but mostly so that we didn’t lose too much on the following climb to the top of the range.

It worked because we were still with them at the top. We launched off the top and did our best to open a race winning gap. Terry came with us for part of the way, but we ditched him on a little power-climb. I looked back as we crossed the bridge to start the final climb and the bunch was all together and closing. We dug deep, up the hill and held them off by a few seconds for a hard-earned win. With time bonuses we finished 11s in front of Terry, and 18s in front of Tony. Our final time was actually quicker than C grade, who were clearly bludging.



Stage 3 96km Road Race


Normally when you start a race with 1:09 to your nearest rival you’d be feeling pretty confident, however it was a long race, and I had only had one ride of a comparable distance for the last 10 years. I comforted myself with the thought that everyone else would be feeling the pinch too.

This time bunch got away up the range again, however they were not as far ahead, and we caught them not long before the sprint point. Not wanting to let any opportunity go to waste, we went around them at speed and at least made them accelerate hard to get on our wheel, before accelerating again for the sprint points. Another uneventful trip out to Breadalbane and back followed, although we did stick in another attack before the sprint for the same reasons as before, followed by another afterwards to test out their recovery.

No-one came with us down the range and we opened a handy lead. Our intent was to try and get as far down the road as possible before they caught us up the range. It didn’t work that well as first a breakaway of Des and Phil, and then the bunch caught us near the top of the hill. We had a slightly slow turn as we grabbed another couple of bottles before we rounded up first the bunch and then the breakaway on the descent.

Now the race began to get serious. For us if we were able to make the top of the range in contact, we would be laughing. I suspect the others weren’t quite so keen to let that happen. As a result Phil and Des came past up a rise at about 4km into the lap, and the bunch came past not long later. There was still a long way to race, and we weren’t prepared to go too far into the red in an effort to stay with them, so we watched our race disappear up the road as we climbed the Cullerin Range. We were not disheartened and once over the top we set about the chase in our best attempt at a TT. Not long after the sprint point I saw them go past a distinctive tree and timed the gap at 1:30.

We put in a really hard TT effort on the flat but at the turn we had only brought it back to 1:00 to the bunch, with Des and Phil still out in front. However we did better back into the wind and caught them again just in time for our favourite little downhill near the sprint. Naturally we went past them again just to make them stretch their legs a bit, although this time with only the 1s bonus left there wasn’t going to be the same reaction.

Tony saw the sprint as an opportunity so he broke away. Terry was working with us to get us up to the top of the range again. He followed us down the first phase of the descent and soon we could see Tony and the others ahead. We caught them just before the second phase of the descent so we hit it as hard as we could. We managed to get away again, but this time we were much closer to the finish. We were starting to get more confident of an overall result since a minute’s gap up that last climb would be a hard ask, but we had to make sure of it. Besides, there was a race to win.

From here on in it was just a desperate climb up that final hill, we could see that Tony was gaining on us, but we were still climbing with reasonable speed. With virtually a last-gasp effort we held on to take a third stage win and the overall. Having said that, whilst we managed to win the races, they were hardly dominating performances. We were also quite pleased with the time of 3:00:50 giving us an average of 32km/h.

After a month of laying off the booze I shared a bottle of Hunter Valley Merlot with SWMBO with dinner.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:07 am

Well it's been a while since I updated this thread. Not through a lack of riding so much, but mostly through a bad internet connection.

23 May Stromlo Forest Park – Teams Points Race – C grade.

The course at Stromlo suits us much better so we ride C grade on the flat. This race was to be a teams points race with combined C and D grades. The field was divided into two teams split between the grades, however disappointingly only three C graders turned up. We were in the yellow team with Sue and Graeme was there for the blue team.

The points were to be awarded for the first 3 places in each intermediate sprint and for 5 places in the final, with bonus points to be awarded to D graders. Furthermore the D grade field would be given a minute’s head start, so that they could have a chance to fight some sprints out among themselves, or at least that was the theory. In practice D grade decided to ease themselves into the race, whereas we took off like scalded cats in order to get into the race and among the points as soon as possible. As a result we caught up to the tail of the bunch before the first sprint. I could see that though Graeme had got past for the first sprint win, the other two places would be filled by yellows, so there was no need to involve ourselves.

For a while the lead group consisted of us, Graeme, Sue, and one or two of the others. Graeme was sprinting well, and taking the wins, we were mostly picking up the seconds with Sue cleaning up the rest. However a short while later it was just us off the front with Graeme and it soon became clear that we weren’t able to get away from him, nor he from us, so it just became a tactical battle for the points, and we could only hope that it was one of our teammates for third.

Graeme took most of the sprints, however we did manage to sneak a couple away from him and Sue cleaned up most of the rest of the points, except when she was able to get a teammate over the line for a bonus point. In the end the yellow team were able to accumulate the most points and got up for the win. On a personal level this was our third race in C grade for three wins.

We also managed to learn a bit about sprinting and what works and what doesn't.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:15 am

30 May - Pierces Creek – Road Race – D grade

Well after a couple of good performances you might have wondered whether we really should be D grade at all. However our comeuppance came with the less favourable terrain at Pierces Creek. The course for this race is tough. Navigationally it is simple with a 16km out and back, and for the D grade and above we got to do it all again for a second lap. To paint some of the picture there was over 1200m of climbing in the 64km. To add to that there is virtually no flat road on this course, so there are times when the road just feels dead.

What was worse was that I had neglected to change the cassette on the race wheels back to the 11-30 that we would normally use. Using the 12-25 meant that we would be forced to use the 30T chain ring. For various reasons, shifting to the inner ring on this bike is problematic and we try to avoid it, particularly under race conditions. One of the maxims that I learned early on in racing is “Don’t change gears under pressure” and it still holds true, even with modern equipment.

When the race got underway we quickly found ourselves playing leapfrog with the bunch, by either trailing behind or bursting to the front, depending on whether the road was going up or down. However it was not long before the losses outweighed the gains and the bunch climbed out of sight. We settled down to chase, and were at least a little encouraged to see that Phil got dropped up ahead too, so there was at least someone to chase.

We duly managed to catch him on the return leg, but we only really found ourselves riding in the same vicinity rather than together. He didn’t wait for us on the climbs, and when we caught him on the descents our closing speed was too great for him even to have any hope of catching on. We then had a setback before the end of the first lap when we managed to separate the joining link in the drive chain, forcing us to stop, retrieve the bits and rejoin the chain before continuing on again. Despite this we pressed on and caught Phil again as the cold and fatigue and lack of morale took hold and we and fought our way to the finish a long way down on the rest of the field.

Not a lot to take home from this one but it did prompt me to do a bit of mechanical work before the next race.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:55 pm

A tale of terrain.

As Mr. Scott said, “You canna change the laws of Physics.”

Unlike the undersized pipsqueaks who populate the higher echelons of this sport, I weigh in at a bit under 88kg and I’m fairly sure that the only rider in D grade who is heavier than me is John. When you put both of us on the same bike you end up with a whole lot of mass. The force of gravity works pretty powerfully on us so our rate of climb has been compared to a wrought-iron hanglider. We do go downhill ok though.

The problem is that our downhill gains don’t make up for our uphill losses. This is particularly so when others can benefit from our descending prowess (which is why we frequently try to prevent it), but we don’t have the same opportunity to benefit from their climbing prowess in return. As a consequence our races are greatly influenced by terrain.



13 June - Honeysuckle Creek – D grade.

As far as unfavourable terrain for a heavy tandem goes, this course is as bad as it gets. For this race the start line is not the same as the finish, since starting a race with a technical descent is probably not a good idea. A couple of years ago on our only previous attempt at this race, we failed to even make it to the start line when our rims heated to the point that the tubular glue melted and we tore the valve out of the front tyre when it moved around the rim. That incident wasn’t going to be repeated for us this year since I fitted disc brakes the night before (and the 11-34 cassette).

The race isn’t long and consists of a short preamble over Mt Tennant followed by the climb up Apollo Rd. Mt Tennant is a significant hill, but the race is really all about the climb up Apollo Rd to Honeysuckle Creek. So much so that there would be little difference to the results if the race simply started in the other direction to go straight up the hill, however I suppose that it is important to get a warm-up in first I suppose.

Not wanting to just roll over and accept our fate, John and I did go on the attack right from the gun and not surprisingly the others were happy enough to let us go. We built a bit of a lead, however it was not enough as the bunch caught and passed us on the way back up Mt Tennant, but we were at least close enough to know that we could chase back on and at least get onto Apollo Rd with company.

Sure enough the 30x34 got a good workout on the steeper bits of the hill and we muddled our way up as best we could. Our time up Apollo Rd wasn’t fast, and we were minutes behind our nearest D grade competitor and we were even overtaken by some F grade riders, however that wasn’t the real point of the day. For this race, we were happy enough to just finish.

In fact several people expressed surprise that we’d bothered to turn up at all, however as far as we’re concerned, if there is an opportunity to pin a number on, we’ll be there. We’re not going to get scared by a bit of tarmac even if it does have a slope. Mind you our result shouldn’t be taken as too indicative of tandem performance generally. Ashley and Don turned up to this race in B grade and were only just beaten into second, proving that a tandem can go fast uphill if it is ridden by better climbers.



20 June – Stromlo Criterium – C grade 40min +2 laps

Well this course is more like our style. It was a little disappointing that there were only half a dozen in C grade, and clockwise is not our preferred direction since the bike has low BBs and we will ground a pedal at speed in both Collarbone corner and the final left bend.

The bunch headed off fairly steadily with not a lot happening. There was a brief moment of excitement when moved off to the left side to clear my nose, and Stuart took that as an invitation to attack down the right side, but seeing as it was at the top of the hill, we were able to chase back on easily enough.

After about 20min when everyone was nicely warmed up I thought that we would put in a little dig to liven the race up. No-one came with us at first so we just dangled off the front for a lap or two, then Stuart and Alain joined us and all of a sudden it was a race of three. I didn’t particularly intend to leave people behind, but it is always easier to win a place when there are three in contention rather than six. The pace settled into an uneasy truce with the bulk of the work being shared between ourselves and Stuart, with Alain only coming through occasionally, so there was always the suspicion that he was just going to roll us at the end. As a result, the pace was not hugely fast and we didn’t catch the D grade bunch until it was close to the end.

There was a little bit of feeling each other out, as Stuart attacked up the hill, and we would chase back on the back straight. We put a move on up the hill ourselves, partly as a show of strength to dissuade any further attacks, and also because the time was starting to run out and I thought it would be handy to get past D grade cleanly before the finish and not get the bunches mixed. It resulted in us sitting on the front for longer than I wanted to, near the end, but that’s how it goes. When the bell rang for the final lap I was waiting for either Stuart or Alain to attack us up the hill, but it didn’t happen and I realized that we were going to be left on the front for the rest of the way. We took it fairly easily down the back straight and into Collarbone corner, and started to wind up into the southern loop before finally opening it up from the final bend. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough explosive power to open a gap, but we did at least make Stuart work for the win as he fought his way past by half a bike length. Alain honourably decided to not contest the sprint and rolled in for third.


Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:26 pm

Gunning Handicap - D grade – 27 June 2015

It was a perfect day for racing. Cool and not too windy, but most important for us was that the handicap format really works well for us on this course. This is because with the biggest climb coming early in the race the gaps are the biggest, so if the bunch waits for us up the hill we can work with them to conserve our advantage on the flats. Alternatively if the bunch decides to drop us on the climb, we can fall back to C grade and help them to chase our former bunch down.

The pre-race conversations seemed positive with the general consensus being that we would try and stay together up the climb and then work the flats. A small bunch of 5 greeted the starter with only 11min advantage over the scratch bunch and 3min lead over C grade. Unfortunately we lost one very early on when he climbed even slower than us up the first hill. On to the main climb and Tony's natural tendency to climb at full speed dragged the bunch apart. Only Sue was able to stay with him with David in no mans land between us and the leading duo. At the top of the climb I could see that David was only about half a minute ahead of us, and the C grade bunch was only half a minute or so behind us. There was no point to trying to hold the C grade bunch off, so we waited for them to catch us. Once part of the bunch we happily took part in the chase as we Picked David up and then steamed along the flat roads out to the turn.

We could see from the positions of the riders coming back from the turn that we were looking good to chase down those in front, and after the turn we could see a large bunch forming behind. It turned out that the A2 bunch had started with a numerical advantage over scratch as well as a generous 2.5min gap. As such, they had swept up B grade and were making good progress.

We picked up Sue and Tony and swept by a few stragglers but a bit of cohesion had gone out of the bunch. Then we heard the sounds of spokes pinging off a quick release behind followed by the thump of a body hitting the deck as David went down. Looking back I could see that a couple of riders had stopped and another was turning around but David was getting back to his feet so it didn't seem too serious. We kept rolling at a much reduced pace and allowed the bunch to re-form. We finally picked up the pace again but the delay meant that the powerful A2/B bunch caught us at the base of the return climb up to the top of the range.

Try as we might the pace was too much and we weren't able to hold the large bunch up the hill, and they rode out of sight. We kept the pressure on and picked up a few stragglers after that, but we were definitely not racing for the win by that stage.

In the end there was a bunch of about 25 riders who crossed the bridge together at the bottom of the final climb. From there the bunch broke up and the race was taken out by the fast tandem of Ashley and Don. Sue was the leading rider from D grade coming in 14th, we came in 32nd having been passed by the scratch bunch early on the final hill. No doubt we would have finished in a similar position even if we had started the final climb with the main bunch, so we were pretty happy with the result. David came in under his own power with a buckled front wheel.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:02 am

[url+https://www.strava.com/activities/338633760/analysis/618/701]Old Federal Highway - D grade - 4 July 2015[/url]

What a great day for racing it was. Sunny with a breeze, but it was cool at about 7degrees. We got out there in time to sign on and manage a pre-race ride (difficult to call it a warm-up) and were feeling good.

We weren’t feeling too optimistic about our chances since the course was a tough one, but we are not going to give up a race just because it has hills in it, otherwise we’d hardly race at all. Looking around on the start line some of the usual protagonists were not there, however there was Des the climber, Phil W, who we’ve ridden with before, Phil M, who had a hard race at Pierce’s Creek a few weeks ago, Steven, Ian and David.

The race for us was to be 4 laps out and back along virtually the whole length of Hadlow Drive. The profile of the course was for a short false flat to start with, a couple of km descent to the lowest point, then a long drag up to the highest point of the course and a final drop down to the far turn and then back again.

John and I did have a brief debate before the race over whether we would try and jump away at the gun in order to start the climb with a lead, but decided not to, partly on the basis that we wouldn’t gain much time anyway, but mostly on the basis that if we tried to be a bit sociable then maybe there was a chance the others would continue to be so and not simply race away up the hill. It turned out to be a good decision as the bunch did indeed appear to take it easy up the climb. That being said I wasn’t looking too hard at them as I was gasping for air as we fought tooth and nail to stay with them. Something had to give, and near the top we finally lost contact, but we had done enough to still be in sight of them at the top.

Sure enough we managed to chase them down not long before the turn and were able to really give the brakes a good test as we slowed for the hairpin. This stung the others into action and the bunch had shaken off Phil M as they came past us up the return climb. Phil caught up to us and we made it to the high point of the course together. We put it in the big ring and chased the bunch down the other side with Phil in tow we passed the others and opened a couple of seconds lead by the bottom. Phil left us early up the final climb to preserve some of his advantage, but Des had clearly been stung into action. He’d come past us and caught Phil and was riding with him at the top. Phil W couldn’t quite go with Des but had caught us, so at the second turn it was Phil M and Des, being chased by Phil W and us, with Steven and David not far behind.

We managed to chase down the leaders by the low point, so there was a group of 4 at the base of the climb for the second time. This time there were no niceties being observed, Des put the power on and the Phils tried to stay with him for a while but couldn’t, and we were left lagging behind. This time we weren’t able to catch the Phils on the descent, but just after we turned there was Phil W by the side of the road dealing with a chain issue. Phil W duly caught us again and he stayed with us to the top, and we managed to chase past Phil M together. Not long after this I failed to see a bump in the road and the resulting hit caused my seat to adopt a most un-Brooks like nose down position. A bit like ldrcycles has his, and it is no surprise that he doesn’t find it comfortable, because it sure doesn’t agree with me. However there was no chance to do anything about that so I just had to press on regardless.

After that Phil W was content to ride at 80% up the hills to help us out, and then to hang onto our wheel on the descents. We managed to at least stop Des increasing his lead, but that was about it for the day. After that we were starting to plan how we were to get rid of Phil to give us a chance of winning the stage. We did manage to get away from him on the final descent, but we will never know if it was enough to hold him off, because Phil managed to get another mechanical issue at the bottom of the final climb, and he had to stop to fix it.

We were absolutely stoked to come away with a solid second place in a race that we really didn’t think that we would do well in at all. Unfortunately it comes just before I have a couple of weeks off the bike, so there is not much chance to build on this result.

It was also nice to see Rosemary and Lindy out on another tandem riding E grade. They had a tough day in the hills and finished off the pace, however the point was that they were still out there.

Cheers,

Cameron.
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby find_bruce » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:01 am

Good write up & a great result Cameron

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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:43 pm

Thanks Bruce,

I/We are trying to get those that we ride against into the habit of being aware of where people are at when near to the tops of the climbs. If they can work out that it is sometimes to their benefit to slow down and allow a chase group to form, which may allow them to get back into contention. The alternative is to have a bunch of contenders and a number of stragglers who have no chance of chasing a group down by themselves.

I'd like to see some real tactical racing develop rather than just a series of unintentional selections deciding a race.

Our next race will be at Dalton. This course has a couple of big but gradual hills at the start, a couple of short but steep hills at about 2/3 of the way, and flat for the last 10km to finish. We will be hoping to either stay with the bunch on the early climbs, or at least be close enough to be able to chase back on, try to break away before the sharp climbs. If we are still with them after that we will be feeling pretty confident of doing well, despite the uphill sprint.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby foo on patrol » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:04 am

Sounds like things are coming together for you a bit better, Cameron.

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Re: Tandem Tales

Postby ironhanglider » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:04 am

25 July – Dalton Graded Scratch – C grade

The course at Dalton is probably the one that is most favourable to John and I because the hills are not too brutal.

The course is a series of 3 out and backs from a central point. Now I actually think that the central point is in the wrong place because the Royal Hotel is just down the road and it is a nice country pub. It would make a much better base for the activities for a number of reasons, not least of which is because it has a wood heater going which makes it a nice cosy place on a cold winter’s day. It is also at the junction of the three legs of the couse. The first leg is the longest and takes in both the high point of the course half way along before dropping down to the far turn mark. The higher grades get to do the first leg twice, for a total distance of 56km. The second leg starts with a steep but short climb before undulating out to the turn. The final leg is by far the flattest, although there is a small hill up to the turn at the pub. The pub is really the focal point of the course, and if we were able to be with bunch at the pub on each leg we knew we’d be in with a chance.

Indeed the weather was cold and in particular windy. So much so that there was only a handful of riders who turned up. On the way up John and I debated the merits of whether we should be riding in D grade or C grade. The last time we raced was on a much harder course and we ended up doing quite well with only Des beating us and he promptly got bumped up to C grade. We thought that we could at least match Des on this course. Counting against that was the fact that I had been away, and done no riding, and managed to find some of the weight that I’d lost, so I wasn’t necessarily in the best form. Three weeks ago it would have certainly been the right decision.

There were 8 in the bunch when we started, and the bunch took the first climb in a reasonably gentlemanly manner, meaning that whilst we weren’t riding on the front of the bunch, we were at least holding on for the most part. However it gradually got harder and harder for us to hold the wheel, and they slipped away from us near the top. We took advantage of the descent to open a bit of a gap before the turn, knowing that our race would depend on whether we could get back to the top of the climb with a gap that we could chase down on the descent. Well that plan worked pretty well on the first lap, although having caught the bunch they then proceeded to just sit on our wheel rather than actually roll through. We are happy to do our share of the work when we can, but there is no way known that I am prepared to just tow them around. For some reason then the pace kept getting slower and slower until someone finally took the hint. By the time we got back to the start line the D grade bunch had even caught up to within about half a minute of us.

On the second lap, the pace was a bit quicker and we were shelled out half way up the climb. We even found ourselves getting caught and passed by D grade near the top. We managed to disengage from them over the rollers and put some distance on them on the way down to the turn. We could see that the C grade bunch had broken into two groups of three with Des a little way further back. There was a similar story on the way back with D grade catching us near the top of the hill and we would catch them again in the rollers before we were able to get past and away from them on the downhill stretch. The wind wasn’t really helping things much as whilst we enjoy an advantage in a straight headwind, crosswinds seem to drag us back quite a bit. However we managed to catch Des on the descent, and we really hoped that he would be able to come with us and help chase, however he didn’t respond quickly enough to the warning that we were coming and he couldn’t get up to speed before we were past him. At that stage we had the second half of the bunch in sight and we were hoping to catch them by the pub, but we only got to within about 20m before the hill out of town kicked in.

More chasing by ourselves followed, and we managed to catch them briefly before the bunch broke into two pairs just before the start of the final leg. We were tantalisingly close to the other pair for much of the final leg, but we were only holding ground rather than closing the gap. D grade came past again with Des on the back, but we resisted the temptation to join them.

On the way back from the turn we were working better with Nick and we were able to catch Tony. We punched up the little hill to the pub mainly as a precaution to avoid getting out of position for the sprint, but it seems the others didn’t see the point of contesting a sprint for 6th so it finished in an anticlimax.

Oh well, races don’t always end in tales of glory, so we’ll just have to look forward to next week which will be a secret handicap at Dog Trap Road which is another course we do well on.

Cheers,

Cameron
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