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Better get this out there, it may never happen again .
Raced Sunday morning crit with Macarthur CCC yesterday. Crit races are held at Smeaton Grange a 2km flat circuit with tight turns at either end and a dog leg in the middle.
I'm racing D grade 30mins + 3 laps.
Rolled out and headed straight for the front as had been advised by Kev who also races out there. Towards the front is the best place to be because of the tight turns there, you sit at the back and it can be a slow death as the front runners sprint out of the turns and you slowly but surely get dropped. I know this from first hand experience.
Anyway stayed near the lead for most of the race, taking my turns at the front and covering any moves and hanging on to any surges. With 3 laps to go the group had been whittled down to 7, I'm 2nd wheel, the guy at the front has slowed the pace a fair bit so I take the lead.
With 2 laps to go the guy who won our last crit race launches a big attack. A young guy goes with him and another 2 guys go past me. 1st to 5th just like that. I surge but it doesn't make much impression and I'm not feeling great now. The 2 off the front have a clear gap with 2 more chasing but not together. I'm close to the guy in 4th so I aim to try and get his wheel and gradually I pull him back. I'm thinking top 2 is gone but maybe 3rd is still possible.
So I'm drafting 4th and clearly the guy in 3rd is coming back to us and pretty soon we've got him. Into the last lap and the 3 of us are starting to bring back the first 2, they've gone too hard too early. Halfway through the last lap they sit up and wait for us, 2 becomes 5 and the pace drops alarmingly. I urge the others to up the tempo again, we'd dropped 2 from the group lets not let them back on with only half a lap to go.
The guy who made the initial move responds straight away and ups the ante again. The young fella who went with him the first time can't go with us, he's spent. Now there's only 4.
Into the last turn and flying out and another has dropped off, the guy who finished 2nd last race and who has beaten me consistantly this year, sat up before the turn. I grab the wheel of the leader and look back to see we've put a gap in 3rd place too. This is great I think to myself, I've never finished in the top 5 now I'm assured of at least 2nd.
The guy leading out is a good young rider who's destined for C grade so it's gonna be tough to get past him. Heading into the dog leg that takes us into the final straight I opt to duck under him but as I do he sits up and pulls to the right anyway thus leaving me to sprint to the finish unchallenged .
Maybe he was looking to stay in D grade a little longer, maybe he was outta gas I really don't know, but it didn't stop it from feeling good crossing the line 1st. Some pocket money an added bonus .
I wasn't even going to race on Sunday, my wife went out Saturday night and was planning to stay at her friends house so I was meant to be babysitting Sunday morning.
A knock at the door at 2 in the morning and she'd changed her mind, so I set the alarm and got up early and raced. I'm pretty happy with how it worked out.
Ah, well done mate.
Must have been that timely advice I gave you
I'm impressed that you managed to outsprint James, even if he did sit up at the end. He normally flies in that last 1/4 lap.
Just remember that you won't be forced up a grade until the Summer Series starts in a couple of weeks. The races on now are just to fill in the gaps and get everyone back in the groove of crit racing.
I won't be there for this Sundays race, so good luck to you in that one (if you go, that is), but I will be there the following week.
Awesome ride buddy, thats what races are made of. Its just sheer tenacity and mongrel that gets you through the tough times and when you find that there are only 3-4 with you in the final bunch and a real chance of a "Podium finnish", its amazing what you can dig up when pushed
Great ride Chuck, more power to you !
Winning breeds confidence.
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