Race Report Thread

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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby cerb » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:17 am

SKCC C-Grade Crit
avg. 40.4kph, 51min

Yesterday was a special sprint points competition, where in C-grade, there were 2 mid race sprints and a finish line sprint where you could earn points. Highest points at the end of the race wins the sprint comp.

The sprints were to be at random times, so I made sure I was up near the front at the start of the race. Sure enough, 5 laps in, the sprint whistle blew and it was on for a sprint lap. The pace picked up and the bunch was strung out quickly. I think a lot of the other sprinters were caught out well back in the pack because I came round the final bend in 3rd wheel, but overshot slightly and had to give it a big kick of acceleration due to losing all my pace. Still managed to take the sprint by about 3 bike lengths and get the first 5 sprint points.

Recovery wasn't too bad afterward and I let about half the bunch roll past me before pulling onto a wheel and recovering for the next 10mins. The pace was consistent, but not driving too hard and I started to work my way back up to the front in anticipation of the next sprint. At the start of lap 15, the whistle blew and I was a bit further back than I would have liked... I moved up the bunch up the back straight, then gave a big kick for the last 50m before the final corner. This gave me plenty of pace through the corner and I came around in 3rd spot, with 3 of us widely spread across the road. I pulled back in onto the wheel of the guy in 2nd to try and get a draft, but closed the gap faster than expected and almost ran into the back of him (well, closer than I like to come anyway)... This meant I had to slow, then pull out and start sprinting again - by which time I stood no chance and came across in 3rd for a single point.

I was then on the front, and everyone just pulled in behind me. I rode tempo for half a lap, then flicked the elbow - no-one came through. I pulled in tight after a turn and flicked the elbow again - still no-one. It was then very negative racing to the finish... I was already cooked and there were a few breakaways trying to get free. Every time I got off the front, I'd pull back into 5th/6th wheel and in no time would be on the front again with no one willing to go past me to chase the breaks. I ended up doing far too much work and probably should have pulled right back to mid-pack....

3 laps to go and everyone got their mojo back as the break really needed to be brought back. The pace went up and I was struggling to close gaps, but still maintained good position. Final lap, I was sitting about 10th place again down the back straight and two guys (from the previous week) pulled the same tactic of a massive, fast, lead out down the back straight. I saw them coming and tried to jump to their wheel as they came past but couldn't close it down (strava had me doing 59kph, so they must have been doing 60-61kph!). This move gained me a few positions and I cornered in 7th, but got pushed out a bit as the guy inside me ran wide. I gave it a good kick, but had already used all my matches. Managed to move up to 5th at the line, but scored no sprint points.

Was happy with the race, but even happier when I found out I won the sprint comp!

Will be looking to improve on my sprint lines next week (i.e. not having to power off in the middle) and might even start from further back in the pack so I can ramp up onto the passing sprint 'train' more easily - as it does seem to be the same tactic from these guys every week! :)
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by BNA » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:47 am

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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:47 am

greta, you legend!
Well played cerb - definitely seems like the points races work well if you get the early ones under the belt.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby filip » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:10 am

Wyong CCCC – B Grade
38.7 km/h
Friday evening crit was on, notwithstanding the very threatening sky. We did get roughly 35’ + 2laps in. I was feeling all right and was near the front most of the race. At one stage there were a string of attacks and accelerations and we managed to break the bunch in 3 groups. At that moment A grade past us and we sat up, allowing the 2 other groups to join up. Unfortunately A sat up 50m in front of us. With 2 laps to go a couple of riders attacked and joined the back of A. They got dragged along by A for ½ a lap and when we realised that they were not playing fair, we started chasing. The bunch spat apart and as we were strung out, the guy in front of me lost contact with the front riders, I decided to pass him on the inside of the corner. I misjudged it completely, losing valuable momentum. Within seconds there was a gap of 10 meter between me and the chasing front bunch. The moment I closed the gap, they started the sprint from afar. Game over for me. Turned out that the couple of riders who drafted A grade just stayed out of the clutches of the front group, and took –undeservedly- the win and placing. A couple of minutes later the heavens opened and all disappointment was washed away.


gretaboy wrote:KOCC D grade

1. D grade is faster but I can match it..
2. Threats may not always come from where you think they are going to come from
3. The hard work during the week does pay off


hey Gretaboy, C grade for you next week

Kooragang KOCC – C Grade – 5 laps
39 km/h
Again a very threatening sky on Saturday. It stayed dry but as usual, windy. 15 riders or so in the group. The pace was high for the first 2 laps, with the bunch breaking up after a couple of sustained accelerations. It came back together. During the last lap, a sole rider tried to escape, but got caught a bit further and it ended in a bunch sprint.
Good racing, but not sure if racing 2 days in a row is a good idea.

Does anyone of the meer mortals (45+ years old)) race 2 days or even 3 in a row and still be competivive or are the consecutive race days just considered very hard training days ? I would assume that the kooragang boys can race 3 days in a row.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby gretaboy » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:16 am

filip wrote:
hey Gretaboy, C grade for you next week

.



Filip...not yet...hopefully. I think I need to sit in D grade for a little..get a bit more used to racing. Lots to learn regarding that final half of the last lap. Plus I dont think a 9 speed bike will be able to match C grade speeds.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby winstonw » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:39 am

a few questions for the guys who know crit racing rulez .

1. in typical club crits, is teamwork permitted i.e. attacking as a team, one guy sacrificing himself as a leadout for a team member. I think this might have been discussed before, but am interested in what other Aussie clubs do for club races.

2. My club runs two grades simultaneously. When the higher grade is passing the slower, the slower is neutralized and supposed to slow down to let the faster pass as quickly as possible to reduce possibility of incidents. In this neutralized time, is it legal or race etiquette for racers (in the lower grade) to move forwards in the pack? This happened to me on the weekend...I like to hold 3rd to 6th wheel when not on the front, and I didn't appreciate a couple of guys moving over me during neutral time. I responded by taking back my position soon after neutral, and wasn't subtle about it, which they didn't appreciate.

3. After doing a turn on the front, how aggressively should I push back into the pack to stay 3rd to 6th wheel? Some slugs (who never do a turn) just don't want to let you in, which I think shows a lack of race awareness of the guys consistently working to keep the pace high. And when you force your way in, they spak.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:57 am

I don't know crit racing rules. This is basic logic in the answer.
1. Seems that teams aren't considered kosher under the top grade. Mucks with the flow of racing too much because it is very hard on tight tracks for the bunch to neutralise the team work. Derny's description of legit vs schnivel tactics seemed very grey to me so I don't think it's worth worrying about... I was thinking about the pics from the Waratahs race, two teams made up a third of the riders. I don't like your odds of overcoming that.
2. Neutral is neutral. If people are overtaking you, they aren't neutral.
3. You give up the front, you give up the front. After my recent "incident" I think it's basically good fortune that my previous moves in the tight pack haven't ended badly. End of the day, safety first and you have no rights to sit in the good spot in the pack. If others want to sit there, the smart move is to peel off and make them take turns. They are clearly way smarter than you realise if you are breaking the air and they avoid the turn. Maybe its time to sit behind them and figure out how they dog their turn? Worked for me ;)
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:18 pm

winstonw wrote: 1. in typical club crits, is teamwork permitted i.e. attacking as a team, one guy sacrificing himself as a leadout for a team member. I think this might have been discussed before, but am interested in what other Aussie clubs do for club races.

i think this varies from club-to-club, as far as i can tell. i've heard some threats about penalising team work, but not a lot. it doesn't seem like a big issue where i've raced (i.e. doesn't seem to happen).

winstonw wrote:2. My club runs two grades simultaneously. When the higher grade is passing the slower, the slower is neutralized and supposed to slow down to let the faster pass as quickly as possible to reduce possibility of incidents. In this neutralized time, is it legal or race etiquette for racers (in the lower grade) to move forwards in the pack? This happened to me on the weekend...I like to hold 3rd to 6th wheel when not on the front, and I didn't appreciate a couple of guys moving over me during neutral time. I responded by taking back my position soon after neutral, and wasn't subtle about it, which they didn't appreciate.

it's bad etiquette for them to do that - i'd back you in that circumstance.

winstonw wrote:3. After doing a turn on the front, how aggressively should I push back into the pack to stay 3rd to 6th wheel? Some slugs (who never do a turn) just don't want to let you in, which I think shows a lack of race awareness of the guys consistently working to keep the pace high. And when you force your way in, they spak.

sorry but i am with the slugs on this one. it's a race - not a bunch ride. i try to stay near, but not at the front. if i find myself on the front - as i did on sunday - i ride tempo. i'm not going to blow myself up for no particular reason. this was a mistake i made to end up on the front, i wasn't planning to, and no one owed me any favours as a result. i wouldn't ask for any either. you slot back in where it is safe to, which may mean sliding to the back of the bunch.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby ft_critical » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:30 pm

winstonw wrote:3. After doing a turn on the front, how aggressively should I push back into the pack to stay 3rd to 6th wheel? Some slugs (who never do a turn) just don't want to let you in, which I think shows a lack of race awareness of the guys consistently working to keep the pace high. And when you force your way in, they spak.


As you watched the Hard Road... Hilton Clarke at one points says that he finds it hard sprinting because no-one knows who he is yet so they won't let him in. He ends up down the back behind the wheel droppers.

My experience is that if you are working, people do let you in. Hip to their bars, not aggressively, just sit there. You will be amazed, small bend or undulation and you will get your wheel without any aggression. I also find that as the race settles down, if you are known or have been working, it is much easier to be at or near the front - not working... So maybe work a bit at the start then schnivel for a while.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby winstonw » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:01 pm

thx for input. suppose at end of day depends on the experience of the guys you race against.
I might suggest to our club they expand website info on race rules and etiquette.
As for guys not wanting to let someone back in, I'll accept it's a discretionary thing. Personally, I let guys who keep the pace up back in, esp if they're big guys and I get a better draft behind them, or I know they're more likely to respond to attacks.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby filip » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:20 pm

winstonw wrote:a few questions for the guys who know crit racing rulez .

1. in typical club crits, is teamwork permitted i.e. attacking as a team, one guy sacrificing himself as a leadout for a team member.
2. My club runs two grades simultaneously. When the higher grade is passing the slower, the slower is neutralized and supposed to slow down to let the faster pass as quickly as possible to reduce possibility of incidents. In this neutralized time, is it legal or race etiquette for racers (in the lower grade) to move forwards in the pack?
3. After doing a turn on the front, how aggressively should I push back into the pack to stay 3rd to 6th wheel?

.


1. In the lower grades normally it’s each man for himself. Everyone still believe he’s Cancellaras or Cavendish and no one is prepared to sacrifice his changes in doing work for a team mate. Having said that, i start contemplating myself if it’s not wiser for me to close a gap so my mate –who has a sprint- can contest the sprint, instead of me coming 15th out of 25. Or break away with some mates and work together to stay away to avoid sprints. Easier said than down though, in the heat of the battle. I’ve not experienced teams shutting down races, however it would be wise to keep an eye on a break with several foreign club members in, as normally they will join forces to stay away. In A grade it seems again every man for himself as everyone wants to get noticed to maybe, one day end up in a sponsored team.

2.That’s the normal rule. The race is not neutralised so you can move up, but you have to do it on your own merit, not on the higher grade’s wheel. Drafting them is a definity no no .

3. If it’s always the same guys who work, discuss with them to try and attack several times to break away at the right time : you do the work anyway.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:30 pm

winstonw wrote:As for guys not wanting to let someone back in, I'll accept it's a discretionary thing. Personally, I let guys who keep the pace up back in, esp if they're big guys and I get a better draft behind them, or I know they're more likely to respond to attacks.

i actually let people back in, mainly so i can avoid filtering right to the front 8)
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:37 pm

winston, it's a bit hard to take your complaint in 3 seriously when you clearly have self interest on your mind when you let guys back in :lol:

ft has it down for getting back in... diplomatic subtlety is key to avoid the machismo of war 8)
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby winstonw » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:51 pm

well x, re Q.3, no doubt self interest, but I never negotiate without offering some benefit to the other guy i.e. let me in and more often than not you get a better draft, and a guy in front prepared to jump on attackers, or chase them down! good deal methinks.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:32 pm

Hell yeah... seems to be some magic about getting buy in for the midrace strategy.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby cerb » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:04 am

As a slightly alternative thought - if there's someone pulling strong turns on the front mid race and I know they are a good rider (with potential to be up the front at the end of the race) I will sometimes specifically not let them back in, therefore making them ride in the wind for longer and use up more energy.

I'm usually happy to let the less strong riders in in front of me though, just as long as they don't look ragged and start dropping wheels... :)

Perhaps you need to ride a bit less like a 'target' (strong rider, who I'm just going to let do the work for me) and use your energy on more surgical attacks?

With regard to keeping the pace high - people will often be prepared to close a small gap, but not a large one. If you do a soft attack of the front and create a small gap for someone to close, they will often try to bridge or leap frog off you, forming another small gap - which the chasers then want to close. I've found a few of these soft attacks can quickly lift the race pace up with significantly less effort required than driving the pace on the front! Works well with large bunches, but I can imagine it wouldn't work as well with a small group - so I guess it depends on your club/grade.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby nickobec » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:11 am

filip wrote:Hi Nickobec, i missed your race reports. I think that everyone can relate to the ‘lesson of today when riding a new course’. Just the thought of ‘maybe my brake is rubbing’ does my head in, or another good one : ‘is my tire getting flat ?’.


Been writing my regular race reports, just don't post everyone here. Usually just on my blog, will try and post the more interesting ones here.

Why the brake was rubbing was only found out well after the race, when I put the bike back together to scout the course for my next race.

filip wrote:Does anyone of the meer mortals (45+ years old)) race 2 days or even 3 in a row and still be competivive or are the consecutive race days just considered very hard training days ? I would assume that the kooragang boys can race 3 days in a row.


I am turning into a race junkie, 3 races last week Sunday 35 minute crit, Tuesday 17km TT including 5km of climbing, Wednesday 16km TT with 8km into 30kph headwind. This week Sunday 40 minute crit, Wednesday 16km TT, Thursday 35 minute crit (and up a grade see report below), next week is looking like Sunday 35 minute crit, Tuesday 17km TT including 5km of climbing, Wednesday 16km TT & Thursday 35 minute crit.

At 53, I find it takes a day to recover from a TT and a couple from a crit. Though I will race two crits in two days, if somebody puts on a crit other than a Sunday in WA (ie Australia Day).

During road race season, every second week or so, I was racing on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday race, was my regular, attacking, aggressive riding race. When I raced Sunday's it was as a learning experience, riding in a bigger bunch with more experienced riders, still was competitive (some weeks).

Tint A Car Criterium
Open C grade
Kwinana Motorplex
21 November 2013

You read it right, I was racing C grade in open competition. My results in D grade in open competition have not been that good. So in theory tonight was a step up, but with only 3 grades to choose from, it was C grade or nothing, and me being a race junkie, decided to give it a go.

The circuit was not the car park circuit used by PDCC, but a completely different circuit incorporating part of the drag strip, the service road that runs alongside and the competitors car park. From the start line on the service road, through the concrete burnout pit, through a kink under the bridge, a quick S in the car park, followed by two 90 degree turns, that you needed to treat as single turn. Unfortunately, with my poor night vision, choice of eyewear and lighting, I had difficulty with the exit of the final corner. Which meant I would drop a couple of bike lengths mid corner, to make sure I did not overshoot the exit and end up on the grass. Back down the service road, keeping right, which was an interesting challenge. A quick S through the concrete barrier, down the end of drag strip for 400m or so, a wide 180 degree turn, then back up the service road for 500m or so to the finish for a 2.5km lap.

The first lap was a neutral lap behind a car, then the race was on. Not knowing what to expect, I settled in as my usual position of ticket collector (last rider). The first real lap was at a frantic pace, and I had problems with both 180 degree turns at the top and bottom of the course. Still I had enough to get back on. I was wondering how long I would last at this pace. The next lap, the pack would drive out of a corner then slow and this was repeated. I settled down to trying to improve my cornering, it did not really matter if I got it wrong and lost a few lengths, as I could stay seated and drive out of a corner and catch the bunch within a couple of hundred metres. At one stage the bunch slow so much coming onto to the drag strip, I ended up firing off the front of the bunch. My adventure was short lived as I made my worst attempt at the bottom corner and went from the lead to the back of the bunch quickly.

The disadvantage of riding under lights was I could not read my garmin and my choice of eyewear meant I could not read the trackside clock, so I could not tell the time. I could see a few riders in trouble, so coming into what I hoped was the bell lap, I attacked after the bottom corner, got a gap and forced a reaction, I was on the front over the start finish line for the bell, through the S I was mid pack and dropped right back for the top corner. As usual dropped a couple of lengths and was struggling but nobody put the pressure on. So I stayed in contact, down the service road, onto the drag strip, a rider attacked but was easily countered by everybody. Rounding the bottom corner for the final time in last spot, I decided I was not going to finish last and would get past a couple of tiring riders in front of me. Off the final corner and riders attacked, but not everyone reacted. I started chasing down riders, I ended up passing most of the bunch on the way to the line, in fact only four riders crossed the finish line ahead of me. So fifth from 18 riders in my first attempt at open C, I was ecstatic.

Will need to improve my cornering, and ride further up the bunch as I expect the race to get tougher over the next few weeks, as more riders come onboard.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:06 am

CX Genas ... lesson in sucking!
Rocked up today thinking I could go OK'ish. Kitted up with long winter knicks and mid weight winter long sleeve top. Did a couple of warm up / reccy laps. Course had changed a lot from last couple of years... basically a lot of really steep pinchs :oops: . Freaking tough!.
Turned out it wasn't going to be as cold as I thought, no snow on the ground unlike at home, pretty dry course considering as well. Raced back to the car and changed into 2/3 length Spring knicks and summer gloves.
Lined up with 71 others. Start was off course... my weight was a real problem here... super slushy grass, I am a good 20kgs heavier than basically anyone else who I compete closely with... one place I notice it other than the climbs is on soft ground. Basically I sink in a lot more!.
Got a shocker of a start and entered the first corner around 40th :oops: . Normally I wouldn't be too impressed with that but I knew straight away that I was going to have an off day. Plus the change to the course proved to be a disaster if you weren't in the first 10, basically by the time I walked up the first pinch the leaders were coming down the other way a minute or so ahead!.
The lack of riding lately is starting to show!. So just just settled in to "cruise" the hour. Moved up a few places and lost a few places. Just too much climbing for me. Also setting my tyres at 38 was a big error way too high and they didn't clear the mud well at all.
Anyway finished the hour in the 30's somewhere ... still glad I went, only the toes got cold :lol: .
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby Chris249 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:56 pm

Well, I found out how to win in A Grade in just 7 easy steps.

1- Get to the front of B Grade in a big "Open" club.
2- Get injured, recover, turn 50, change cities and move to Vets (although it may actually be more competitive than my old "Open" club).
3- Rather than work hard enough to get into A on the road, simply move to the smallest discipline in the club, where they only effectively have three small grades so you get to race A.
4- Learn from the very friendly competition and work on fitness while regularly finishing around 3rd but well off the winners' pace - the top guys are very good (ie one was a national open MTB champ) but luckily normally only two turn up;
5- Wait until a day when a massive thunderstorm is looming so close that almost everyone pikes and only 3 A Graders turn up and grades are combined.
6- Go like hell at the right time 'cause a tiny combined pack cannot chase you down like the normal A Grade pack can.
7- Taste the victory as the heavens descend and cancel the rest of the races. :D Or is that the taste of blood in the mouth after going harder than ever before?

In years to come, of course, this one win in field of about 7 Vets riders will be referred to with false modesty, using words carefully designed to give anyone who doesn't know better the idea that I was a regular winner in races packed with World Tour and NRS legends. And my wife will sigh, roll her eyes and think of divorce every time she hears me try to pretend I can ride properly. :lol:
Last edited by Chris249 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:59 pm

A wins a win ;-) ... congrats!
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby donncha » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:37 pm

Nice work Chris!

It's often said that tactics & strategy win races :-)


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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby ironhanglider » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:41 pm

ACTVCC - Dog Trap Rd - 45km Handicap - F grade.

I have described this course a couple of times before in this thread. But the terrain is less relevant to the story of this race. Save for the last two km which are a 1km straight descent, into a sweeping right turn, followed by a climb up and over a ridgline, and a short descent to a gully and up to the finish.

Today was a handicap race so it was going to be an all out slog for the whole way. I must have been flying under the handicapper's radar a bit because I was still showing up in F grade. Today it suited me to ride in my appointed grade and make a meaningful contribution, rather than to cling desperately onto the back of E grade with a strong likelihood of getting dropped. It was a tough choice because Rosemary and Lindy were on a tandem in E grade which may have made it easier for me to stay with the bunch, since that team doesn't climb or descend any better than me although they'd be faster on the flats where I could happily sit in their draft.

There were 8 starters in F grade a few old hands like Graham, Phil, Bob and Ian, who I've had the pleasure of racing with before, as well as John, Frank and Polly who I didn't know much about. The 3 G grade riders started with 10 minutes on us, and A grade were to start 20 minutes behind. From the start we quickly settled into a good pace overall but not quite as smooth as ideal. We lost Polly some time after the first turn and possibly before we got back to the start. The 7 of us kept pushing on and managed to negotiate the hillier second leg still as a bunch, and still sharing the load pretty well. By the second turn we could see that we were clearly going to catch G grade who were starting to break up into groups of one. After the turn I took note of where E grade was and was pleased that they hadn't gained too much on us. It was looking good for our chances. Things were still looking good around the next turn when we almost had the leader (Bruce) in sight, and a rough calculation had us still 10min in front of A grade, although by that stage it was a little confused as to who were still racing, and who had been dropped. We passed Bruce with about 10km to go, but we had lost Ian and later Frank. The remaining 5 still kept good pace down to the last turn, with lots of empty road back up the climb. E grade had only gained a little on us and were greatly reduced in number, they were no threat. The scratch bunch wasn't far behind them though and they were being chased by the other, faster tandem with Ashley and Don aboard.

The surviving five of us continued to work away until with 2km to go the remaining three from the scratch bunch caught us. I looked back at just the right time and was able to shout out 'Bunch' before making the jump to try to get on their wheel. They happened to catch us at the top of the descent which is the perfect place for me and Phil, who don't go uphill so well, but can go downhill as fast as anyone. Phil got on their wheel first and when I peeked back to see who else was there I could only see John. At this stage I had no idea who else might be right on our tail so the key would be how long we could stay with the three of them. Into the sweeper Phil started to lose ground so I went around and buried myself to get up the climb. I knew that Phil and John weren't on my wheel so that every second I could hold the pace would take me further away from them. Strava says that on the first lap I slowed to 18km/h up this hill, the second lap I only dipped to 26 which is about 44% faster. Naturally I couldn't last long at that level of output, but it was enough to get me to the flatter part at the top, leaving only the gully and the finish rise to go. My lungs were well and truly screaming by this stage, and I rode the rest of the distance on auto-pilot but the others had brought me well clear of John and Phil.

In the end there were another two bikes, a single and Ashley and Don that were able to get past Graham and Bob so in the final results a B grader held off two A graders for the win, I came fourth and there were 5 F graders in the top 10.
I was pleased with both my result, and also that I was able to significantly contribute to making F grade ride fast as a group, which brought a good result for all of us. Sadly however I suspect that the handicapper will see fit to reward my efforts by promoting me to E grade again. However, it looks as if I'll be back racing the tandem in a fortnight in the Orroral Valley which rewards fast descending, so I'm looking forward to that.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby gretaboy » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:21 am

HVMCC - Scratch race C grade - 43 k

Place: 3rd


Saturdays racing was washed out....Sunday was a different day however. It had been projected to be a clear sunny day and late Saturday I got it in my head to go and race with another Newcastle club - HVMCC. Put it to the boss and she gave me the ok to do so.

Rock up on the day, go to the office and get told I have to go and see the "grader" since it is my first ride with them. Start talking to him and he immediately says C grade. I am shocked. He tells me he knows who I am and he keeps an eye on whats going on in cycling around the place. I have had 3 races to date. I try and plead a case to ride D but no luck :)

I immediately start having doubts about my abilities and whether I can stay with the bunch. I honestly didnt think I was ready to compete in C grade. I am nervous as all. Get on the bike and ride around nice and gentle to warm up and look for the same coloured bibs to see who the competition is. The only thing going for me is that the race route is the same as the one I have been doing in my first 3 races.

Start of the race and it is a whole new ball game for me. For starters, the number of riders in C is way more than I have ever ridden with. I immediately know that I am really going to have to watch my position in the bunch if I want to contend for a place. The tempo of the race is also a lot higher from the get go and I start hoping that I dont get spat out the back. For most of the race I try and sit in the middle and really think about my positioning when heading into the wind. I try and get to the opposite side of the pack from where the wind is coming from in an effort to lessen my effort. In hindsight, looking back at the race, I am surprised at how much I was thinking during the racing, I never thought racing would be like that.

There were a few half hearted attempts at breakaways but I was wasnt worried by them as I knew the bunch, if they wanted to, could pull them back at any time. So the race is ebbing and flowing and I am going ok, feeling ok. We go past the finish line and get the bell for the last lap. I must have been having too much fun as I really thought we had one more lap before the bell. I turned to another rider and said "I thought we were doing 6 laps", he replied with "Yeah we are, we have done 5 already". Immediately the pace picked up and I smiled to myself and thought here we go. I made sure I stayed up near the front from this point on as I knew if there was breakaway then I could never catch it from the back. We enter into the second last straight and I am thinking to myself "wow I will be happy if I get in the top 10" as I really didnt think I would have a chance for the podium.

Just prior to the last left turn onto the final home straight, a rider makes a break and a few riders go with him. The speed has gone up, I am about 4th or 5th wheel when this happens and start picking up my pace to stay with the breakaway. I dont think about it but I cranked up my effort and went for the line as hard as I could. I am not looking back, cant hear any other riders but just keep going hard. With 5 m or less to the line I think I may get the win when at the corner of my left eye I see a wheel and two riders just edge past me. I roll over for third place.

I was wrapped given it was my first race in C, that I was just hoping near the end to be in the top 10 and that at the start I was hoping not to be spat out the back. After the presentations I had one rider come up to me and say nice ride and informed me that I was beaten by the two sprinters.

Such different racing to my first 3 races and what a hoot it was. I will be back for more.

## I enjoy the fact that I am on a $900 basic road bike compared to some bikes others are racing on :)
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby ft_critical » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:50 pm

Well done Gretaboy, the joy does come through in your report
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby ironhanglider » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:58 pm

I'm enjoying gretaboy's reports too.

Although,
gretaboy wrote: Plus I dont think a 9 speed bike will be able to match C grade speeds.


Apart from now being shown to be untrue by your results, which cog do you think you are missing? Are you using every cog in your cassette? You might be able to tweak your gearing with a different brand/model of cassette.

Years, ago in the 8 speed era when I was somewhat fitter, I wore out my 12-21 cassette and agonised over the replacement. In the end I reasoned that I needed an extra gear at the lower end and didn't use the top gear much so I opted for a 13-23 instead. Needless to say that a few weeks later I found myself in a bunch of fast blokes on a really windy day near Geelong when we had a gale force wind at our backs for at least part of the way. For that stretch we were travelling at somewhere comfortably over 60km/h and whilst I would have used that 12 if I had it, I didn't get dropped because of the lack of it. There were plenty of races later on where I did use the 23, when it is likely that I would have been dropped if I had only the 21. Sadly those days are gone and I use a 12-28 now.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Race Report Thread

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:34 pm

You need to start trusting the graders ;)
If you do upgrade, go 11 speed 8) Part of your power (and you've got it!) is robbed by smaller gear selections. Spinning 53/17 too fast and 53/15 too slow is easily fixed by a 16 cog. I am getting ready to dump the 11 cog to get a 12-23 with my compact so I can use the 18.

Race Reports for Waratahs Sunday and Penrith Monday

Both attempted starts foiled. Waratahs I ran late because of a friend's flat tyre and a need to visit the ATM on the way, then I found a flat ON THE START LINE this evening at the Regatta Centre. Pretty disappointing stuff really, but you can only laugh. I rode around for half the race on a mate's wheel to get some kms in, and shouted encouragement at him while doing my best to prevent him from getting a draft from me. The headwind on the start finish straight was just crushing. C grade was basically torn to pieces in two laps by the breakaway, and then had a few guys in no mans land as the break spread out.
Had a chat with a few gentlemen, both old hands and some who have recently started out as I cruised around both days. It's nice to be able to chat racing and bikes, and that's the whole point. Massive props to Charlie for the lift home tonight (I didn't have a spare tube anymore). I think I'll have to catch the train home in future because it's just too dark for those roads after the race. The ride out to Penrith was not the most confidence inspiring I've had.
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