12 posts • Page 1 of 1
Well for me its not often that I'll travel 1000km to ride a race but when you live in Alice Springs and want to race another club, a bit of travelling is required. Luckily for us we only had to go 515km each way, the Mt Isa and Darwin boys had over 1000km EACH WAY and I'd hate to think how far the Kunanurra riders had to travel, ladies and gents, this country is HUGE !
The Barkly Agencies Tour is a 2 day event where 3 clubs come together and compete for the trophy. While its certainly not like city racing, the boys and gals are not shy to put some hurt into a race, so I found out The way it works is a 3.1km prologue, 30 second intervals by first letter of surname to work out who goes in what grade. A few hours later there is a road race (distance varies for grades) and Sunday is the Critt around the local (3km out in the bush) GoKart track. There are more points available for the higher grades to ensure the "burglars" are flushed out of the lower grades, again its not necessarily about individual winners, its about points.
So I haven't raced for 8 months, I'd only really decided 3 days before I was going to put my name forward for the club. 2 days before I paid for the licence and picked up a Jersey, worked out a ride up there and some accommodation. We left Alice at 1pm on Friday and pulled into Tennant Creek around 6:30pm. On the way we passed through the Devils Marbles, what a cool place that is ! We stayed at some 3 star place, very expensive, very very basic but at least it had a hot shower ! After dinner, from the Red Rooster that was part of the BP petrol station we adjourned to the room and bunked down for the evening. Well we didn't know there were a bunch of racers in the unit next door that were boasting how they were going to smash up A grade.....hmm, this was interesting !
The TT started at 11:00am sharp, I managed to pull rider "26"... (I wonder who got 22 ). Out of the starters hand on the Specialized, big gear and I see 54km/hr flash up on the computer, wow I'm cranking, up the first rise and heart rate hits max. I get 1km into the race and I'm starting to feel sick, legs feel like Jelly and I think "I dont have anything left"...Got my thoughts corralled, get the breathing under control, ease up on the pace, you can do it ! Well luckily there were more rises that let me get the tempo sorted, starting to feel better by the 2km mark. Mashing away in the 53/12 and then comes the slight downhill, 53/11 and pushing as hard as I could, getting as aero as I could....when I hit the finnish line I thought I totally screwed it, I sucked. Billy 1 rider before me was on a Trekk TT and he smoked it up, by the end of the riders I was hoping to make the top 10...so an hour later we wandered past the "judges tent" and Billy heard he didn't win, I'm thinking, oh dear, there goes A grade for me. Judge looks at me and says congratulations you won the TT... I was gobsmacked...3.58 mins for 3.1km and it certainly wasn't flat !
Next is the A grade road race, our club had almost the top 5 TT spots so strategy was we were going to launch attacks to wear the group down and whoever was feeling strong would ride off the front with another rider. This was 78km with 36km of nasty headwind. This group was very very twitchy, our club launched a few attacks but we were pretty well covered. Myself and another rider managed a small break but we were quickly wheeled in, I knew this was going to be a sprinters finnsh and it was. Last 300m had a slight downhill, the Darwin club timed it well and had a great leadout, damn they were fast. So our club didnt get it right, we managed to pull 3rd, 5th and 6th (me being 6th), while not a bad effort we weren't overly thrilled.. DAMN SPRINTERS !!!!!!!!!!! After not racing for so long, cramps were really killing me, I wasnt fairing overly well so I think it was as good as I could do in this heat....
This morning was an early start, simply that many people had a 1000km drive home. A grade kicked off at 10:00am, 25 mins + 2 laps around the go-kart track. We went out to warm up and the track was pretty good considering, quite clean, few spots you could easily run wide but also some spots you could pass people safely. There was a nice straight but it was into a howling easterly wind, this I'm thinking was the place to try a break away. So after warmup (some boys brought rollers which put a little more uncertainty into our rag tag group ) we lined up and off we went. There were a few attacks from our club and a few from Darwin, the boys were very very twitchy. After about 10 mins I found myself upfront again, why am I the sitting duck again ! So I'm pulling this bunch around and decide to sit up, they slow down and wait.....I'm kinda shaking my head as this isn't right, someone should be attacking...well I kinda suspected they were marking me, ok well lets make it worth their while. I attacked them 3 times into the headwind and on the 3rd go I managed a break, a Darwin rider came with me and we managed to get around 8-10 bike lengths out. I said to him lets do this and stay out, he said we'll get caught, I said only if we keep looking over our shoulders we will !!! So we worked together to stay out which was really cool, one of our guys got a break so I thought I'd slow a little and help him bridge, unfortunately by the last lap flag, he wasnt going to make it....so I regained a little composure and soft pedalled for 1/2 a lap and then it was now or never, out of the seat, into the big gear and sprint.....very happy with the outcome, managed to get 4 bike lengths on him...
BBQ and presentation that was organised by the Alice Springs Cycling club was excellent, sponsors were great and the competition from the other 2 clubs was pretty strong. We managed to keep the trophy in Alice for another year, good outcome....The competition was really good as I said, not city racing but non the less very competitive. Some serious carbon weaponry this weekend especially this one guy that had the new SRAM 60/80 wheelset, pure bike pr0n !
The suffering I learnt at the hands of the LIfecycles team certainly helped me today !!
Sandman back in Alice
Well done Pete. Excellent report too. Thanks for sharing the story.
Graeme - Thanks mate, appreciate your comments
Kev3.14 + EMC(squared), I know, I'm soft, dunno what I was thinking.................
Stewie has a message for me I need to toughen up, where is BMXBandito with his "You suck, back to C grade you whiner" positive reinforcement
TNX TLL.... just doesn't seem as cool as Contador averaging over 50km/hr for 40km......oh well
Good to hear from you...
Cool report thanks Sandman... Just go back from central Qld myself, and after travelling nearly 3000km each way I was still probably 1500-2000km away from Barkly, yes this is a big country LOL
Good result specially in the tropics. While not humid this time of year, it's still much hotter than us southerners normally reckon with. Well done.
I only did a 100km on the road whilst in central Qld, and those 4 trailer road trains are bloody scary when they come passed you on the h'way!!! Even the ones coming towards you put out 200mtres of buffeting after they've passed Glad they weren't on your track
GT Avalanche 1.0 | TCR Alliance 0 | Giant Bowery | BMW K1300R
Two wheels good, Four wheels bad
12 posts • Page 1 of 1
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