You will get more out of the higher grades Jules if, you can stay there, than the lower.
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
ITT... didn't happen. Seven marshalls, a race director... and two TT tragics who turned up in the pouring rain. Even if we'd gone ahead, the course would have been shortened to remove two descents. 100km round trip ended up being just for coffee. Then again, it's always about the coffee.
I ride, therefore I am.
...real cyclists don't have squeaky chains...
Road my first crit at SKCC today. After being off the bike for a year and not racing for 13 months I was looking forward to have some action again.
I requested to start in B grade and was glad they let me. Got some remarks about my steel, 6sp, old skool bike (I was expecting it).The legs got to do the work, right?
The race wasn't to hard. An early break away of 5 guys caused a steady pace for most of the race. Only during a period of about 10 minutes it was tough cause of the chasing and finally catching of the break.
I stayed the whole race between the wheels, I had no idea how my body would manage and every effort could be one to much. It ended in a bunch sprint which I just followed but didn't really participate in.
It was fun to race again And some progression the next weeks could take me from just following to making the race.
It seems the legs worked just fine Metor .
My race report has been cancelled ... quite a few cms of snow last night and a maximum forecast temp of -1C today puts and end to the 1st road race of 2013 for me, least I didn't have to drive anywhere to find out... phew.
Good stuff Metor.
I rode my first ever crit race at SKCC this morning as well (but I was in E Grade )
The controlled pace was quite easy and mid race when it picked up speed a little it was great fun whizzing through the corners at speed.
The plan was that the first two of the final 3 laps would be at a quicker speed (still under control) and the final lap would let the group go at their own will.
We were practicing pace-lining when we crossed the line with 3 laps to go and as the bell sounded the guys at the front took off and unfortunately I was near the rear of the pace line, so was on the back foot from the get go.
I managed to stay with them and the final 3 laps saw the ave speeds of 39, 43 and 44 respectively, but although I didn't fall behind I didn't have the legs to make ground.
I ended up coming 6th which I was pleased with for my first ever race and although I had read about 100 times before today about being in the right position at the end it really hit home after experiencing it. Had I known the pack would take off at the bell I would have tried to stay up near the front (as I knew we were close to hitting the final 3 laps).....but you can't buy experience and I learned alot today.
I also did the Latte Laps skills session beforehand (run by Rob Crowe), which was absolutely fantastic. Looking back on lap times of the skills session vs the race my ave speed was 0.8 km/h faster in the skills session (32.8 vs 32), which I thought was funny (even though the race was controlled at a slowish speed for the first several laps).
I can easily see how one can get addicted to this...
2012 Felt F75 | 105 | ProLite Braccianos | GP4000S
B grade after a year off the bike. So, you either spent the time running up and down stairs, or you are the genetic "supreme being"? Either way, sounds like a stellar ( ) effort.
I ride, therefore I am.
...real cyclists don't have squeaky chains...
I was a year of the bike januari 2012 till januari 2013, and started just 3 weeks ago with riding again. Luckely the body has a "memory". After just one week I noticed progression allready and the last 2 weeks rode some decent amount of km (about 300 a week). But there is a huge difference between just riding or racing. Lucky I am quite skilled in riding in a peloton, makes a huge difference!
Hopefully can make the jump to A grade still this season, else the training in the winter will pay off for next season.
Thanks to all for the positive words!
Giving me hope, well done on the quick return. Out of curiosity what level were you racing at before your year off?
PDCC D Grade Criterium
24 Feb 2013
Can't corner, can't sprint, pretty lousy crit rider with a half decent motor is a fair description of me. Racing my least favourite circuit with two corners that cause me trouble, a single lane 90 degree right hander, with no room for error and a hairpin that leads onto the uphill finishing straight, I had no great expectations and a simple plan, keep my head down, stay in the front half of the pack and see what happens in the end. And to top it off it was windy as usual at the Motorplex, a 20kph gusting to 30kph South Easterly, which meant you were riding in a crosswind for almost all of the exposed course except a short downhill section and headwind for the finishing straight. Add to that 21, one of our biggest fields of the season for D grade it was going to be an "interesting" race for me
As we rolled up to the start, a friend who just finished C grade told me "whatever you do, stay on a wheel". I rolled out at the head of the pack, after being caught out last time I raced here with early attacks. I got through the first corner on the front and waited to see what was going to happen and they all slowed and bunched up. So I sat on the front at my own pace, keeping the group strung out, throwing in little digs, every now and then, accelerating hard out of a corner or up the main straight to make sure they worked. Occasionally a rider would attack, usually on the back straight, I never countered, kept on a steady pace and half a lap later after they found the wind on the finishing straight, they where back in the bunch.
After six laps of me sitting on the front, one of the stronger riders attacked, the bunch reacted, I settled in a little further down the peleton, to watch the show. Which at times was hard to follow, due to the number of riders spread over the course. There was a combined A & B grade (because the state crit championships was on elsewhere today), which had exploded scattering riders and there was a few D graders way off the back. I just made sure I was never far off the front of the dwindling group, when the bell rang, there was only 5 left, and the pace picked up dramatically. Slow out of the tight right hander, but I rode hard down the back straight, was back on well before the final corner. A little wider and slower than I hoped, in fifth but not far from the front, drove hard, past the young guy who had been off the front for a couple of laps, getting closer through the final kink. Then the 1st two skipped away from me, as I sprinted with my muscles shaking from side to side to claim third by less than half a wheel.
I think similar to A grade over here. (Was racing in Europe)
Waratahs, Lansdowne, B grade.
After the mother of all deluges the night before, it wasn't at all clear we'd even be racing yesterday morning. I got there early, with the gear van. The ground was sodden and the air little better, although it wasn't actually raining. So we got out onto the track with brooms and shovel, and got to work. I also asked Max to ask everyone at sign-on to pick up some debris during their warm-up laps. A couple of them must have joined forced, as when I finally worked my way around to the finishing straight, the dead tree that had lain across the tarmac had been dragged aside. It was definitely a job needing more than two hands.
So finally, after about an hour, we got the first round under way. It was only about 15 minutes late. I got a coffee from Dave, the coffee van man, and took a breather.
When it was time for A and B to step up to the line, they were much less in number than usual. We had 12 in B grade; mostly Waratahs with several visitors. Optimists, the lot of them, to have made the trek to Lansdowne after the deluge. And now at least one would be rewarded.
We started cautiously. The surface was still gritty with a lot of detritus. The usual brief displays of bravado occurred for a few laps, all being reigned in, or collapsing, fairly quickly. I was feeling the weight of the "carb-loading" muffin that I'd had with my coffee, and perhaps also the impact of a solid hour on the broom, and was mostly just hanging in there.
After a while, clubman Paul shot away. We weren't about to chase such an impressive burst, leaving it to the few visitors to take up that challenge. After some tentative stretching out over the next couple of laps, all to no avail, his mate Brett suddenly burst out of the pack. Again, the Waratahs, canny old foxes one and all, let him have his head.
Well, Brett caught Paul, and there they sat, several hundred metres ahead. Although we couldn't see them through the wooded, winding sections, each time we entered the straight, there they would be, valiantly matching on.
I suppose others were thinking what I was thinking: ie, this wouldn't last. And of course, relying on that expectation meant it was easy to be noble and decide not to chase down our fellow club mates. If I am honest, I doubt I could have in any case.
As to what the Penrith and Central Coast riders were thinking, I'm not too sure. They both gave it several solid digs, but without success.
By the time it became obvious that the break was not faltering, it was getting too late to catch them. Personally, I started thinking about the sprint for third place. It seemed that today was a good opportunity to get back on the front foot with sprinting, after a few months of diffidently mucking around.
The bell came, and our remnant entered the usual jostling. I felt OK, but no more. Down the hill, swooping through the beautiful, shaded corners around the bottom, and then up to the start of the final climb, we stayed close, keeping an eye on each other. Any of us could have won the starring role in our supporting act, at that stage.
We set off up the short climb that finishes with a left-handed into the finishing straight. The straight is several hundred metres long, falling ever so slightly before kicking up over the last 30 metres. Usually, the sorting out happens in earnest once the lead bunch enters the straight, but it doesn't have to be that way.
So it was on this day. We were about 2/3 up the short hill. I was just watching the wheels, thinking that I was in a good position to kick when I judged the time to be right, when suddenly Gary K shot by on the right. He went past all if us and swept left into the straight, going at a very impressive speed.
I was boxed in, so I had to wait until we had also rounded the bend before I had the opportunity to jump. Gary was alone with still a few hundred metres to go. Sometimes a rider will falter in that position, unable to sustain the pace. But I felt that wasn't going to happen this time, so I hit the pedal hard and set off after him.
I went straight past the two or three riders who'd been in front of me. Into the wind, my heart racing, thinking, "I'm gunna catch this bloke". I gave it all I had, but I didn't seem to be gaining ground.
After a while, I heard that sound, just behind my shoulder. Unmistakeable. Someone gaining on me from the right. Was I slowing or was he just faster? I'm not sure, although I know what it felt like! I challenged him briefly, but quickly realised that too was in vain.
Now I was in 5th spot - the two breakaways nowhere in sight, and presumably on their way to the showers, Gary closing in rapidly on the line, my most recent assailant a couple of metres ahead on my right, and only seconds left. It was over. I had nothing left - no energy, no time. Just momentum, which I allowed to carry me on to my destination. One more rider passed me in the dying moments, and I crossed the line in 6th place.
Later, when I got home, Anne laughed when she saw me. She said I looked like I'd done Paris-Roubaix. I bent down to take off my socks, and saw what shd meant. The whiteness of my ankles only served to draw attention to the spray of grey muck up and down my shins. So everything went off to the wash - bike, clothes, rider.
Now they are all cleaned and shiny, ready to enter battle once more. I will not wait so long, next time.
2010 Charge Plug, 2011 Genesis Equilibrium 20, 2012 Felt F75, 2013 Giant TCR Advanced SL
Well, from all accounts StKilda Crits are about as good as it gets in Melbourne domestically (perhaps Tuesdays at Sandown are the same) with lots of NRS boys (and the odd Pro Tour rider) racing when they can. Amazing to be able to have that much time away and still stick with B grade. I'd love to see a picture of your bike as well. Amongst all the Carbon it must have been a great sight.
I ride several bicycles, but not at once.
You won't get a much better teacher locally than Crowie.
I ride several bicycles, but not at once.
Well Done Nicko, it must of been tough if the field dwindled down to 5. Don't see that too often in Crits.
I ride several bicycles, but not at once.
I've had a handful of races under my belt in C-grade over the last 6 mths, been competitive enough to get in the top 5 in each race as well as a prime here and there.
I was told I'd be OK in B-grade but I was reluctant until I had a win in C-grade... basically I wanted to earn my move into B-grade.
My local crit course is one built for sandbaggers, you either win on a breakaway which very rarely happens or you have a good sprint on you - I have an ok sprint but have come to realise its more of an endurance sprint, I do quite well over a long wound out sprints and will slowly real someone in.
So I racked up 2000km in Jan and headed back for another crack. On the day the track was still damp with allot of puddles all over the course which always results in a few crazy maneuvers from some riders, the last corner was damp throughout the race which meant you really needed to be in the top 3 hitting it, anything behind that would be tough with a barrage of messy braking and poor cornering amongst the bunch. Nothing too exciting happened in the first half, a few attempted breakaways but none strong enough or worked well together to stay out before the prime, the prime lap came up and with around 500m to go I dropped a couple of gears and hit it - jumping into last corner first and an open straight, head down, with 50m to go I glanced over my shoulder and realised I had it by a bit so sat up and rolled over for the prime - spent. The race continued on, someone jumped on the back of B-grade lasted a few laps then dropped back. I found my self in the top 5 for 2nd half the race, I didn't want to miss anything and had recovered well from the prime. With the PM I was setting a false sort of tempo when on the front not exerting too much. 3 laps to go and each lap saw the speed rise as per usual, the plan was to go at the same sweet spot and be in the top 3 into the last corner again, however I didn't get the first jump - a big solid bloke went first, me 2nd into the last corner, he was a perfect leadout but he only lasted about 200m and died soon as he hit the main straight so i had no choice but to go, head down again, the straight seemed to last forever. Waiting, watching for any shadows approaching. I thought to myself "where are they, they have to come soon?" and they did - but not quick enough, got it by half a wheel lunging the front wheel over the line. Prime & 1st stoked! So this training caper can help.
With a belly full of confidence I headed to my first B-grade race (35 riders) expecting to get my legs ripped off. This course has a couple of decent hills and a super wide surface all the way around, probably perfectly suited to my abilities - ok climber, ok sprinter, ok endurance and recovery. 1/3 of the way into the race and it started to bucket down, totally drenching everyone and the course. I didn't mind so much, I seem to do ok in the wet and with the last corner being a huge long sweeping down hill into a long 350m straight, some back off and some don't so I may have an advantage there. One breakaway attempted from what I remember but reeled back in before the prime lap. Into the prime lap and the pace went up, we approached the hill which then sweeps down onto the main straight, the inside opened up perfectly (what were they thinking) and I undertook around 5+ riders and attacked on the incline, pushing over the crest and pushing it down the wet sweeping corner. Sh*tting myself at the same time I back off for a few pedal strokes in fear of losing the front wheel, once straightened out it was head down again and into the finish straight - talk about looong, it went on and on, again waiting for someone to catch me but surprisingly they didn't, a mate was right on my wheel the entire sprint but said he didn't have enough to go around so that was a nice little ego boost. But I was well and truly knackered. Nothing much happened until we had a about 5 laps to go, a couple of breaks went and got reeled back in, I did a fair bit on the front and with a few laps to go we got mixed in with c-grade a bit and I found it a tad confusing figuring out who to chase or not. Into the last lap and I was intending to still have a crack, there were riders all over the shop still and as we approached the last hill I eased up a fraction to save the legs for an attack on the crest, but somehow found myself 2nd or 3rd last and my mate yelling at me to get on the wheel as I unknowingly slid back. I can only assume a heap had dropped out to find my self at the backend. I crested the hill to see riders far, far ahead but its a long way to the finish so I cranked it and was really moving, passing a load of riders who had all but started to roll to the finish. With 200m to go I was really motoring, my mate was on my wheel again but he didn't have enough to go around again, I rolled over in 5th. Another 100/200m and I would have been close going by my closing speed. So, pretty chuffed with a prime and a strong diesel train 5th finish in my first B-grade race.
My new companion:
It was pretty typical on the day, none of the 5 races, juniors, E, D, C or A+B finished with a big group. C got 7 of the 14 starters finishing together but that was it.
It is not unusual for packs to break up on this course which is exposed, windy and with a couple of technical corners.
That said, D grade lap times was as fast as the only time we raced here without a howling wind. So the pace was on and we sent a rider off the back, almost every lap from the 4th to the 15th and final lap, losing a couple more when there was a dig on the 10th lap (access to the timing charts makes interesting analysis)
Looks like I am going to have to improve my race reporting after great reports from MREJ & Crawf
Metor congrats on your quick return to form. A Dutch friend who raced crits in Melbourne last year, commented on the amount of top end equipment Australians (and Americans) raced compared to back home. So your trusty 24 year Repco would of definitely stood out. Been racing almost a year seen two steel bikes raced, my first race was on a 25 year steel frame, but with 10 speed 105 and one of the TT riders I race uses an early 90s steel framed TT bike.
Thanks Nickobec! Its good to be back
True about the top end of the equipment. In The Netherlands you don't see high end bikes on races. They simply say: "don't race on sunday what you can't replace on monday". So most riders have a high end bike for the coffee rides and Grandfondo's and a second one for racing crits, cobbles, city to city races, etc.
In Europe you only see everyone on a high end bike at a Granfondo because of the mountains there is less risk of crashing (in a peloton). And most people train for many months to compete and get a good result in those though races. So every bit of help for the morale is welcome
There was definitely a whole lot of plastic around at SKCC!
i'd suggest an important reason why we have more spendy bikes is the relative strength of our dollar. for every $2 we spend on a bike, they spend $1 funding the retirement of a 50 yr old southern european (i made that up).
Finally a race to report after last weeks cancellation due to snow... a toasty 3 degrees and 3pm yesterday, it felt cold though and I have never raced in long knicks and heavy gloves before but I got the clothing right as I was neither hot nor cold.
About 40-45 rolled out, 1st lap was slow with one guy going a long off the front, but at the end of the 9km lap there is a draggy 1.2km climb and we reeled him in, 2nd lap was pretty stop start as well and I was hanging too far back. So of course the break went on the 3rd lap and we said goodbye.
No one was motivated or organized to chase, I just turned it into some hard training and did some long turns on the front, felt pretty good once I had warmed up. I wasn't too bothered about the break going away as I didn't really want to mark any points in my first B grade race with out handicap ( unless it was for the solo win of course ). At the start of the last lap, about 55 ks in we weren't that far behind the break and there was a slight upping in pace but it was all too late.
Time for some sprint practice, something I have so far neglected this year , got a good spot and about 400 m out from the finish just before the steepest part of the climb it bunched up and there was some touching of the brakes, good a time as any to go right... long 400m uphill sprint from a slow start is hardly my forté but I managed to hold all but 1 off. We finished about 50 meters behind the breakaway.
Pretty easy race but I still felt it for the first of the season, only averaged 36 which I thought was pretty slow, but A grade only averaged 37.1 so not so bad... last years A grade race that I got dropped in averaged 39.6. Maybe the cold and wind in the wrong places slowed it down.
Anyway all good fun .
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