Calga 50km – C grade
Nice and sunny in the morning, but a stiff cold breeze and some rain greeted us in the afternoon. C was off at a decent pace and i was happy hiding in the pack for the first lap. In the second lap i rode in the first 5 positions all the time, waiting to go with an attack before blood hill. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and the attack on blood broke the bunch up. Came 7th or 8th in the sprint. Not a bad ride considering the weather.
No idea of speed and time as my computer died.
i assumed beaumond road was washed out, so didn't go.
3rd ever race and 1st TT. Wasn't sure what my strategy was going in, was a little concerned about either going too hard or going too easy. My previous fastest solo ride had been 30-30.5km/h which I'd done 3 times over about 30kms, and my fastest group average was last weeks race at 35km/h. I was hoping for 32/33km/h considering it was only 19kms and a slightly flatter course then my normal rides, although still quite a rolling course, definitely not flat.
Once I took off I decided I'd try to keep my HR over 165 and under 175. I think this really helped me focus and keep rhythm, not working too hard uphill but not slacking downhill either. By the halfway mark I had clear road ahead of me as I'd caught and passed the 3 people who started before me (30 sec intervals), but the guy that started behind was really close, maybe 10secs behind. I revised my target HR for 170-180 (the highest HR I've ever seen ever is 184) to keep the pressure up and tried to keep ahead of the guy behind me, who was closing quickly on the hills but I would regain distance downhill and on the flat. On the last hill about 3kms out from the finish he overtook me at the top but I was feeling pretty good so I pulled out and shot off in front of him, knowing that was the last real climb and I should be able to escape for home. Worked hard to get home but it was pretty much downhill and I really wanted to keep ahead of everyone else, which I ended up doing by probably 20 seconds. Once I slowed down a bit I nearly coughed up a lung, quite strange seeing as I was fine when riding but whatever. Once I settled down I checked my computer... 34.3km/h avg. Pretty stoked!
Results aren't up on the website yet but I'd guess this puts me probably around 19-20th of the 25 that raced today. So lots of room for improvement still but very satisfying seeing progress already. All in all a great day, loved oogling over some of the flash TT bikes the quick guys had. I can't see myself affording more than one quality bike anytime soon but I'll be tempted to get a aero bike for my next upgrade just because I think they really cool.
Next week is a 70km HC race at a town about 1.30hrs away (Inverell), so that should be fun, keen to see what a longer race and bigger event is like. I think I'll just be very happy to finish that one clinging on to any group, but should be a good learning experience regardless.
ACT Vets handicap Gunning 48km
Course is fairly flat with a few short not-too-steep hills with the longest and steepest being at the finish (about 1km long, not sure the gradient but well in single figures).
Weather was fine but a bit cloudy with a slight breeze, temp was about 12 degrees.
56 riders all up incuding a tandem. Lower grades started first at I think 3 minute intervals. Because there were only 4 A graders the race organiser let them have only a 2 minute gap from B grade (my grade).
So B grade took off, downhill for the first km. NB immediately sprints off for a solo breakaway and then 2 others join him, leaving me on the front of the rest of the bunch (about 8 riders I think). I decided to try and bridge the now ~300m gap to the breakaway riders which I did but without any help from the others in my bunch. This became a familiar theme but wasn't as bad as last race. It took a bit longer than I was expecting/hoping to bridge but I managed to do it without expending too much energy but unfortunately had dragged the rest of the bunch up as well.
We continued on with a paceline of sorts going for a while but with some confusion as to whether to roll off to the left or right. While the bunch was deciding what to do I snuck off the front in a solo break for a while but after a short time they caught me again - as I fully expected them too.
Then my main nemesis got a spectacular sounding puncture just as I was on his wheel which unsettled me a bit and others in the bunch. He kept it upright and pulled over to fix it while the rest of us kept going. We started catching riders from lower grades. One C grade rider JP jumped in with us and worked with us all the way to the end.
Got up to the turnaround just after Breadalbane and I was third wheel. Turns are supposed to be neutral and people near the back kept yelling out to ease up even though we were only soft pedalling and after 30 secs or so of this the lead guy had the sh!ts with all the yelling and dropped the hammer. I was still feeling surprisingly fresh but was concious that there was still ~20km to go so didn't want to use up too much energy so tried not to go near the front for too long.
Not long ater A grade caught us and much to my annoyance the guys at the front of our bunch made no attempt to stay with them or get on their wheel. For some reason the A grade boys then seemed to sit up allowing our bunch to bridge and merge with them.
We continued along as a larger bunch and then caught C grade and most of them stayed with us and we formed a big bunch that got even larger when we caught more of the lower grades. The A graders and stronger B graders would attack a bit on the roller hills in an attempt at popping off the lower grade ridrs but most of them stayed on because of the large pack dragging them along.
One of the B grade guys NB sprinted down the inside of the bunch and made a break off the front. Even though I've riden this course probably a dozen times I always get confused where the finish is and when I saw NB go I thought the finish was close and so did the same as him and sprinteddown the inside and bridged to him. Unfortunately, realising I was on his wheel, he then sat up which allowed the rest of the bunch to bridge and then pass. All that energy wasted for nothing. Luckily we were actually still a few kms from the finish so I managed to sit in the bunch and recover.
Then we finally got to the bottom of the finish hill and I was about mid pack, not in a good position, but as it turned out not in a terrible one. As the hill went up and on riders started dropping off but I was still feeling strong but unsure how strong and for how long. By now I was in about 10th position and the front guys started sprinting with the finish in sight about 500m up the hill, The guy next to me started sprinting so I reacted and after about 50m he popped as did another couple of riders but I was on a good wheel but couldn't out accellerate him, just hope that I didn't blow up and he did. Turned out neither of us did but I reckon if the finish was another 100m further I might of beaten him. Maybe. Ended up with 5th place which was a solid result. Another B grader won, followed by 3 A graders and then me (B).
Date: 08 June 2013
Grade: D - 28km
Result: 2nd from 13.
So I haven't done one of these in a few weeks, after moving up from E into D grade then having a few weeks off the bike resulted in some pretty poor form. My goal today was just finish, and hopefully in the group. So we set off and the first lap is quick, with a few trying to break off but always someone willing to chase them down. I just hovered around the group, didn't really pull any turns or try to catch any breaks as I just wanted to finish in the group this week.
We come into the final lap with no one willing to attack as every single one has been reeled in and its become clear any attack isn't going to stick. There is one particularly hairpin on the course where I normally struggle to hold the wheel and have to sprint to catch back up cause its a good place to gain a bit of ground. This week I decided to sprint down to the turn and get around it first and then sit up and join back into the group. We round the hairpin, and I'm not struggling to catch up to anyone which is a nice change and the group is a wide as the road taking it easy, no one wanting to lead or try and break with a couple of km's left.
That doesn't last long and we are back going hard, strung out in a long line and I'm sitting about middle of the pack. The final two turns and I'm about 4th back, just waiting. One of the larger guys jumps at about 600m to go and I pull in behind another guy not willing to chase him from that far out and sure enough he pops well before the line. Its now about 200m to go and the guy I'm drafting doesn't seem to be up to a sprint so I attack and I'm leading, however someone comes around to the left and passes me I jump back onto his wheel before making one final attempt to jump out of his draft and pull into first but I don't just have enough and miss first place by half a length and third was about the same distance back from me.
A good result this week that extra time I've been putting on the bike seems to have paid off.
Avg Speed: 36.8 km/h
Avg Heart rate: 190
Good one kirky, sounds like you'll be in for more results soon.
ACTVCC Gunning Handicap
Same race as Ross but from the other end of the performance curve.
I was riding the tandem with John and caused grief with the marshals by electing to ride E grade rather than F grade. Our climbing has been improving so we haven't been riding F for the last couple of weeks, the handicapper just hasn't caught up with us yet.
I can confirm that G grade started with a 10 minute gap to F who had another 8 minutes to E. I don't know about the other gaps but I knew we wern't going to hang around waiting for them.
We went into the race expecting to ride E grade and we needed a plan. Even though our climbing is improving we are still a fair way behind the next worst E grader, however we time-trial well and go downhill as fast as anyone. (even on a half-tandem I climb like a wrought-iron hanglider)
The course is as per strava and starts with a 2km descent, followed by a 10km climb a short descent then another 10km on the flat to the turn and then the reverse. Whilst lithe climber types have suggested that the course is pretty flat and that they never get out of the big ring, the same doesn't hold true for those in the lower grades and we made good use of our middle chainring. The first hurdle is the climb at 3-4km and the next from 4.5-5km, I've been dropped on these before and a 42km ride by yourself is not much fun.
The terrain of this course does a number of things, the climb to the finish pretty much sorts out the wheat from the chaff which means that the faster riders needn't have too much fear of picking up a 'sprinter' from the lower grades who will contest the finish. This means that the bunches tend to coalesce into a peloton, at least until the start of the final climb. From our point of view on the heavy tandem (215 - 220kg) our best part of the race would be from the top of the range onward. Unfortunately this presented a problem, as if we started the climb with our bunch, we'd lose too much time to be able to chase back on for the descent and a working bunch would likely be able to hold us off on the flat.
Despite the conventional wisdom to keep a bunch together in a handicap, our plan was to break away from the word go and try and build up a lead so as to minimise our losses to the high point and then be able to work with the group for the rest. The plan worked almost perfectly. We picked up a klingon for the first descent 'Terry' who proceded to work/wait with us up the first rises, we were caught and passed by the bunch but we were only about 30 seconds behind at the top. We managed to pick them up just at the bottom of the short descent just before the little hill that preceded the flat part. This is where the plan went a little astray. I was expecting the bunch to simply grab our wheel as we came past (it was on a little rise after all) and that we would simply be a working bunch for the next 15km at least. However we'd only managed to pick up two Terry and Liz and by the time I'd realised that we were already a working group.
This was now our good bit, John and I did the bulk of the work with Terry and Liz chipping in when they could and we drove on at high speed (by E grade standards) to the turn. Coming the other way we could see that G grade had shattered and there was only 1 survivor ahead of a sizeable group containing F grade and the remnants of G and that they weren't far ahead of us. We turned and chased as hard as we could and had the lead car in sight by the poplars. We were starting to feel good about our chances for the race. Going back up the climb to the top of the range, the lead group had split in half, Terry and Liz rode away from us, although I was sure that we'd reel them in on the descent and we were just trying to climb as best we could.
Then our race ended, the A grade led megabunch caught us while we were still going up, and went straight past us. The bunch had representatives of all grades, including our E grade compatriots tacked onto the back. Fortunately they didn't have more than about 10 seconds on us at the top and we were able to chase back on in the first part of the descent (did I mention that we go downhill fast?). To do so we rode through the rest of E grade who were on their way off the back never to be seen again.
We stayed on the back of the bunch up a small climb and then then went to the front and drove the bunch down the fast bit, partly to be at the front of the bunch for the little pinch that was about to come, partly to try and string the bunch out as it went past the F grade leaders, but mostly because we could. Despite being at the front, we were unhitched briefly up that pinch, but we chased back on to be safely in the bunch at the bridge which marks the start of the finish climb.
I was quite content to watch the bunch detonate as it went up the hill, they crossed the line in ones and twos.
We finished about 40th with our fastest average as a pair of 33km/h and having the joy of riding in the fast bunch for 10km or so. Pretty happy with that.
Next week is another handicap with a flat start for the first 10km, at least this time we'll be able to ride with our bunch for a while, and hopefully teach the others how to hold a wheel like Terry and Liz.
Quickie for me... I enjoy reading the long ^^^ ones though .
Rode over to a race today... Nice 35k warm up into a headwind. Once I arrived the rain started coming down pretty heavily. Pinned on a dossard and off we went. Small field of about 30 I think... Looking at the weather report would have put a fair few off. At least it was not too cold as I had left home in summer kit.
Off we went... Pretty flat 5 k loops... 16 all up to do. I had not had time to pre ride the circuit... No biggie but must say I was surprised by the state of the back section... We can race on pretty poor roads but this had to be the worst. First corner someone was off into the poison ivy. We might has well been riding on gravel!.
I ain't going to lie... Last year on this weekend on a hilly course in similar conditions I ripped the bunch to shreds... Today wasn't like that!.
But 3 laps in there were 2 about 400m off the front fighting the wind and rain. One guy in chase potato mode and me trying the same about 100 m behind him. That went on for a lap until one of the two up front punctured ( about the 3rd I has seen by then ) ... That's when the guy in front of me joined up with leader... They dangled in front of my by about 150-200 m with the bunch about 400 behind me. That went on for about 10ks but I wasn't bringing them back.
By the then the storm was in full swing which I was loving... The course was flooding for about 400m.
Anyway I sat up knowing it wasn't working and drifted back to the bunch. Only got one lap in till my rear tub exploded . So rode the 3 k's back to where my bag was and changed over to my spare. Got to see about 2 more laps with the break holding about 45 secs with 15 to go.
But by then I was getting pretty cold so I headed home not seeing the finish.
Good training ... Next weekend will be fun, even though I will probably have 3 days in the laughing group.
C Grade, West Head, MWCC, 9 June 2013
Placing: rolled in with the peloton. The course is up a 3 km 5% hill, to West Head Rd, 22 km out and back undulating, for two full laps, before a final turn and 1 km back to the finish.
So in spite of everything, I remain of the view that a break can win at West Head. Over the years I've tried several different ways to break the C grade bunch up at West Head. Including going away up the climb from Akuna. Going a bit better recently in the past (lighter and faster), I had resolved to try again yesterday. I'd resolved to sit in until I was ready to go. Despite the course, there are only a few places to make a break stick, but I had one or two points in mind where I was going to try. Things do not always work out as planned, however.
The MWCC riders were in a separate bunch, the race was entirely made up of other clubs. Also, they had started the women's A Grade race 2 minutes ahead of us, so they could join in our bunch when we caught them, but they would be racing amongst themselves. OK.
So what really happened was this. We started with 30 - the race started steady up the climb from Akuna. Not fast. I'm about 5th wheel. About 1 km into the race, a guy in SUVelo kit comes round (Nick, his name is). I roll onto his wheel, and we are going at a good pace. After a couple of hundred metres I look around, it's just the two of us. Despite some misgivings, I do some work, he is going stronger, but we keep at it, and it starts to get hard. We turn onto West Head Rd, over that bump, then past the line for the first time, and into the race proper. And we caught Women's A Grade. In 13 minutes we had made up those two minutes. Would they work with us, were they even allowed to? Well, they did. Nick was going very well up hills. I tended to take over on downhills and flat sections, making sure we kept the speed up, we were charging around and the first lap was very fast. But four of the women stayed with us for the duration, and there were substantial portions where there were 4 or 5 of us rolling through. And by the second lap, the women were climbing stronger than me, and almost as strongly as Nick.
At the first turn at the northern end we had a big lead, I guessed almost a minute. But I almost got dropped the first time up the wall, I was really suffering. At the southern end it was more, my estimate was a minute 20. And again, I had to give it everything to stay with them coming up from the turn away from the Akuna Bay Rd.
As is normal in these situations, we slowed down a bit on the second lap. Not really noticeably, probably just a sense that despite being under severe strain I wasn't quite about to get dropped. Last time out to the northern end, I thought we still had a minute. The bunch was big though, 30 riders. A bunch of 30, really going for it, can track down a much smaller bunch. Coming back, by this time me and Nick are doing nearly all the work. The women have tested each other out, they are in their own race, and I think they know they aren't easily going to drop one another. The race is, can Nick and I hold off the main bunch? As a result we are doing most of the work by now. Generally, Nick going uphill, and me flat and downhills.
We hit the 2 km drag back past the finish line and Nick skips away, I can't go with him, I am cramping. I can keep a decent pace, but no way I can chase him down. The women are sitting on me. Past the finish area (3 km to go) I am still on the front. I didn't look back once during this past of the race. But to no avail. At the bottom of the bump just before the Akuna Rd, I can hear them. They get me halfway up the hill, I'm cramping and spent, my race is over. But going down the turnaround, Nick still has about 10 seconds. I don't see the finish, but he held them off by about 10 metres. One of the women was fourth across the line. I roll in with the bunch.
Looking at strava comparisons with some of the guys in the bunch, Nick and I took 40 seconds out of the bunch up the first hill, another 20 seconds heading north to the first turnaround, we pretty much held them heading south, took another 10 seconds out of them heading north again, and yes, they caught the whole lot up on the way back. The first lap was a strava PR by 40 seconds, and I have done this race many times since they started turning down at the Akuna Bay Rd. My second lap was 1'20" slower than the first. The bunch was still pretty much together when they caught up, more than 20 riders still in it. They probably dropped ones and twos but there was no signficant split.
Strava link is here http://app.strava.com/activities/59119680. I spent basically the whole race close to the edge, and hit the red zone (above 180 bpm) on 22 separate occasions. I've raced on the edge like that in short criteriums on flat courses, but doing that in hilly terrain out at West Head is a new experience. It's tough to work hard out the front all day and come away with nothing, but the guy I broke with won the race, and deserved to.
Rogan, thanks for the report - interesting read.
I was in your race but was somehow oblivious of your break away until the very end. I arrived on the line 2 minutes before the start, no warm up, and sat at the back heading up the Akuna hill. Sounds like you really deserved a place with that effort! Four us made a very weak attempt at a break at the end of the first lap. We only got about 150m up the road from the bunch. A lot of the more experienced riders were cracking it over the slow pace of the first lap. Wasn't many people willing to take a turn on the front.
Would love to join you in the break next month - will be keeping a keener eye out for an opportunity. Sounds like you really need 4-5 people willing to work for a break to stay away.
Calga - 50km C grade – 8/6/13
Warm in the morning, but when racing time came, it was a bit chilly and windy. Small bunch today, but that doesn’t make it any easier. On the way out in the first lap i found myself and another rider with a small gap. We decided to push on as it was a small bunch and if no one wants to work the break can stick, even if there is another 45km to go. Unfortunately we’re not Cancellara and the bunch did work to keep us in sight. After 10’ or so we sat up. After that a flurry of attacks came, some crazier than the other and again i found myself in a 2 man break before the turn around in the second lap. I was again reminded that i’m not Cancellara. We got caught and i decided now to sit in the group. My break away companion had another crack a it and left us a couple of km’s before Blood Hill. We caught him and Blood did its usual thing, breaking the bunch up. I responded to a rider’s acceleration on Blood and went over the top in his wheel establishing a small break. For the next 3-4 kms we both rode our little hearts out, the bunch cracked and failed to catch us. At the finish line i proved to be the strongest. Beautiful, sweet victory.
Webby - thanks for that. Breaks are hard to organise in advance. The course is testing, which means the one or two times it has been tried, the conspirators do not all feel up to it by the agreed time. You have to give it everything, or you get shut down in no time. And trying to get away going up from Akuna is nuts!
But yes, 4-6 riders could stay away, especially if they were in the top third of the field, and I am definitely still keen to try. Closer to next month we should have a chat by private message, if you're keen.
Rogan - great read! After doing that C grade west head race a few weeks ago and cracking just enough so that I could not contest the sprint (around 6th place or so) its good to read those stories of suffering from other people!
awesome reports guys. Loved them all.
Well done filip, sounds like a hard fought win. It is interesting to hear what it is like to break away from other going up hill. Not something I ever have to worry about.
I ride several bicycles, but not at once.
Date: 15 June 2013
Venue: Calga - Central Division Graded Championships
Grade: E - 25km
The Central Division Graded Champs were on and figured why not head down the coast and give Calga a ride it might be nice to have a few hills unlike Kooragang. Get there nice and early and do a drive over the course and it seems nice no large holes and pretty smooth road for the most part. The pre race strategy, was basically hang in there for the first half recover coming back and attack up Blood Hill, then solo it home.
The race starts and I notice my heart rate monitor isn't working, sort of sucks but I flick it over to distance as really only gauge on where things are on this course. We are going an ok pace but nothing very quick, certainly not what I'm used to where everyone takes off from the start at a million miles per hour which it suits me just fine. The small hills and rises certainly make it a bit more interesting and I'm sitting back 3 or 4th spot trying to draft as best I could waiting. I thought an attack was definitely was going to come and all the old masters would reel them back in for sure. But it never did, I'm not sure if it was the grade was made of mainly CCCC riders, or that they are used to riding 50km not 25km and where anxious to go early on a course like this.
We round the half way and it is mainly slight down hills and few small rises and I'm feeling in good shape from not really having to put the hammer down on the first half and drafting nicely. The wind is no coming from our right shoulder and going off to the left, so I move onto the inside of a few blokes getting out of the wind as it was quite gusty up on some of the ridges. Lucky coming from Kooragang used to the wind and I'm sure that helped.
We get to the bottom of Blood and I think the group is mostly still there, not wanting to be the first to attack and pop before the top I wait and we are setting an alright pace I feel. One little attack comes which is quickly gathered in, then another who I jump on his wheel and accelerate around. Over the top and I'm leading with a gap of perhaps 100m, I look a back a few times and the seem to be a fair bit back. Feeling ok and not to smashed from the climb I'm riding relatively hard but not wanting to pop still a few km out from the finish and get spat out the back.
Then I'm caught be 3 other riders who have lost the rest of the field, I jump in behind them to regather my breath and legs before the final sprint. With what must of been 1km to go one of the riders peels off the front and tells the other to go, I jump on his wheel but he is going so fast I doubt I can get past him. But knowing surely he can't hold for the km I finally come around him and over the line, piping him by what must of been 1/2 a wheel if that.
Final result was 1st, from around 20 riders in E grade. One of the other riders was less then impressed by me moving up the inside to get out of the wind a few times, yelling at me during the race. Suffice to say he had a few more words when I won but hey I came for a race and a strategy in mind and well it didn't go quite exactly to plan it broke up the field and tired them out enough so I could still win.
Avg Speed: 32.5 km/h
Secret Handicaps - The New S&M
Dog Trap Road Secret Handicap - ACT Vets
So, the idea is a group start, but your finish time has to be a set time ahead of lower grades to win, or vice versa for lower grades. No one knows the handicap times except the race referee. Tactically, this is the most brutal form of racing imaginable unless you can drop all lower grades in a short amount of time and maintain gaps. If you go too slow, you risk lower grades beating you on count back. If you go too hard, you risk towing other riders from neighbouring grades to the line. Nothing short of a brutal breakaway within your grade will win the day, and then its a fight within the grade for line honours.
This is the breakdown. Plenty of riders in all the grades from A2 to G. Only two on the start line in A1. The two of us have a tough task ahead. There are about 10 or so in A2 and some of the B graders probably shouldnt be in B... as it turns out.
Neutral start for 500m before it is all on. As soon as the flag goes down I attack hard knowing there are about 30 A and B riders hot on my wheel. 20sec later I hear a massive bang as one of the riders get a blowout. What a bummer. A 45 minute drive only to have a mechanical in the first minute of the race. I push on without too much consideration. Its 4kms to the turnaround and I stay on the front for about 3kms, then we turn and start the 11km run out to the B turn. As we cross the start line I see who it was that blew out. It was the other A1 rider. Now it is me vs everyone and the pace is high enough to allow A2 to hang on, but not high enough to drop them.
There are really only 3-4 people taking turns other than me. A couple of A2's, a B grader that should be in A (ex-A grader until a spell off the bike and now on the return) and my allies on the tandem (a very strong pairing). The tandem takes the bulk of the remaining work relieving me after long turns in the wind, but the B grade guy comes through and stays on their wheel forcing me off line and stealing my place in the line. After a few times, I tell him to get out and do some work. I know its not in his interest to work cos if he stays with A, he wins. But to follow the train through and force workers out of the pace line is lame and was dealt with accordingly.
The tandem is an interesting proposition. Where it has a natural advantage is where single bikes tend to relax and have some respite before the next attack, so there was never down time. Each time I eased up the tandem would fly past down the hill and I would have to chase hard, sometimes waiting to become unboxed before mounting a chase, towing the rest along.
The run back from the B turn has a long gentle climb so I test the legs of the rest and open up a couple of hundred metre gap which I maintain for about 5kms with an A2 rider before the tandem tows them back on. It wasnt a serious attack, so I care not knowing it is an option on lap 2. The race continues the same way until we get to the B turn again.
I hit the climb with sore legs but still eek out a 200m gap which I again hold onto for 5kms, only 2 kms from the finish. The 3 chasers catch up with me so I attack again, opening up a 30m gap but my legs are sore and the close it down within a kilometre of the finish. I get left on the front but have the sun behind so I can watch for moves. One starts to my left and I get out of the saddle and match him before he comes past. Its status quo again but at a higher pace. The attack starts again and we sprint hard. We get time on the guys behind, but its a dead heat between us. He is on the inside and there is a left turn and my legs are just about cooked. I had already resigned myself to being pushed down the results table by the handicap, but I still wanted the win for some comfort. There is nothing in it but I cant find enough to come around. I am not a sprinter, but then he can climb too. As we cross the line, his wheel creeps about half a wheel-length in front.
Second on the road, then, but relegated to 10th after handicaps. I could whinge about being the only A1 rider and how A grade should have been combined in the absence of a decent A1 bunch or complain about the B grader who should be an A grader. But at the end of the day, this was a hell fun race. It was amazing watching the tactics unfold everywhere and having to recalculate on the fly after trying things or having new situations eventuate. Flipping hard work and I felt like spewing for about an hour afterwards. Now its time for barley risotto and a beer. Tired.
44.9km, 508m climb, 39kmh av.
My report from same race as Mr Golf. The first 500m or so was neutral behind the course pace car then when the race started...it freaking started. A smashfest where Mr Golf and his A grade mates attempted to blow the bunch to bits. I was keeping up ok, working hard but keeping up when it felt like my rear tyre was going flat so I pulled off to check but it was a false alarm. By this time the hitters had all dissappeared into the distance and I was near the rear of the pack.
I decided to just ride as hard as I could for as long as I could and see what happens and how long I could go until I blow up. Having left my Garmin at home I had no data to tell me how hard or fast I was going. This was probably just as well as I would of been anerobic for the first 10km and around LT or just above for the rest of the race.
I could see ahead that there were now 2 main bunches with quite a few stragglers of the back of them. I continued my TT and eventually caught up to a small bunch of mainly B graders. Rode past them in a vain attempt to chase the A bunch and put what thought was a good distance between me and them but they caught me again a few hundred metres before the last turnaround. I thought my race was over then but rolled down to the turnaround off the back of the bunch and had my only rest of the race (for a whole 300m!).
After the turnaround there is a longish but not too steep hill and knowing hills are my strong point I soloed it off the front and attrempted to chase down a straggler that must of come off the back of A. I had put some good distance between myself and the B bunch and was gaining on the solo guy in front. I caught him about 1km from the finish and was tempted to just keep going at my TT pace but knew that he would just sit on my wheel as he was too strong for me to drop. I hate being a wheelsucker so I just rode beside him. We were going at a (percieved) slightly reduced pace to what I had been doing so this was good as far as I was concerned. We came to the little bridge that is about 500m from the finish and my riding buddy had drifted back onto my back wheel. I knew what was coming and I still had some legs to contest a sprint (even for 12th place) so I decided to get it over and done with and made the first move. Unfortunately I picked the wrong gear (to easy) and he started getting away. Then I was drifting on to the wrong side of the road with I think the only car I'd seen all race heading for me so I had to slow down and get on correct side of road and then I just sat up because I no longer had a chance.
Sat 15/6 – Calga Central Division Graded Championship – 50km – C grade
I never raced a CD race before but was told not to worry as at CD you always race a grade lower than your normal club grade, unfortunately for me that was not the case and i was put in C. There i was joined by all my B grade buddies. I was a bit nervous about it, and looking at the guys from the other clubs i ought to be.
Of we went, on our merry way. The first attack came on the first hill and broke the bunch into 2. I was caught out in the second group and we had to chase a while to join the first group. The speed was up there, with frequent surging and people away in breaks. I was happy to be able to keep up in the bunch. By the time we came to Blood Hill the second time the legs were feeling it a bit. There was an attack but the rider couldn’t sustain it and was caught. Normally i ride Blood on the big chain ring, but now ¾ up i needed to put it in the small ring, and I danced my way up (kind of). It sounds beautiful, but the reality was not as pretty. I stayed with the group, and the next 4 kms were again full pelt towards the finish line. I ended up finishing in the bunch. A HDCC rider took it out, and according the rumours, HDCC absolutely smashed it in most of the other races as well.
Avg speed 37km/h
Sun 16/6 – Beaumont – 45’ – C grade
Sunny, but cold at Beaumont Road early Sunday morning. Race was uneventful, luckily, as i don’t think i would have been able to do too much. The effects of hard racing the day before were still lingering. With 1 lap to go we were passed by A grade. We caught A grade just before the last turn around, and instead of sitting up for 30 sec and let us pass, or alternatively up the pace to A grade pace and ride away from us, we ended up completely mixed in with them for the remainder of the lap. They were even in the way for our sprint. A Manly rider took it i believe. Good race, just a pity of the mix up with A grade at the end.
Avg speed 35km/h
Pretty poor weekend racing for me.
Friday we had a hideous prologue with a 1 km climb with at least 500m averaging close to 9% ... yeah I don't do very well on efforts like that plus starting at 9.25pm didn't help... it was pretty dark 10 minutes later.
Saturday I got dropped at about an hour into a 102km stage with 1800m of climbing ( from a few peoples garmins... my iPhone always short changes me on climbing! )... to say I suffered after that to stay with in the 20 minute cut off time is an understatement... it was pretty pitiful.
Sunday I finished in the peloton on the morning stage... after the neutralized section we averaged 44kmph for 47km's. I actually had no issues on that stage but then there was only 350m of climbing. Although I did have to average 50kmph for 10k's after a front puncture... that did hurt.
In the afternoon it didn't go so well... 94kms with 1200m climbing, it was around 32-34c which after 7 or 8 months of winter is really hot!, hot enough for the roads to start melting here!. I got dropped at the start of a 2k climb averaging 7.5% after about 50 minutes... 1 climbed into the voiture balai 20kms later after continous vomiting and the start of cramps.
Sat morning there was 160 in the sign in... Sunday night only 110 finished.
No excuses... it's a climbers race, but I did ok last year... this year too heavy and not fit enough ( forgot I was sick all last week ), but we needed a team of 5 to have a follow car.
Pretty much, they got 2nd and 3rd in A grade, all placings in both B and C grade. However below that they didn't get any more placings. Some crafty handicapping perhaps or just the strongest/largest club in the Division.
Here is all the Results
Sam Hill is the best young cyclist I have seen in a long time. He is being looked after by my friends at Team Paradise. This kid is going to be a superstar in about 2 years time. Amazing talent.
Definitely, I didn't mean to take anything away from anyone but HDCC certainly dominated in the higher grades. Hopefully Paradise Investment can hang onto to him and get some good results in the NRS.
PDCC D Grade Serpentine, 15 June 2013
My first race and actually my first ride in three weeks. I had not fully recovered from the cold that had been hanging round for 6 weeks. My last couple of races had been affected by the cold, while I managed to stay with the pack until the end I had not energy to do anything at the finish. This week, just staying with the pack was main aim.
Driving out to the race, I spotted one of my fellow competitors riding out to the race, it was RedBull and with 20kms to go, I could of offer him a lift, but I thought, he was going to be nicely warmed up and less likely to launched an attack from the start.
My first ride in three weeks was a lap round the triangular course. Gull Road is 4km of the roughest road surface I have raced on, and narrow to. I like it, and is probably my favourite to launch an attack from. Today it had a tailwind, which would of made it a good place for me to go on the 5th and final lap. You turn sharply into my least favourite leg Rapids Road which is less than 2km long, straight, good surface and exposed to the elements, which today was a strong crosswind. The final leg is Karnup road, 3km of good road, with a few twists so you never see the finish line or riders a couple hundred metres up the road, and today it was into a block headwind. Which made me change my plans, I did not think I could survive off the front for a full length of final leg. So if I had the energy at the end, I was going to fire off with about 800m to go, hopefully catch everybody by surprise and force my chasers to work as hard into the wind.
I was happy sitting on the front of the bunch of 13 as we turned into Gull Road for the first time, then RedBull after 15km of riding into that headwind to get to the race launched his attack. For a split second I was tempted to let him go, instead I just rode up to his wheel and sat there. Rob and a couple of other riders tried to set a fast pace along Gull Road, but it never really happened. One rider drove hard out of the corner into Rapids Road, I looked behind to see a split in the bunch. Unfortunately the pace at the front dropped, so I charged to the front to drive the first group and ended off the front, as everybody else just wondered what I was doing. So I slowed and lead the bunch down to Karnup Road and rolled down the back of the group, to see RedBull was already missing. He rode that far and did not even last a lap.
I settled into my usual position as ticket collector. With nobody wanting to put there nose into the wind and work, we meandered down Karnup Road and along Gull Road. This time as they swung onto Rapids Road a couple of riders put in an effort and I found myself off the back behind Mike. For the next kilometre, I rode back to the bunch with Mike on my wheel. The last 20m was taking forever to close, so I put in an effort, made it back to the bunch but that was the end of Mike.
Next lap exactly the same, nobody wanting to put there nose into the wind and work, we meandered down Karnup Road and along Gull Road, another much stronger effort out the turn onto Rapids Road and I was off the back behind Lara. Another solo effort to get back on, Lara was on my wheel one moment and gone the next. As we slowed down on Karnup Road, I knew I could not survive another effort like that and I would be the next one off the back.
This time up Gull Road, I moved up the bunch, there was a couple of little digs but nothing serious. With what I thought was 300m to Rapids Road I went to the front, and then I was off the front and some 800m later as I turned into Rapids Road I had a small gap. Instinct was to put in a good dig and try and extend the gap. I thought about the run along Karnup Road and settled down to threshold (ie time trial) pace, round the corner into Karnup Road, with a bigger gap and instinct said go. I did not, kept it at threshold. Some 3km later, about to cross the finish line and planning my next lap, I was caught by the bunch.
I did not know it at the time, but the bunch turned onto Karnup Road and slowed, it took a big effort from a couple of riders to pull me back, if I had listened to my instincts and pushed myself further up the road, at least one of those riders would not chased me down.
I turned onto Gull Road, put in a little dig but nobody was going to let me go a 2nd time. So I settled back as ticket collector and wait for the action to start. It took until a few hundred meters up Karnup Road, before the one rider tried to go off the front, he lasted a good distance, before being pulled back, a lull, another rider off the front, with the youngest rider on his wheel, that was pulled back with about 800m to go and then it exploded. I had no chance, my legs were done, I struggled to put down the power, but I still manage to pass a couple of riders to 6th place.
Overall happy with my performance, though maybe I should of listened to my instincts instead of playing it safe.
ACTVCC - Dog Trap Rd secret handicap.
Again the same race as Ross and mrgolf this time we were in E2 grade.
I don't know if the secret handicap is unique to Canberra, but I've only ridden them here. I think the only way to make them harder would be to start them with a gap between grades which would turn it into a team time trial with a sprint at the end.
There were 63 starters in the end, with the bunch formed in grade order. The way out to the southern turn is a gentle climb to what I was surprised to see on Strava was the high point of the race. The course in the other direction has more climbing but is interspersed with little descents. The highest point of the northern leg is before a 70km/h descent to the lowest point of the course at the northern turn. The heavy riders go well from the southern turn to the middle, from the northern peak to the turn, and from the northern peak back to the middle.
At the drop of the flag the elastic quickly stretched, then snapped. John and I were not far behind the fast folk but couldn't quite hang on to them, we did drag two others with us Liz (from last weekend, now in D) and Phil from E1. After the southern turn was the fast bit and with a couple of token contributions from the others John and I drove down the hill in pursuit of the stragglers from the fast bunch. We lost Phil just before we made contact with a group of 3 just before the hill started. Liz managed to hang with them for the rest of the way and put in what I reckon was the ride of the day to only get 7th. Groups formed behind and we were caught and passed by a group through the ups and downs before we returned the favour on the descent to the northern turn. They passed us again on the way back up but a couple of stragglers Angie and Russell were with us at the top. We then pretty much rode with them all the way out to the southern turn and back past the start/finish. Again through the ups and downs we were caught by a bunch of 5 including Phil, again we pulled away from them down the hill to the northern turn, this time with Angie in tow. And again (not surprisingly) we were caught and passed on the way back up the hill. Angie waited for us up that first hill and we would have been happy to work with her to the finish, but she failed to get onto our wheel at the top of the next rise and once out of the tow there was no return. We had our sights set on the rest of that bunch which had broken up.
I had the camera running but only got the last 15min, the highlights were only 2:46 of that though. I reckon the fatigue was taking effect with some poor decision making costing riders the opportunity to contest a sprint.
We were really pleased with our ride, though a bit disappointed that Liz didn't get up. It turns out that we were just outside the points in 11th on corrected time.
70.1 on the bike computer. I think they were 68.4 as well.
Ultimately we don't go downhill much faster than A grade, but it is significantly faster than our E grade competitors. Strava says I did this with 3 others, whose max speeds were 56, 59 and ...68.4km/h. I suspect that Ashley and Don had a number of acolytes down that hill. Only Angie was able to stay with us and used us to gain an advantage over that bunch of five. From the video, had she looked for our wheel a bit earlier (i.e. before we'd picked up speed) she would probably have stayed with us to the finish. Most of the others could have probably tagged along if they had the courage and concentration to stay close to us. (easier said than done at the end of a race).
We're looking forward to the downhill bits of the Lookout Hill - Tidbinbilla race on 6 July, there are some good descents out that way and corresponding climbs . May need to put this View item on for it.
(For those who can't look up eBay stuff at work it is a 24-54 quad crankset.)
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