PDCC North Dandalup Handicap
6 July 2013 North Dandalup
This race I described to others as a 5km climb, 20 kms of undulations to Dwellingup, turn round, 20 km of undulations back, followed by 5km of fast descending. I am not a climber, not that I can not climb, I just do not climb all that often. To be precise I have only done a two climbs of over 200m elevation. The first one being this race last year. So while I was not looking forward to 5km of climbing from the start, I was not worried by the prospect.
As it was a handicap, I was rewarded for my lack of results so far this season and placed in the 18 minutes of scratch with my "weaker" D grade colleagues. The better performed D graders were 6 minutes back, with a few C graders. With the bulk of C grade a further 2 minutes back.
In my group was Arthur and Frank. Arthur I raced with here last year, though we started together and almost finished together last year, we climb very differently and did not spend that much time in each others company. I was happy to have Frank in the group as he was one of the grades best performers at the recent Dwellingup handicap which I missed due to illness.
Shortly after we started, I rolled to the front to set what I thought was a good steady pace, that I was happy climbing at. There was always a shadow over my shoulder, so I kept riding at that tempo, thinking I was dragging the group uphill. After ten minutes, I swung off to get a breather, only to find it was Frank on my wheel and everybody else was back down the hill. I worked with Frank to crest the climb, then the first undulation on the climb out of the second undulation, I dropped my chain. I told Frank to go on, not knowing how long it would take to fix, just then Arthur and another rider came by and joined up with Frank. Took me all of 20 seconds to get my chain back on and I was chasing the 3. Don't push it to hard up the climb, you will get back on the descent I thought. Until I crested the climb and got hit in the face with a 30kph headwind.
Even though I am probably the most powerful than any of the 3 riders in front, I could not catch them into the headwind, they were taking turns to keep in from getting caught by pursuing riders.
My original plan B was to jump on the C grader bunch as the came past and stick with them. I know I can hang on the back of a C grade bunch on the flat, so hopefully I could do the same here. Mark and Cassia came past, I jumped on their wheel, I held on with out any issues, up a mild gradient, down a dip, but up the other side. It was obvious how they made up the 6 minutes in 20kms, far superior power to weight ratio, I was left trailing.
Turned around and started heading back, passing riders who started ahead of me and getting past by a pair of riders who started behind me. At this stage I was happy riding at my own tempo and was not tempted to grab a wheel, particularly as it was up hill.
Riding through a section of roadworks, which had gravel on the road, I was riding in the right wheel track, I heard "keep left". Assumed it was a certain D grader on the front of a small group shouting at me and swung left, to let them past. Instead, I almost took out the front of the scratch group, whose lead rider had shouted "on your left". A few heated words followed. The whole incident reinforced to me you should never shout left or right at the rider you are passing but inside or outside.
Tagged onto the back of the B grade bunch as they passed, but that lasted less than a kilometre, passed a few riders, got passed by a few riders, joined up with a C grader and was swapping turns, until on the final climb I managed to drop my chain again. This time it was frustrating slow to put it back on, I lost over a minute, as riders I past earlier, passed me.
Bombed down the hill, but did not manage to catch anybody unlike last year, but then nobody caught me. Ended up with cramp in my left calf, about 400m from home, exactly the same place and leg as last year and rolled over the line a little disappointed.
I was even more disappointed when I saw my times compared to last year, I was 3 minutes slower than last year and even the initial climb was slower than last year. Then I looked at the power figures, the initial climb was one of my best 15 minute average power, matching what I was pushing in January when racing crits at peak fitness. The one hour average power was also on of my best. Not bad for somebody who has not been able to train for nearly 10 weeks.
And the chain catcher, I was suppose to fit to my race bike, a few months ago, is now fitted.
Hi filip, I was looking out for you - figured you might have noticed my Waratah jersey which stood out amongst the orange! I really enjoyed the race, I'm sure with a bigger bunch it would be totally different. I'll be back again for sure - probably after the Nowra TTT weekend though, see how the legs are after that.
Where's your next race? cabici.net lists bike races in Sydney
Secret handicap over 48kms, 500m climb, 40.5kmh, 1:11:48, HR 159 av with 66% in Z4.
With about 10 A graders, consisting of about 3 A1's (actually, they are classified as A2's I later found out) and the rest A2's, I felt confident we could put in a good showing and discussions yielded a consensus that getting an A grader, A1 or A2, was the desired outcome so all would work together to that end.
From about 10kms in, the lead group of 6 dropped the field and worked together nicely, except there was still one B grader in our midst. We worked harder taking shorter turns and picking up pace to dislodge him within about 2kms. That left 5, or which only 4 were working, peeling off once a turn had been taken to allow the harder workers to stay on as long as they wanted. Work was fairly evenly split between the A1's and one A2, with the other sitting on. At the turnaround, we were averaging over 41kmh and working well.
Turnaround for the return leg and we hit a headwind. The other guys in the group are fading a bit and I take longer turns on the front, particularly uphill. I consider an attack, but opt to stay with the bunch and work together. On all the climbs, I end up at the front towing or pacing the others to the top, while descending, fairly even share of work is done. We know we are still in good shape, with our average still over 40kmh and a massive gap back to the B/ rest of A bunch, but we can't let up. We have no idea how much time has been given to the lower grades and need to keep pushing as hard as we can. With 15km to go, I remember thinking how at the Gunning Tour in March with some big guns that were absent today and a 20 strong bunch, we averaged 38.4 for the same course and we were well ahead of that today.
Another massive turn on the front on a shallow climb to the high point of the course and I feel spent. The others roll through and still take 500m turns and I end up on the front again sooner than I expect to but have recovered quickly and take up the pacemaking coming down the long descent before the final climb. Average has snuck up to 40.8kmh so I feel confident.
Hit the final climb and I am left on the front again. The finish is 2.5kms away with all the road being uphill. I am happy to lead out, but the win on the road is also important to me. No one comes through. Elbow urges some relief. No one comes through. More dramatic elbow. No one comes through. I weave out to the middle of the road and finally someone rolls through. Its the A2 worker. I jump on his wheel with 500m to go and ready my attack. I jump with 200m to go and expect the other A1's to beat me to the line as they are all stronger sprinters than I am. No one. Nothing. Got it. Second was the A2 rider that sat on the back the whole way, and then the other A2 followed by the A1's. 40.5kmh average. Job done. We towed the A2's to a win over us, but that is fine. We had done all we could.
Result: none of us made top ten. Brutal handicap. I still havent seen the report and results card, but we beat B grade by over 3:30 and the other grades by way more. The top ten, from all I know, were all D, E and F graders, with maybe a C in the mix. The handicapper was certainly a little generous to our other grade compatriots. I had very little left in the end, and the rest of A grade were stuffed. So much work for so little gain, but a very interesting form of racing.
Edit: results in. 25th!!! I had to beat G grade by 30 minutes over that course. Top ten were all D,E,F and G graders. Handicapper may have got it a little wrong today. Still came away with an extra 5 points for fastest time, so my flurry at the end was worthwhile.
Interesting times used were the standard Gunning handicap times.
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Veni, Vidi, Vespa -- I Came, I Saw, I Rode Home
Have you seen the time sheet? There are some serious anomalies. Unless riders are listed as their regular grade but rode a lower grade today... One B grader got 9 minutes!!!! An A grader got 30 minutes??? Huh? Odd. (not complaining, not upset. Just confused. It is VERY skewed to the lower grades, though.) Seems a bit odd. No A, B or C graders til P17 other than the two mentioned previously, but I dont think they were classified in their normal grade.
I had fun, though. And still came away with the fastest time points, so I am satisfied.
Based on your report will be having a look as soon as I can
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Veni, Vidi, Vespa -- I Came, I Saw, I Rode Home
I've seen a couple of other posts since I started this but this is my take on the handicapping.
The standard times would be based on typical weather conditions which are usually cold and/or windy. There is a wind farm on the Cullerin range for a reason. In the average Gunning conditions, the less powerful riders really suffer, so it is no surprise that the handicaps go out a long way for G grade. Today's weather was unusually clement, which meant that the weaker riders were less knocked around by the wind and would be expected to fare well.
I note that the winner (by 5 minutes) came from G grade and was in her first race for the club. She would appear to be out of her grade given that according to the times (which can be a bit rubbery) she finished 1 minute behind the first genuine F grade rider and a few seconds in front of a group of the next 3 F grade riders. I think that the Handicapper can be forgiven this outlier. The next 6 places came from a powerful E grade bunch, which was bolstered by the inclusion of a lightweight tandem (who incidentally rode D grade the last time they were together ). John and I have been educating E grade in recent weeks about the importance of holding wheels (see my other thread) and it seems that they have benefitted from the experience. Rosemary and Don were fast enough uphill to avoid getting dropped, and were not fast enough downhill to shake the others off. I think that they made a significant contribution to the performance of the E grade bunch. Sadly since they finished in the middle of the bunch it is hard to argue that they should be up a grade next time they race together. (Rosemary usually rides E grade, but Don rides in A grade with an A grade pilot who wasn't available today).
8th place went to a a G grader who was still 6 minutes slower than the group of 3 F graders mentioned previously, it would be hard to argue that she should be in a different grade.
9th and 10th went to two riders who started in D grade (looking at their handicaps) even though the usual grading column shows different. I don't know their stories but 9th hasn't raced with this club for months, and 10th was the one who rode away from E grade last week. Given that another two D graders were on their tail it doesn't seem that their performance was too far out of the ordinary.
The 'A grader' you mentioned is just a mistake in his listing. He was in his second race for the club, having come second in G grade last time.
All in all there was only really 1 rider in need of re-grading, and a couple of others who need to have their current listings updated to reflect the grade that they ride in.
As for the handicaps I think it worked out pretty well for the conditions. F and G grades might have been a little harshly dealt with, but G grade lost one of their strongest riders with a start-line blow-off so they might have done better if he started, F grade has recently had a couple of riders promoted to E grade so were similarly depleted. If it was raining and windy the A grade bunch would have won by a big margin.
Weather conditions should never be used in the handicap gradings!
Seems like these types of races are great training rides, seeing as you don't really know where you sit in the big scheme of things. Good effort Mrgolf.
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Weather itself is not a factor but can effect in terms of who is willing to show up.
A & B tend to not like adverse weather and don't show up in numbers.
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Veni, Vidi, Vespa -- I Came, I Saw, I Rode Home
Ha, thanks Foo. It was undeniably fun and a good challenge. I have no regrets.
Cam, it seems you are in support of the way the handicap was dealt out, but for mine, having the first genuine A,B or C rider come in at P17 is an indication things might have been a bit favourable to the lower grades. I would have expected a bit more of a mix. I guess its like a legal system. There is no perfect solution, just the one you are dealt. So you have to make the most of it. Now, how to shave 8 minutes off my Gunning time and average 47kmh...
Handicapping for individual races tends to be more at them science.
Rider make up due conditions and how they feel can play a major part and something you can take from race to race.
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Veni, Vidi, Vespa -- I Came, I Saw, I Rode Home
Short report this week. Racing out at HEZ again, feeling good this week. Almost completed the first lap reeling in the two break aways, then ease off a bit to just leave them out there (Still 3 more laps to go). Oh what's that, chain has decided it doesn't like the chain ring and off she goes So the 10 - 20 seconds pass of me putting it back on, buts its too late so I do two more laps solo before calling it a day.
Also I like the sound of the Secret Handicap.
Perhaps I didn't explain myself clearly. If A grade in perfect conditions could complete a course in 1 hour, in adverse conditions they might take an extra 10 minutes or more. This is effectively the same as increasing the distance of the race. Perfect handicapping (!) for a race in good conditions will therefore favour the scratch men if raced in bad conditions (all else being equal). The converse is also true which is similar to the case here.
The make up of the bunches will also play a big part. Bad weather scares away the soft riders, how many of them are in each grade at any given time seems to vary quite a bit.
What we need is the handicap to be varied on the fly with an algorithm to alter it by the number of entries for each grade, weather, road surface (re-paving can make a difference) and then have everybody ride according to their nominal power output like machines and that way everyone can dead-heat on the line so that there are no winners and no losers.
Or we continue with what we have which seems to work pretty well.
I still maintain that if that race was held with the same riders in a typical wind for that course that A and B grade riders would have fared much better.
PDCC D Grade Wandi
13 July 2013
Riding out to the race, I got to the top corner of the course and had trouble breathing and cursed myself for leaving my asthma medication at home. I only need it once or twice a year, and today was one of those days. A couple of kms later my lungs where working fine, and I had almost forgotten about it when the race started. I did not realise it at the time the property on the corner was burning off (using fire to control vegetation) and was going to make the racing very challenging for me.
A case of deja vu, Tom took off from the line like a rider on a mission. For exactly the same reason as the last time, I chased him. However this time I had a few more riders on my wheel. I swung off and saw I had some of the sprinters working really hard with a small break over the rest of the field. As we hit the bottom of the climb up Bodeman road, I heard the bunch was together, so I attacked. I flew up the climb and at first I was worried that nobody would follow. As I went down the other side, I saw the shadow on my wheel, it was Don, one of my first lap breakaway companion for the last race here.
I worked well with Don, still had a gap as we past the start finish line. On the climb up Wandi road where we caught last time, David Porter came across as did Tom who started all this. The rest of bunch was spread out behind us.
The four of us started working well together, until we approached the top corner and my lungs where on fire. I also managed to make a mistake on the turn. So a few hundred metres up the road, I was halfway between the breakaway and the bunch and unlikely to get back to the breakaway, so I sat up.
There was only 7 left in the bunch, and while they where working together, they were not working well together. Once my lungs had recovered I started taking turns and promptly got yelled at for going too fast, by setting a pace to match the breakaway. It quickly became obvious that the bunch was not going to catch the breakaway, so when Calum went off the front, I quickly joined him.
After a lap, Calum one of the sprinter I was trying to put into difficultly on the first lap, was struggling on the climbs. I knew I could get away on any of the six short climbs on the course. I decided it was going to be on the last lap, the pair of rises just after the top corner and then TT my way 2.5km to the finish. At that time I had not realised how bad the smoke at that corner was for my asthma.
On the last lap Calum was struggling on the first climbs, I did slow to encourage him, hoping to get some help up the back straight, to keep away from the bunch, who where capable of catching us. But after the second climb, I settled down to sitting on TT pace in preparation for tomorrows TT and left Calum behind.
Heading to the top corner, I could see Calum was catching me and the remains of the bunch not far behind. Not a problem, all I had to was hit the the two rises hard, drop Calum and do a VO2max interval on my way to 4th place. Except before I hit the first rise, my lungs where on fire, I was struggling hard to even keep threshold pace. So I just kept riding, not expecting Calum to be able to help out. I knew from past experience, I should recover before the finish and be able to kick. So as we approached the finish I kept the pace high, trying to keep away from the bunch and hopefully drop a tired Calum. With 500m to go I kicked as hard as I could, but it was not really much more that a decent acceleration, Calum hung onto my wheel and went past with 200m to go. Managed to stay away from the bunch, by 10 seconds but we all where more than 2 minutes behind the 3 in the breakaway.
While I feel pretty rough crossing the finish line, my lungs had not fully recovered from the last dose of smoke, it was not as bad as Calum who pull over and promptly threw up. Lessons learnt for next time, a tired sprinter still has a sprint, though I do not have to worry about Calum a fourth place today was enough to get him promoted and always, always take my inhaler.
Symmons Plains Criterium
it was a great fast course as you can imagine being where the V8s race. There was around 15 starters. The first few laps were quite easy and the bunch stayed together although as usual only a few people took over the pace making. At the 10min mark the attacks started and but to no avail. I particularly don't like people sitting on. My team mate and I already decided I would take the two intermediates and I would lead him out for the finish. The plan didn't quite go according to plan and I didn't have good position for the first intermediate and got third. I tried a few small attacks see who got dropped, attack, rest, attack rest, and finally went with one attack after I heard many riders gasping, and got a 300m lead and really put the hammer down and rode to my numbers for 1 lap. I looked around and only 5 riders were still in contention. At this point I sat up and rested. Second intermediate and my team mate gave me a beautiful lead out, I sat on his wheel from 500 to go and he took the inside line I came off his wheel at 250 and went across uncontested. Two laps later we got the bell lap. I knew who was going to sprint at this stage, hoping my team mate had my wheel. At 300 to go we kicked and he couldn't hold my wheel and I placed second by less than half a wheel.
Avg 313 Watts 40mins
Max 1458 w
Avg Speed 38.6kmhr
13/7/13 HEZ – C grade
4 laps – 36.7km/h
Raced at HEZ this week end, in a very decent C grade field. This is my first race at HEZ; i had a look 2 weeks ago and i liked what i saw. As seems to be usual behaviour lately there was an attack within the first km. For the next 3 laps i was not able to do anything else than just to hang on. The pace was high all the time with plenty of attacks and at one stage we were catching B grade – i never felt comfortable. The 4th lap was a bit slower but i was not capable to get to the front of the pack. It is crucial that you take the last 360 degree turn not further back than in 4th or 5th position in order to have a chance in the uphill sprint finish. I was nowhere near that, so no flowers or kisses for me.
13/7/13 HEZ - E grade
3 laps - 33km/h
This was my second ever race since getting my license. The previous week I was placed in D grade and burnt all my candles holding on for one lap and pulled out. I got a bit of grief by asking to be relegated to E but the Commissaire agreed and let me race. This race was a lot better and I had an absolute blast. Pace was just right for me and we had a large field however there were quite a few people that don't know how to hold their line so it was pretty hairy. One the second last U turn on the last lap someone cut across me just as we were coming out of the turn and hit my front wheel. Luckily I unclipped in the direction of the fall and didn't stack but I had to pull pretty hard to get back into the pack. I wasn't placed well coming into the last U turn coming into the uphill finish but managed to get a close 6th which I'm stoked with.
ATTA Champion Lakes 20km TT
14 July 2013
I had not ridden the course before, I did check out the course on Strava and the times of people I know. I was looking at completing each 5km lap in under 8 minutes at an average of 240 watts.
I rolled up to the start, and got asked if I have ridden the course before and was I aware of the corners. This alarmed me as bike handling skills on my TT bike are not the best and usually cost me some time in races, not being able to corner at the same speed as other racers. Had the trickier sections pointed out to me and I was away.
The first lap was an experience, the course was a single lane width shared path. The path was smooth, but visibility was limited. There where a couple of kinks which where more difficult that the four corners. I did not touch the brakes, though I did sit up a lot, I managed to average my target 240 watts and a sub 8 minute lap.
Next lap should of been better, it was not, I was far from smooth. I almost 20 seconds slower and down 20 watts. The next couple of laps where smoother, but I still lacked the power. 220 watts and just over 8 minutes was all I could manage.
Still given my recent lack of training and lack of time on a TT bike, it was not a bad effort, except the 2nd lap. Still I need to train and ride my TT bike more before the next race.
Date: 20 July 2013
Grade: GSR D - 28km
Result: 2/ 19
Another week of racing! Good bunch of people out at Kooragang over 100 between all the grades. The wind this week was a north wester compared to the normal south easters that often blow between 10 - 20km/h.
Not a lot happens a few people attack but a group never forms and its only ever 1 or 2 people and they are always reeled back in. I'm content sitting up the front taking a couple of turns but heavily marking #14, as I know of his sprint ability and his enjoyment of accelerating out of the hairpin on the course much to my displeasure.
Final lap and I accelerate down to the hairpin and make sure I get around it first and got a gap of 20 or so metres, once around I ease up a bit until I'm back into the pack. We come through the final corner and I'm sitting in about 2nd place, marking number #14, when an attack comes from the outside by 2 people. I wait for someone else to jump and cover it and I jump to their wheel and then its just waiting. 500m goes past, 400m, 200m, then final someone else jumps first and I follow before going past him but someone on the outside takes it and I end up second. I wasn't completely happy with my sprint looking back and was ~5km/h slower than some of my better runs however 2nd and I live to race another day.
Avg Speed: 36.7 km/h
Avg Heart rate: 179
ACT Vets Uriarra graded scratch - A Grade - 39.6km, 37.4kmh, 505m climb.
This course has an awesome long slight downhill run which can be utilised to stay away after a fairly bunch sorting climb in the second lap. First lap had a very short first turn which missed all the big climbs and got straight on with the long downward run. Headwind. Not enough to be considered nasty. Just enough to mean that there would be no chance of staying away after the climb on the second lap.
Of course, a long slight downhill inevitably means a long false flat on the return. Status quo here, but for a small rise which I attacked on, but only to get a gap, ride tempo and make them work to get back on. Then came the first of two major climbs. I was surprised to find my legs were struggling but I still crossed the crest on the front ready for the first big descent down to the second turn. On the way back, the climb sorts the pack nicely and the lead pack is down to 5. I breakaway on the hill and soft pedal down the other side into the headwind knowing it was futile. Soon I am joined by 4 who attempt to drop me as they come past to no avail. We take strong turns until the tandem, in its element, catches us. We sit up and its status quo again.
Final turn and its back up the false flat. One of the bigger sprinters and I have a spot in mind for an attack, but I want to try and give the tandem a hand by giving them a start. I ease off and allow a gap and the tandem pulls away with the stronger rider. The others chase to get back on and I follow wheels. The sprinter makes his move but no one counters. The tempo is increased, but no one breaks away from the group to pursue even though there is about 50m gap. I jump from the back and bridge the gap and immediately go to the front. We swap turns and increase the gap. Then, I move to the right to allow him to take a turn but he didnt come through. I stay on the front for about the same amount of time again and move over again. Nothing. Same thing again and nothing. I know if I back off we could get caught and I wont fare well in a sprint so I don't back off. I also know sprinter has big power but doesnt maintain it for long so is probably at his limit.
I move across again and allow him to come along side and question his motives suggesting a truce with 200m to go. He sprints and I hesitate. At the time, it was part disappointment and half my destroyed legs, but now I think I could have countered and stayed on his wheel. I chase and get within a bike length but its too late so I accept 2nd across the line. Fine with me. Lessons learnt today, but fun was had. To top it off, my mates on the tandem split the chasers and come in a very creditable 4th. I still wish the Vets had more hilltop finishes.
Two reports from last weekend, no reports this weekend, as shock not racing, marshalling at a sportive instead
PDCC D grade Serpentine 20 July 2013
Felt like a cold was coming on, so I decided I would race within myself, ride conservatively, aim to finish in the front half of the field and hopefully in the top four.
Got to the course and found a strong easterly headwind along the 3km finishing straight that reinforced that it was not going to be a good day for a breakaway, as was the extra lap over what we normally race here. Though when I saw what was probably the weakest field in D grade this year, missing Dave, Tom and Calum who finished ahead of me last week. Still it contained my usual breakaway companion Don as well as Phil, Simmo and Scott who usually out sprint me. Going off the front at some stage was tempting. Though once I smelt the smoke, and realised somebody to the east was burning off. I changed my mind and doubled checked that my inhaler was in a readily accessible positon. Which was good, because I ended up using every lap.
I settled down as ticket collector for the first couple of laps, which were at pretty ordinary pace. There were a few surges, as a couple of riders tried to attack. Most often Don. They caused little damage, often, I would drag one of the back markers back, after an acceleration. However, most the time they would of made it themselves as the attacks was short lived and the pace dropped quickly.
After one of Don's attempts as we turned into the finishing straight, I could see and hear a few people in difficultly. One of them was Phil, always looking to improve my chances of winning, I went to the front and put in a hard turn. After a few minutes, I slid back and saw the bunch was reduced to 8, Phil was missing, one sprinter down, two to go. I was going to finish in the front half, as long as I kept with the bunch and we stayed away. Then unusually for our grade, the bunch under direction from Simmo, started working together, rolling through at decent pace for a lap and half to put distance between us and our pursuers. The level of cooperation could be consider a mark of respect or fear for the riders behind us.
Two laps after that surge, we turned onto the final straight, we saw Phil's van parked on the side of the road, a few riders had stopped, including Phil's daughters, who both race, one in our grade. We assumed that one of them had crashed. The next lap was at sombre pace, nobody was willing to work, I assume most of us wondering exactly what had happened. Next time round that corner, we were advise to watch out for the ambulance, though the spot where the van and bikes was now empty. Just before the start/finish line and the bell, the ambulance passed us and stopped at the Serpentine Equestrian Centre, which is where the race facilities are.
It was still a slow pace up Road when Scott put in an attack to try and shed a few riders, it did not work. So I tried and had the same result, but hopefully everybody had a little less energy to burn.
Turning onto Rapids Road and into the crosswind, we bunched up, nobody willing to set the pace or attack. Onto to Karnup Road for the final time, into the headwind and Don was setting a steady tempo up front and nobody was willing to up the tempo or attack. Simmo suggested that I followed his wheel, rather than both of us fighting for Scott's wheel. I said "OK but let me try something first", and stood up to launch a quick attack to see if I could stir things up. Unfortunately my left hamstring had other ideas, screamed in pain and I found myself sitting on the front alongside Don. I spent the next minute, spinning at a high cadence, trying to get the blood flowing and sooth the pain.
I eased back, as Don picked up the pace, I was now getting some protection from the wind, for all of minute, waiting for the attacks to come. And they did, 3 riders came past, a new rider who look like he was gone when we were rolling turn, was up and sprinting away, Simmo came off Scott's wheel in pursuit but he was sprinting in the saddle and just could not match the speed and Scott just lacked his usual punch was trailing. Still I not could match him, as I was sprinting seated to. Don had faded on the inside and I had Arthur coming up the inside and Harry on the outside, managed to hold them off to claim 4th by 5cm.
Cool down was non existant as we headed off to find out what had happened. Phil was one of the fortunate 50% or so, who survive their first heart attack and was being taken to Fremantle Hospital for emergency surgery. Phil is never the type to do things small, not a little heart attack like me, a quick stent and back on your bike in a month. He is currently recovering and get ready for quadruple bypass surgery in a few weeks. He has a long recovery ahead of him, but hopefully we will see him racing again.
WCMCC D Grade Wandi 21 July 2013
My cold was beginning to bite, but not one to miss an opportunity to race. I rode out to Wandi and asked nicely if I could ride in D grade. I explained the cold, did not want to race a couple of laps of C grade and end up off the back, I allowed to race on the one proviso, I did not win, which was my intention. The aim was a good six laps, doing more than my share of work, with a 1.5km to go, hit the front lead everybody out, drop off with 500m to go and finish 10th.
Recognised a couple of faces from Peel D grade races and the combined C & D grade kermess here a few weeks back. Though most the 21 riders were new to me.
Anybody who has raced with me or has read my race reports, knows that I prefer to ride at the back, on the front or off the front of the bunch. With WCMCC C grade, I try to ride in the bunch, to gain confidence in riding in large groups. Today with D grade, it was a different story, I quickly realised didn't trust my fellow riders, a number did not keep their position. I was on the brakes constantly downhill and even in corners with my limited cornering ability.
I quickly found it frustrating, riding in the bunch or even right at the back. So after two laps, I decided I was going to front for the Wandi Road, Bodeman Road section. I set a decent pace, nothing like the attacks the previous week and by the time I was halfway up the Bodeman Road climb I had a gap on the bunch. So I slowed, a few riders caught me as I crested the climb and I was promptly on the brakes again.
Next time, the pace I kept was a little slower, but I kept driving until we hit Lyon Road. Then relented and let the bunch swallow me up. The next time up Wandi Road, I was close to the front, but did not drive the pace. Another rider, who appear to of learnt from my example, drove up the climb on Bodeman Road and nobody reacted. Down the other side, up the short climb and onto Lyon Road and still no reaction. As I rode up Lyon Road, I was so tempted to try and bridge, but I behaved myself and rode alongside their team mate and wondered why nobody else was trying to bridge or bring her back with only a lap and half to go.
I was sitting on the back, when B grade came past us on the little inclines on De Haer Road. It was a little scary for some of the B grade riders going past as a couple of D grade riders just shifted out without looking or thinking.
Looking down the road, our breakaway rider was no where to be seen. It appeared they hitched a little ride with B grade. The race referees noted it as well. But with nobody in pursuit and a clear gap, the rider on the break was given the win, with a warning and an extra lap as penance.
I sat well back for the bunch's final lap, the pace was better, but nothing special. Until they turn on De Haer Road for the final time and slowed up the last two little rises. The bunch was spread out occupying the full lane, with the occasional rider crossing the double white line as riders just shifted around. It became frustrating at the back, as one rider went off the front, with one of the stronger riders sitting on her wheel. The gap never got to 10 metres, it looked like everybody was leaving the rider out front to fry.
So finally when the double white lines ended and the bunch stopped moving around, I attempted to go to the front and set a decent pace, probably around 36 to 38kph. Except, I needed to accelerate to get to the front and it was on a gentle downhill, so when I hit the front. I looked at my speed, I was sitting on 47kph. I eased back, expecting riders to grab my wheel and tried to settle down for a kilometre of two at 38 to 40kph, before dropping off. Except I jumped at 2.5km to go, I was trying to ride at a set speed into a mild headwind and I tired quicker than expected. So with about 1km to go, I was struggling to keep 35kph and a rider came up on the outside of me, I eased off.
Rolled to the back, expecting to be spat out and the pace eased. No issue, caught my breath for 500m and suddenly we were off and sprinting. I had energy in my legs and started moving up, then a trial rider shifted out without looking and almost took my front wheel out. My evasive action almost had me taking another rider out, a swear word, followed by "keep your line" and I was off chasing to finish 11th.
In retrospective, I would not of been worried if I did this race last year. Twelve months on, I expect a little more from my competitors. But the main reason I will not race D grade with WCMCC again, is it was too easy, even with my cold, I could of easily just ridden away on a number of occasions for the win. Still I got what I wanted a decent workout.
Vic Clubs TTT champs - Buninyong, Masters 135+, 49km, avg. 32.5 km/h, finished 8th of 9.
i'm pretty sure Plato was a time trialist. there's not much tougher events than time trials, and you find your mind wandering, trying to make sense of why you decided that spending 1 1/2 hours of a perfectly good Sunday on the absolute rivet, sucking oxygen as quickly as your lungs will let you. to top it off, fitting clip-on TT bars to a roadie doesn't automatically work very well - the aero position meant the tip of my seat dug into my err.. undercarriage. it became a choice between sitting up on the hoods and working harder, or on the aero bars and suffering the pain in my groin.
this was my first race back since april so i was satisfied enough with the result. 32.5 km/h sounds slow for a TT, which it is, but the course and conditions were very tough - hilly and strong winds. there were a few times when i came close to blowing on the outbound leg (with tailwind, oddly), as did one of my teammates. times were taken from the 2nd place finished, which was me, holding the wheel of my third teammate who was easily our strongest.
there is very little respite in a TT, a few bits of downhill, tailwind, in the draft of your teammates, but as soon as you hit a hill, you are on the limit (unless you're stronger than your teammates), gluing yourself to the back wheel in front of you and doing whatever it takes to hold on, or meekly crying out for them to ease the pace. your face ends up covered in sweat and snot, and you have a permanently distressed expression on your face. it isn't very glamorous.
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