Sunday, 12 July 2009

11/07/2009

Cecil Shore Memorial - Hamilton 120:
If I'd thought about how far away Hamilton was before I entered this race, odds I wouldn't have ticked the box, but with the money spent I got myself up early for the 300km drive.

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There was a brutal northerly wind blowing and I was pretty concerned that all I had were my 68mm section wheels with me, it turns out the course was North/South, so apart from 1 or two gusts I didn't have to worry, I pedalled, they went around.

Like the Preston Mountain Classic I was 2 bunches out from scratch (I'm pretty sure this doesn't get a cool name), in this case we had 16 minutes of leeway. So along for the journey with me were 23 (other) riders a few of them had nice big strong looking legs, so I was confident we'd be able to stay up the road for a while. This opinion changed as we rolled up the road into the headwind, it was higglty pigglty, only resembling an echelon at the crudest level, and surges flowing down the line on regular intervals.

Once we reached Cavendish, which seemed like an awesome name given how well Mark is doing at the TdF, we threw a u-bolt around a witches hat and began the track back to Hamilton for the first time. Here the working group went from 24 down to 4-6, but the pace basically doubled. 30ish into the headwind, 60+ with the tail wind. A bunch of big boys rolled around fairly regularly, it was hurting me, but it's not every day I get to pull a turn at 65km/h on the flat so I did my bit. Half way back to Hamilton we got a time check from the side of the road, 3:30 to the lead group. Despite the seemingly poor work into the wind we'd gouged 15 minutes out of limit's head start.

Not long after this point I became aware than my rear brake was dragging, I figured it had been knocked or was misaligned so at 50ish km/h I reached behind me to give it a tug. While in hindsight putting my digits next to a wheel with bladed spokes seems very, very, very, very, very stupid, at the time I needed to get it sorted so it wouldn't get into my head. Turns out the bolt had loosened off and so the second my fingers went back to the bars, the calliper just flopped back against the rim and the noise began again.

It got in my head.

Coming up to Hamilton while distracted by the brake I let a gap open to the wheel in front, soon it was a gap to the bunch. I called on all the muscles i could think of to power me back on, but the gap wasn't closing in a hurry. Out of Hamilton towards the second "loop" I was officially not in touch and finally I let it go, turned around and headed back to hand in my numbers.

By the time I got back to my car scratch still hadn't come through, so I grabbed an allen key, gave the brake a touch up and headed back to the course. I chased a rider from the bunch behind me (they'd gone through by this stage) and we rode nervously awaiting the guys off scratch. A quick kick as the lead rider came past and I was on the back of the 10ish riders, but I was strung out. I worked hard to hold the wheel at ~50km/h but the rise that would normally not register suddenly became Mt Ventoux, PING, I was off the back of my 2nd bunch of the day.

Slightly disappointed I turned my bike and myself back into the headwind and driving rain, back to Hamilton to get dry and changed.

Sitting in the pub with a chicken parma watching the finish it looked like my bunch got up! Rider #51, Andrew GRAHAM, on a Roulette Green Cubano looked to be at the very pointy end. I'm not sure if he got the win, it was hard to tell for sure, and CSV don't have the results up yet, but as he was the strongest guy in our bunch I'm sure he gave it a solid kick in the guts.

D: 65.6km
A: 475m

PMPW: 91kg

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