Saturday, 7 August 2010


SKCC Trophy Race:
When I rocked up to the rego desk and found my name not on the A-grade start list but instead the B-grade start list I had a 180° in attitude. My sms to Ann-Michel probably sums it up best.

"Nerves completely gone, they put me in B-grade instead of A. I'm going to tear some legs off."

I said to Ian that my tactic was to go with or start the 5th attack of the day. A plan simple enough for me to remember it and just stupid enough to be both entertaining and effective. The first guys to "attack" just rolled off the front, nothing terribly threatening, but Ian mentioned that they were strong enough to potentially build a gap. I tried to saunter over to them with Ian, as we got close it became obvious that the pack had decided it was too many people, and had come along for the ride. Fair enough, back to the 5th move concept.

The race kept trundling along, the wind wasn't yet hurting but no one seemed overly eager to do much work. Around 5km into the course proper, I realised that I'd ridden off the front of the bunch. It wasn't an attack, and even if it counted as one it certainly wasn't the 5th, but if the bunch was going to give me a gap, I was going to see how big a gap I could make it, so I put my head down and started to TT.

At the Tylden-Woodend Rd turn I took my first look back, the bunch seemed to be coming, but I still had a gap. A few km down the road I checked again and the bunch was in bits, a small group of 3-4 riders was coming across to me, so I sat up and gave my legs a short rest until they got to my wheel. I recognised the guy from the first "attack" that Ian had said was strong, and decided that this was the winning move.


We worked as a 4, pulling 20-30 second turns at the front of a single line, then rolling off. By the time we hit the headwind beside the freeway there was no one within sight. I was now positive that this was the winning move.

From there it was just two more laps of turns, at some stage we lost our 4th rider, but the 3 of us kept motoring along, managing to put 5 minutes into the chasers. The kid in the white Melbourne Uni kit was suffering, so I knew it was down to me and the dude from Becoz (Michael? I'll presume it is).


Round into the headwind beside the freeway for the last time we were all a bit trashed. I proposed we keep working until the final kicker, and then let the best man win. The kid agreed, though expressed he'd be fucked so when Michael agreed it was settled.

The kid was left on the front for the last 30-40 seconds before the hill began, I took over at the front just as we hit the hill, but the pace was slow enough that no one was getting any advantage off of my draught. I got into a gear I thought would work and watched the shadows under my arm. It looked like Michael was leaving himself a gap to run into, so for the second time, despite being a long way to the line, I decided to make people pay for giving me some space.

Over the top of the kicker and onto the long uphill drag I was pig rooting the gear. I had no idea if I was dragging Michael along or if I had 15 bike lengths. With about 30m to go I felt him along my right, I tried to kick, but there was no extra speed in my legs and that was the end of my motivation to hurt. I rolled over the line a few metres off his wheel in 2nd, the kid was somewhere behind and took a well deserved 3rd. In hindsight a trophy could have been cool, but I don't think I would have ridden any different if I had my time again.

The only thing left to do was eat, and with some extra money from the race organisers in my pocket it was off to the bakery with Ian.



D: 92.7km
A: 580m

PMPW: 94kg


BK said...

Great race Neil, (nearly) perfect!!!

neil said...

Cheers man, if the handicapper is going to put me in B-grade then I'm going to take his money without any feelings of guilt.

At the end of the day it was a satisfying race, not just because I stood on the podium, but because I took risks and had them come off. That was my first successful breakaway in a road race.

Mak said...

nice work big fella!

sole Devotion said...

great work Neil, you're going to get some results now I'm not sabotaging your bike while your asleep, why else do your think I was getting up so early!! bwahahahah!!