Sunday, 23 September 2012


Vic CX Champs:
I wanted to do well today, I went as far as bringing a set of rollers to warm up on, and stuffing a roast beef (with gravy) roll in my face an hour or two before the race. That said, I didn't want it badly enough to pre ride the course or to find some pre race caffeine. I hope the combination of the two gave me an air of "determined but relaxed/cool", I fear it painted me as "erratic and going to vomit".

I was proud to be seeded 13th, and annoyed when the call up seemed to get stuffed up, leaving me to try and slot myself into the 3rd row instead of the 2nd. I'd been told the course was "made for you" which means me, not you, I know it's confusing reading it now, but at the time when it was told to me, you definitely was me. Anyway the course was (allegedly) made for me, and I suspected drafting would play a significant part due to the open spaces and wind. In other words, for once I decided to play the start game, the one where you put in a little extra to secure a good spot, rather than my old favourite of Pepe Le Pew-ing my way up the field.

Across the top of the course, a long flat open section that begins with double barriers I was at the tail of a line of riders, at the front was Lewis Rattray, then maybe a dozen or so riders. A solid start that I was happy with, and due to forgetting my HR strap I didnt have a silly large number blinking at me from the screen of my garmin.

Taken by Andy of Frame and Spear, the kid who bought my old track bike a while back.

I think that photo is the moment I stopped riding on the hoods. My bars twisted down a little as I hit the tiny creek crossing. At first I thought the sound was rock hitting rim and thus my race would be ended, like many in the B-Grade and Masters races that'd preceded us, with a flat tyre.

At some point the race split, the pointy end slipping away from a chase group, then I split off that, unable to hold the pace. Ahead Danny Kah also dropped the wheel and I desperately wanted to catch him, for 4, 5, maybe 6 laps I chased him, both of us working solo, but the gap slowly edged out. Just as I was giving up hope of catching him Hayden Kerr and another rider, Ed? or Ned?, bridged up to me and renewed the idea in my head. I left H on the front for a couple of laps, then rolled forward to lend a hand. A lap or so of that and our mate Ed attacked up the small rise down the bottom of the course, he had a small gap through the water crossing and right up until he got to the single barrier I felt it might stick. Then he clipped a foot and went down like a sack of shit, leaving H and I to roll past giggling like school girls.

Ed rejoined us, and H dropped off. There wasn't long left in the 45 minute race so I put him out of my mind, Ed was the one I'd have to race. I called him through to do some work in the wind, and as we passed the start / finish the comms said the harshest words I've ever heard. "13 minutes to go". The race wasn't 45 minutes... it was 60! In those final 15 minutes I considered vomiting just to get some moisture in my mouth.

From there I left Ed on the front, he was strong but had a woeful remount that I knew I could exploit. As we rolled the final few laps of the race I glued myself to his wheel, offering supportive words "dude, you're going so strong" all the while trying to judge where I was going to hit him on the last lap. I felt a little guilty about it all, but in the end it's racing, and I wanted that extra place. I don't know if I hit him on the line or just after, but when we hit the top (double) barriers I had half a bike and a near perfect clip in. I slammed the power into the pedals, he was only a bike or so behind, I had to be clean, I had to nail the corners through the trees and smash the lower hill. I don't know when he lost contact, probably the hill, the creek crossing or the final barrier, but as I rolled up past the Team iRide tent to the line I had enough gap to sit up and roll over the line.

Strava link.

D: 25.3km
A: 335m

PMPW: 92kg

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