Sunday, 7 October 2012


SKCC Crit:
My plan for the day wasn't really formed when the race started. To put it another way, I had no cohesive thoughts on what I wanted to achieve. I knew I wasn't terribly confident of the wet (but slowly drying) course, and I wanted to take a little time to get used to the race wheels again. These two things meant I sat in for the first 15-20 minutes of the the race, sometimes right on the back of the bunch.

About the time the course was drying out and my legs warming up, a few breaks were forming, going off the front and getting chased down. Despite my memory being slightly hazy of the minutiae I do have one distinct memory. Looking past the 15-20 riders in front of me and thinking "That move has all the teams of the day in it. I'm too far back to get up to it, and it's going to be let go."

I was right, of course. Of course because I wouldn't be telling you the story if I was wrong, not that I'm always right... just most of the time. Anyway the break of 6ish riders picked up a lead as the impetus went out of the bunch, a couple of individuals threw themselves at the front, but no single bloke was going to be able to bring them back. 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 45 seconds. Eventually my brain clicked, there was no point me sitting in a bunch rolling moderately, I was there to train, a win, while nice was not the point, so I got myself forward.

Soon enough I was at the front, someone ripped a hard turn, peeling off on the home straight. Perched on their wheel it felt like the bunch was strung out and starting to have gaps in it behind me, so I smacked it hard. The initial joy of being able to ride clear of the bunch was soon replaced by pain. I tried to get into a rhythm, but the place I go to when climbing and during ergos eluded me.

After a couple laps I was still dangling 20-30m off the front, the bunch strung out single file, I was hurting, but by god so were they. Suddenly I had company, someone had jumped across. I eased to let them through and found myself scrabbling to get their wheel. By the time I had reached their wheel, they were feeling spent and rolling off to pull me through again. I was toast and we were soon back in the folds of the bunch.

Not long after a couple of teams lost riders from the break and the choppy turns that were happening were slowly bringing the break back. I was pretty shocked, they must be getting tired, so kept myself towards the front and pulling hard when the legs allowed it. Bike Gallery's man coming back brought out Cam McDonald and a few mates, a solo DRAPAC rider was still looking to make things happen, same with a SKCC kitted rider. The issue was, none of us had the energy to get organised. With 4-5 of us rolling hard turns on the front we could have decimated the brakeaway, instead we pulled single turns only to have one of the teams represented in the break on our wheels soft pedal straight after. Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing the teams of negative riding, to me they were ensuring any move was covered, a smart thing given their race position. Not once did I see them interfere with riders honestly looking to roll hard, it was simply that people were too tired to organise better.

So at the end we got the break back to 20 seconds, not enough to close on the last lap, so as we rolled through for the bell everyone was looking at everyone else to make the move and kick the bunch sprint off. It was getting laughably slow as we crossed the line, 1.2km to go... so I hit it, ripping it up to speed then getting low and driving through to the last corner. One last pedal stroke out of the corner was all I had for the sprinters, so I rolled wide and grinned at just how strung out everyone was.

Post race sausages: 1

D: 65km (ish)*
A:150m (ish)*

There's now a 2pm start for the SSS, meaning with some food shoved in my mouth as I drove, I could make it a twofer day. I realised when I arrived that I'd packed my road shoes, the ones with cleats slammed back, rather than my track shoes with more of a ball cleat position. I was sad I'd be giving up a few hard earned watts, but knew it should play to my endurance base anyway.

The flying 200 qualifiers were in varied conditions, a south easterly rose and fell, pushing you hard in the face as you rounded the club house and kicked hard for the back straight and 200m line. I pushed fractionally harder down the home straight with 1 lap to go, other than that it was a text book Neil Robinson flying 200. I had 104" on my deep wheels and I hauled it hard in an arc down the bank to meet the 200m line on the black. I stayed as low as I could to cheat the wind and forced my legs to carry me to a 12.688 sec time. Not earth shattering, but in the ball park for me, and enough for fastest qualifier.

1st round:
I raced James Dann first, he had the lead and I had a tactic. Take height, force the speed up to remove the damage from his kick, make him jump, and then run him down. It pretty much went exactly like that too, though through the final turns I wasn't 100% sure I had him. It was only as I rolled off the slight bank at the exit to turn 4 that I felt I had a real good sniff and only a couple of metres from the line that I felt I had it won.

2nd Round:
David Koroknai, on paper my easiest race of the day and that fact might have caused me to race a little less efficiently and waste some valuable energy to take the win. Once again I had the follow, once again I took height and tried to keep the speed up. This time though I wasn't given a lot of track, David had me pinned towards the top, a few feints on my behalf barely got me any extra inches, one of them got some solid shoulder to shoulder contact, something that to his credit David (a junior) didn't flinch from. In the end I was forced to race the long way around the track in a drag race to achieve my 2nd win of the day.

3rd Round:
My last round robin race worried me a little, Ryan Worn had qualified 0.2 of a second slower than me, but had lost a ton of time when he failed to keep his bike in the lane during his f200, swinging up almost all the way to the blue. I was drawn to lead, but almost straight out of the gate Ryan pushed past and took the lead. I was ok with it, confident in my ability to chase down and through a rider. Taking height I soon found I had even less room than my race against David. I was never worried about the fence, but I never felt like I had room to attack. I pushed the pace up and up, but at some stage I forgot about initiating the kick and Ryan was soon taking the initiative himself. I ran hard at him, but I was too late, failing to overhaul him on the dash to the line. Thankfully James took care of HsinTi Liao in his race, meaning I was through to the 1v2 final on f200 time.

A Grade 1v2 Final:
With 2 wins and a bye to his name, I was back up against Ryan for the last race of the day. We both jumped on the rollers for the 10 minute break in racing, headphones in, hoodies pulled up, trying to get the legs warm and the mind on task. Ryan drew the lead, and immediately I was on the fence again. I tried to slow and get under him, but he matched my speed. I abandoned that idea and built the pace again, one thought prime in my mind.

"Do not repeat last race's mistake. Make the move!"

I picked the pace up down the back straight, a lap and half still to go, kicking as we rounded into turn 3 and managed to get my bike in front and down into the lane out of turn 4. There was no thought of going for a double kick move, I got down low and go go go (let's ignore the issues with tense there). The back straight hurt, and through the final two turns I could feel Ryan behind and above me. I was slowing fast and almost abandoned hope of a win... then I realised. Ryan wasn't steaming through me. He was tired too! I put it all out on the track, crossing the line with a long, loud, guttural cry. My wheel in front, possibly by a wheel length, maybe more or less, the details burnt away in the flood of relief and joy.

Post race sausages: 4

PMPW: 91kg

* My garmin had no file on it when I went to upload, so these are by best recollection of the numbers.

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