Sunday, 11 November 2012


SKCC Crits (and Extras):
I want to ask a simple question of my racing, "What did I learn?". I thought about this after all the racing for today was done, and let my tired body tell you, there was a lot of racing today, anyway I thought about this after racing, so don't have to rely on memory.

After a late night seeing a mate's gig in a pub, I got up early and rolled to SKCC (via a convoluted route to get around City to the Sea), put down a coffee and dropped myself into E-Grade to help out some newbies and to get my legs rolling.

When the time for A-grade racing arrived, I'd had another coffee pass my lips, but still was nervous about the race and track in the arvo. I told Ray that I was going to sit in the bunch and rip out a leadout for him at the end of the race. This left me close to an hour where I didn't have to think, the occasional neuron fired to signal my legs to get be off the back of the pack and into a cleaner bunch position.

Around half way in a break got out of sight. The bunch has been playing chicken of late, letting breaks go and then slowing while everyone looks at each other daring them to pull everyone back across. There were regular time updates from the sidelines, and the gap got out to around 35 seconds a few times, but back down to 15 a few times as well.

For a few laps I was in the gap, swapping off half lap turns with Loakesy, eventually we were brought back to the fold. At 5+3 to go, I was asked if I'd pull some big turns to bring them back. I shook my head, I was playing chicken too. We had a few riders in the bunch, and as the race progressed I felt better and better about the state of my legs. 15 seconds with 3 laps to go, I knew it was going to take some monster turns to bring back the break, but timed right, the sprint would engulf them in the final straight. I believed that I could make, or at least help make that happen. Craig Johnson hit the front as I rolled into 2nd wheel. I coaxed and coached him from behind, urging him on for longer, but just after turn one on the 2nd last lap it was obvious his legs were done. I rolled through, dropping low on my bars and buried my legs into a pit of pain. Round the back the riders were in sight. My own legs gave way coming in to the start/finish straight for the bell, I rolled in, hoping that our efforts had been enough to catch the break and that Ray had found a good wheel in my absence.

We hadn't done enough, and Ray had copped a pedal to the derailleur, forcing him to abort his efforts. I was a little disappointed in the result, or lack there of, but happy with how the body had felt. What I now feel I've learnt is how much can or can't be brought back in a final mad dash for the line, and just how much my legs can give for that dash.

Strava link.

D:  93.1km
A: 144m

I rode straight home, shoved some food in my face, a skinsuit in a bag and my track bike in the car, what was done or not done at the crits was history, I had to turn my mind to match sprinting.

The conditions were ideal for a fast flying 200. a warm day with a N/NE wind urging riders down the back straight. I whacked on 106" and wound it up around the club house, dropping it in so that I met the 200m line on the black. With the hot wind pushing me down the straight I stayed out of the saddle longer than normal, my arse only finding my seat just before entering turn 3. I think this was a mistake. I never felt settled in the corner, and my rear wheel scrubbed some speed as I tipped it in. I feel like there was an extra 10th or two left to squeeze out of it, still... my efforts were enough for fastest time, 12.433, which is only 5 hundredths off my Blackburn PB.

R1 - Luke Daly (3:54)

I didn't know how Luke raced, but it was obvious from his time and composure that he could.I drew the follow and tried to force the pace up a little then fake him into hitting it. Out of turn 4 I got him going for it, then used the bank under the club house to get some room to manoeuvre before running him down by the line. What did I learn? Hrm I'm not sure I learnt a lot, I know I'm growing to love the break and run move.

R2 - Nic Marc (3:57)

I was pretty confident I had the speed over Nic, but also didn't want to have to spend excess energy achieving a win. This opened up a chance for him to sneak a win.We had a little bump and grind on the first lap, mostly his hip and my elbow, before we opened up a drag race down the home straight. I got in front, closed the door and tried to create a gap he couldn't chase into. I was able to hold on to the line, though he came back a lot. What did I learn? I learnt I need to practice looking back while in full or near full flight. I threw a little hook trying to do so out of turn 2.

R3 - Dino Apolito (2:36)

In yet another race where I was following, Dino had me in an awkward no man's land. I was above him, with still a long way to go around, but no way of chopping under. I tried to do what I'd done to Luke, but he held me well and threw his own hook that resulted in a fair bump. For a moment I was shocked, but I could tell Dino was too, he almost stopped pedalling. So I went for the run down the outside and drop in around the club house. Dino had that covered on the inside, so I had to quickly change tactics or face a long drag race. I swung hard up the bank at the club house, the pressure still on the pedals, making a bunch of space to work with before running back at his wheel and over the top for a win. What did I learn? I got another chance to learn to ride with contact, it's making me more comfortable and confident.

1v2 - David Koroknai (8:00)

David's a junior, and from the start of the day I was pretty sure it would be he vs I in the finals. It was obvious he was nervous, so I tried to treat myself as a 3rd party and coach him through and calm the nerves. I told him to take control by thinking about his tactics rather than mine, I even went so far as to tell him what gear I was on (98"). The race itself was my 4th follow in a row. I was confident of a break and run tactic, but it relied on getting David to hit it down the home straight, or at the very least be in near full flight under the club house. I tried to work the speed up, I threw feints to try and get him to kick, but the kid was rock solid. We got it wound up, but side by side down the straight, I took height at the club house, possibly too much though at the time it felt good, then ran hard. I think David had kept a tiny amount in reserve because I didn't make it up around his hip until late in the final bends, running out of 4 half a wheel behind and possibly a touch wide, then charged to the line. I knew I was a smidgeon behind but I was closing and I had longer arms. We threw for the line and between hard breaths gave each other the look that translates to "who got it?!"

David got the decision, and while I would have loved a win, there's no point getting to worked up over a lack of one. I don't know what I learnt from the last race, but hopefully I taught.

I'm not unhappy with 2nd, it was a tough day of training, but it's banked now.

PMPW: 91kg

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