Saturday, 24 November 2012


Hell Ride:
Over 100 guys (and possibly a few girls, but not many) rolled out of Black Rock at 7am, a mess of talent and lack there of, occupying far more road than is polite. I was there, probably like many, to sneak in a quick 100km before activities later in the day.

I was eager to hit the rollers past Frankston, to unload my legs on Hopes Rise and see who I could shell, who I could break and plain old, what I could do. So I sat in until then, working my way to the front for a single turn and the right to hold good position, then moments later finding myself back where I had started after being swamped by 50 riders. For most of the ride I had the Metro "dumb ways to die" song stuck in my head, it seemed appropriate.

At the foot of Olivers/Hopes I tried to position myself without catching to much wind, then when the kick happened I leapt from the saddle, striking down on my pedals, catching many riders... but not as many as I hoped. I suppose that sums up my morning, it was ok, but not quite there. For me, at this time of year, if a ride isn't t inspiring confidence, then it's casting doubts.

Strava link.

D: 96.6km
A: 410m

'ABS' & 'Bell Helmets' Track Open:
I signed up to race this after reading about it on Carl's blog, money, keirins, sprints... awesome!

Walking through the underpass to the infield, bike over the shoulder, rollers in hand, the first cyclist I see is none other than Josiah Ng. My already tired legs suddenly seemed wooden, I was hoping to be one of the stronger riders, with olympians walking around, I suddenly felt very "club level".

In a moment that gave me mixed emotions I found I'd been graded as B grade. I'd get no sprints, just a keirin or two, but I wouldn't have to race Josiah and find out just how far off world class I really am.

After a massive delay (due to a crash that required a stretcher), I lined up for an 8 lap scratch race, I knew a few riders from Thursday night racing, and they were faster than me. Off the line someone dove from on high and took a gap on the field, the guy on the front kicked drilled 1/4 of a lap then swung an elbow and himself up the track leaving me on the front. I pulled for half a lap, concentrating on smooth and powerful pedal strokes, I flicked my elbow, glanced over my shoulder and swung high, waiting for the 14 odd riders to rip along the bottom of the track. As I spied the 3rd last rider I eased myself down the boards, aiming to roll cleanly onto the back. I nailed it, a study of perfection. Sitting on that wheel, in a nice draft, feeling fairly chuffed with myself I realised the wheel I was on had dropped the one in front of him, as I rounded him to get on to the next guy the race was going to pieces with attacks off the front. The next half dozen laps are a blur of pain, I kept turning the pedals only because I didn't want to fail in front of all my friends in the stands and infield. Into the final lap, the commissaire's bell clanging from the line, I realised I was in the top 6 riders. I pushed out, and attacked the rider in front of me. I'd clear him easy and roll in for 3rd. Only through the last corner, I wasn't getting around him easy. Disappointment swelled from my gut, rising up my gullet... and then I realised Lou Pascuzzi was fading. I rolled him in the final straight, getting the 3rd I'd expected, my entry fees back.

In my keirin heat I went after the bike, but left a gap. It was filled by the biggest guy in the race and I was happy. I got a good sit and a chance to practice looking back while rolling at pace. When the bike peeled off the lead rider lifted the pace to the bell, I hit him, slamming the door as soon as I was clear past him and powering my way around the track low and fast. Through turn 3 and 4 I figured I had the race made, I risked a glance, backed off the pedals and got myself rolled. Still 2 riders went through, so all I'd missed out on was $10.

The scratch result got me a start in the handicap, I was odd 110m and knew a few riders near by. If colluding was allowed I would have told them I'd drill a few hot laps for them and then pull off, it's not though. The gun went and it took me a bit to get wound up. I was worried about those behind me so I constantly looked back for them. I was chased down quickly and I found myself with a lot more in my legs, so I drilled it... but I didnt care about the race, the keirin was where I wanted to spend my energy, so I pulled off the front and rolled out of the race.

In the keirin final, I found myself fighting for 3rd wheel. I had the lane but a Malaysian team rider arrived at the wheel the same time as me. For a few laps we traded elbows and hips, before finally he went away. I figured the time in the wind had softened his legs, so I got back to thinking about the race, pedalling smoothly and all that jazz. When the bike peeled off the first rider attacked. I must have hesitated because the Malay was back and slammed himself (cleanly) into the hole in front of me. Suddenly I was on the inside, boxed completely. I tried to jostle myself a path out, but eventually, as we rounded for the bell, I realised my only way out was backwards. I soft pedalled, going under every rider, then set my legs to kill and put the power down but it wasn't enough, and I died coming 4 wide around the final turns.

I piled my gear into the car, opting to skip the points race. It was late, I was tired and there was racing in the morning to consider.

PMPW: 92kg

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