Sunday, 23 December 2012

23/12/2012

SKCC Crits:
SKCC had put up a big purse and a range of grades for a xmas carnival of the road. Some of the guys who'd normally worry me, the guys who take cash week in week out, were racing in a special "elite" category, but they were replaced by more strong dudes I didn't know.

Sitting around pre-race with the rest of the Rush boys, we talked the ways we wanted to ride and how we could work to best advantage. I offered to sit up the back and hammer a sprinter into position for a final kick, everyone seemed happy with that, and so I turned my brain off to everything else. Come the race, I had a simple job, take cheap places until the final laps, then unload everything into the pedals.

There were over 100 starters in A grade, but thankfully no other grades on the course at the same time. A few nervous moments near turn 2, and searing heat from a ripping northerly kept me focussed on my cheap places plan. Despite the numerous primes on offer, nothing was surviving off the front of the bunch.

Into the final laps it became tough to hold or gain position, I know I know, it's a freaking sprint, everyone wants to be in it, but this was more than normal. Into the last lap I was around 20th or maybe 30th wheel. It was a shit position and given the chaos around me I wasn't confident to check on the status of our 2 sprinters. Entering the back straight space opened up on the right and I pushed out and laid into the cranks. Hands resting loosely on the hoods, and my torso low, I could see my task; a train of single file riders, desperately clinging to the wheel of Tom Leaper.

The first 5 riders I passed without thought, the next slid by my left with the barest of eye twitches, but the crank revolutions piled up, the pain built. I focused my mind on my promise to my (team)mates, I had done nothing all race while others hurt, now was my time to hurt, to deliver on what I'd said I would, to deliver a sprinter (or two) to the final corner and a charge to the line.

Rounding the sweeper there was only 3 riders in front of me, Tom still leading the way, my body contorted, the hot air rasping at my lungs, finally not quite at the corner it was too much and I had to make the pain stop. I sat up, and tried to hold myself steady through the corner, waiting for a flash of pink to fly around me to the finish, but it never came.

Sitting around after the race, sucking back water, and laughing about the ridiculous heat and watching the elite race, I found out that I'd lost my sprinters in the confusion and possibly even cut one of them off when my minor nuclear meltdown occurred. These are things that can be worked on and solved, with planning and communication. What remains though is a confidence in my riding. That last effort was good.

Strava link.

D: 65.7km
A: 122m

PMPW: 94kg

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