Sunday, 3 November 2013


SKCC Crits:
I rolled in early to help out with e-grade, thankfully it was a relatively small bunch, and I assume they were mostly well behaved, but I can't be sure as I sat on the front being a pacer for all bar the final 200m. At that point the 5-6 guys who'd managed to hang on when I wound it out, went for the line.

It was nice to have a small group, because the quick debrief at the end about what the club is trying to achieve with e-grade and how to move up to proper racing was easy to handle.

That was all just helping new riders, SKCC, and Total Rush, which while good, wasn't the reason I had 68mm tubular wheels on my bike. Racing a-grade was, and after a brief period of rain before the race, 30-40 guys and a few girls rolled out to see who had brought good legs, and who hadn't.

I continued with the theme of recent races, where by I ride aggressively early on to flush out riders who're feeling feisty, and to take the pressure of my team mates. Like the Coburg crit of a few weeks ago I hit it as soon as the neutral section was over, because it seemed like fun.

I had another crack or two soon after, only settling back a bit when I spotted DK's pink arse up the road. Bing took up camp in the first half dozen wheels, making sure nothing was going anywhere without him, so I slid back for a short breather, before starting to be cheeky with the bunch. I chased a couple of moves, and opened a lot of gaps, all with the aim of taking the sting out of other's legs.

The time gaps called by Bones from the sidelines hovered between 30 and 40 seconds, fluctuating as riders tried to get across the gap in ones or twos, only to fail in the southerly wind and come back to a bunch that never organised itself into a concerted chase.

As we came through for the bell, the gap was 12 seconds, so I put myself near the front in case it came together and a sprint for the win was needed. Coming into turn 2, I heard a "Neil, yep!" from behind, someone wanted the best leadout in the bunch, but it was too early for me to commit to anything. I had to know that DK was clear to the line. The riders in front of me tired and swung leaving me on the front out of turn 3, so while my eyes scanned up the road, assessing if the two riders were coming backwards fast, I eased off the pedals slightly and backed into the bunch. As soon as I was sure they were free to fight each other without us coming into play I went hard up the right of the road. I hoped to shake as many riders as I could, roll into the final corner clear and have a chance at the 3rd place spot myself. 5-10 seconds into the effort I could tell there were riders on my wheel, so I paced the effort to finish just after the final corner, to launch whomever was feeling feisty at the line. Inside pedal up, ready to turn in SJ gave me a "swing wide" instruction, so I did, leaving him a clear line to take out 3rd.

Dave ended up with the win, Will Walker didn't put up a fight for it, after what would have been a tough day in the saddle for both. Finally being of use to SJ was also pretty cool, as I've been promising him a good wheel into a sprint since May.

Strava link.

D: 89.1km
A: 184m

PMPW: 95kg

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