Sunday, 30 March 2014


SKCC Crits:
E grade only had two riders, and after a little while, it becoming obvious that there was a difference in their fitness and abilities. I rode with the faster dude, and when the time came for 3 laps to go, I told him to grab my wheel and drove the pace to see how he'd fare around the course at speed. He'll do just fine in D grade.

Talking of D grade, to get my kms up, I started out with them, but when there was continued overlapping between them and B, I rode on the back of B to police anyone taking a sit. Still, even at the higher pace, I got a bit bored, and rolled off to go find some food and another coffee.

Then, after a ham and cheese croissant had been devoured, and a flat front tub had been discovered, it was time to race. The buttery French pastry required no thought, but the tyre worried me. I'd put in a bit of latex, and pumped it up, but I wasn't confident it would survive. After a few laps, tentatively going through corners on what I was convinced was softening rubber, I took a lap and borrowed a spare wheel.

Once back in the race I found my team mates, and ensured everyone was kosher. Bing and Lui were playing up and off the front, Ritchie was down the back contending with jet lag, and DK was somewhere in between. I watched it all happening for a while, and got the sense that this was a 3 team affair, Stay True, O2 and my own Rush. The other two teams looked to be trying to isolate DK, to force him to push air on the front, and I wasn't convinced he looked as dominating as normal, so I tried to help out as best I could. I went with a move early on, sat myself on the front tapping tempo around midway, and even offered a hand of god at one point.

Attacks kept coming, but they also kept coming back. The right combination was never really created, and it just felt like the sprinters of the bunch had decided that a break just wasn't going to win this week. Perhaps the recent spate of small group and solo wins had been too much to bear. With that in mind, at some point I switched to trying to keep Ritchie protected, and move him up to the front. I wanted to have us inside the top 20 for the last 10 minutes, and into the top 10 for the last 5 minutes. I figured if it was just he and I, that I didn't want to waste our legs by pulling him past a heap of riders when things started to heat up.

Then DK put himself at our service. He'd been marked hard all day, and figured he was never going to get up the road, so wanted to do the next best thing. Rip legs off on the front. I slotted in between him and Ritchie, and was happily lead towards the front. No wait, to the front! I paniced for a moment, we hadn't even seen the 3 lap sign. Then I relaxed, if anyone could hold on for some solid time on the front, it was DK. We caught Bing and I let him slot on DKs wheel for a couple of laps, but we still weren't being shown the lap sign. I started to hurt, then a quick glance said we were off the front. I was excited, but knew I'd need the sign pronto. We didn't get it that lap, and on the next one someone made it across to my wheel. My legs were threatening to cramp when finally we got the sign.

DK pulled off around the back, but I was well past my use by date, and the bunch quickly closed. Thankfully Ritchie wasn't on the front, he'd found a wheel to sit on, but I vowed to finish the job I'd meant to be doing. I fought to get onto one of the wheels whipping past. Then I somehow cajoled Ryan Cotrell to help get me up the bunch with the last of his energy. I made it to about 10th wheel, but that was the last of what I had to. Ritchie had to fend for himself.

I'm relatively happy with what occurred. We didn't time a sprint train, but we tried something, and can learn from it. My legs weren't fantastic, but I put myself out there and got some quality time in the box. I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of the crit champs.

Strava link.

D: 112.3km
A: 136m

PMPW: 95kg

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