Sunday, 20 December 2015

20/12/2015

SKCC Crit Champs:
I did some things wrong, and I did some things right, but I'm pretty bloody happy where I ended up.

I wasn't super keen on racing today, I only put in an entry on Friday, but the forecast gave me pause. I woke up and after an espresso over ice I checked SKCC's facebook and twitter pages. I was hoping it would be called off, that someone would say "It's probably for the best we postpone it.", but no one did.

So I rolled down, and made a great choice, I stopped at 7/11 and bought a pair of pantyhose. No, wait! I also bought a 5kg bag of ice, used it to ensure my bottles were as cold as could be, and dumped more into said stockings to drape around my neck. 20 minutes in and I was still feeling cool despite the 37°C temp, I was so happy about that decision, that I might have been a touch complacent. Moves had been going, but everything was either being fried by the wind, chased down, or both. I figured we were set for a lovely 50 minuted trundle around, then a kick for the line.

Instead, a few guys went up the road, then a few more, then some more and Shit! the break was looking solid while the bunch was looking done. I had two boys in the move, but I really really wanted to have a shot at the win today. Probably not the best team mentality, and the rolling turns with a couple of others was definitely not the best team behaviour. Thankfully Jase Nevins came rocking past and I jumped on while he pulled us clear. Knowing I wasn't dragging the bunch closer to my team mates was helpful, but to be fair... I wasn't actually sure Jase and I were getting any closer. We sat up a little, giving up some hard fought for ground, to let a couple of other boys get on. The extra legs were welcome, but the break was almost out of sight on the main straight. I wasn't convinced it was coming back.

Instead of worrying about that, I just worked on my turns. I wanted to hold them at 450W, though they were often sitting at 500. The ice was well gone by now, and I was slowly making my way through the bottles of warming water. Thankfully a massive mental boost came, Raphael Freinstein had pulled the pin from the break. If that name doesn't ring a bell, he was the dude that absolutely pantsed my effort at the 2014 SKCC World Champs. I told the others that the break had just lost a big engine, and started holding slightly longer turns.

With scant minutes left in the race 3 of us made contact with the break. I rolled a couple of turns, using it as a chance to suss out who had on black/orange numbers (eligible for the masters win), and who had a black/white one (just eligible for elite). "Gouldy from O2 might be an issue, but he seems tired", I thought. "That TKM dude (Nick)... can he sprint? have you seen him sprint at Noize? I think he can sprint... he's a threat.". I figured I was a fair shot at the masters title. Shannon Johnson was going to do bad things to the sprint, I was as confident of that as I was about myself.

Lui gave me a wheel to sit on, but he punctured with 2 laps to go. I marked a move or two, but after we lapped the main field the pace slowly dropped. No one wanted to flinch, no one wanted to drag anyone with them, I certainly didn't. Gouldy hit it out of corner 2/3, and I jammed myself on his wheel. He knew he was marked, and slowed, and slowed and slowed, and "Shit, this is too slow, I have to lay off his wheel, but he's slowing too much! Aaaaargh FUCK IT, IT'S TIME! I had a foot of space to his wheel and I ran at it and then stepped out into the head wind. We were still on the sweeper, there was a short straight, a 90° turn, and then a tailwind run to the line. I hoped I'd caught SJ off guard, but a tiny peek under the arm said he'd found me. I dove into the corner and had one thought. "Fight to the line!

SJ kicked past soon after the corner, he had the elite win, but I wanted the masters title. "Stay low, keep kicking, click another gear". I could feel someone... no it was... a presence, a mass, an abstract of a man, and they were coming up my left. I kept driving hard out of the saddle, I had no road elevation to use, but I was on the smooth tarmac on the far right. I threw hard for the line, and was mostly confident I'd held them off.

It was shortly after the elite podium that I found out/realised SJ is a masters rider too. He'd been wearing the black/white #1 dossard of last year's elite champ.

I'm pretty bloody happy, and only the pain of a post race slurpee included icecream headache could take the smile off my face... and that was only temporary... until the next one.

Strava link.
D: 56.7km
A: 98m

PMPW: 86kg

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