Day 1 the Mark Dwyer Memorial Handicap
I had a couple of club based handicaps under my belt now. They were hard but I felt good about were I was at. Bunch 6 which was 10 minutes off block was were I was placed and seem fair based upon my recent club races. Well put simply they went out hard and I burnt all my matches in the first 20 minutes.
The group went out hard from the gun and I was struggling through each turn, I hit my max heart rate pretty early on and my rotations got harder and harder.
As we crested poets corner and I tried to skip a turn but the guy that I told to go through refused and this caused a gap that put both of us out. Within a few seconds another couple of riders went off the back as well with one of them giving up to turning around and going back.
Once I got dropped I did as just kept my head down and sat on a constant cadence and waited till I got caught by the next group. I was on my own on a long stretch of road, hands over the bars in the best TT position I could muster. I got sucked along mid way through the group and they pushed me into rotation which I did not have the power to hold, especially given the crappy road surface. I found Hugh at the back and we hung on for one more hill. We pushed to the top and I held on a bit longer then him but I did not quite get back for the corner and spent the last match I had trying to pace back the group. The com car came through and I sat up to wait for Hugh. He was cooked and we just road together for the next 10 or so till his HR came down. After that we had a selfie together sent it to what turned out to be both our coach then made our way up the KOM. We both figured to do our best but save what we had for the next day. My bright happy and cheerful face was welcome sight (haha) by my and Hugh’s coach who was standing on the KOM, having just received our selfie that I text him. He just shook his head and laughed as we went by.
We swapped off turns at about a 85% pace, formed a gruppeto and go lost through Gulgong. I felt so tired after that and my legs, glutes and butt were so sore. Would have liked to have hung in longer, at least till we got caught or we caught a group. I don’t feel so bad in know that people were dropping off everywhere and that this group was not caught till 3k to go.
Day 2 Oatley Wines Scratch Race
I wouldn’t say I was disappointed yesterday but I was sore. Woke up feeling not to bad all things considered. I wanted to finish the days race but just set myself the goal of finishing the first lap.
Race started much more civilised then the day before. Pace picked up when we got onto the main road but I just found the biggest guy I could and sat on his wheel. (He was good for this throughout the day 🙂 ) A 1 man break then 2 more went up the road. I heard the Dubbo boys say it was their crew and they backed off. Pace felt good and HR was constant. The first climb was tough but stayed about 2/3 of the way back and just pushed up while a few went out the back here. The following descent was quick but nobody seemed too concerned about the gaps. We re-grouped at the bottom and made our way through the valley towards the next climb. It was blowy here with cross winds cutting almost 90 degrees to the road.
I got over the top to the turn off to muddy hut and followed the group down. I found Phil from CCCC and stuck to his wheel as we hit the KOM climb. Of all the climbs today I found this to be just short and punchy. Got to the top feeling ok before making the descent and took in a gel. The descent went well and went back to the middle of the group. Turned onto the road back and that 6k drag back into poets. This just sucked… Picked wheel and just stuck it out. Tried to keep my cadence at 90+ and be efficient with my matches. I loved the descent here, not steep but fast with those 55 corners. I found that I made up a few spots on the descent and this put me in good sted to keep up through the lumpy bits. Hit the turn for the lap point and was feeling good. Big thanks to Yoni here for cheering me on! 🙂
The pace started to pick up here and my focus became survive. My earlier delusions about winning went out the window. Not long after the turn onto Ulan road a couple went up the road, the group started to splinter and a few tried to bridge across. A move went and the group panicked. I let it go around me and let them carry me back. This charge was led by Phil and ultimately was the last time we saw the group of seven that broke away. We hit the first climb and I struggled. I went out the back and started to alternate with 40:40’s but kept dropping. I ended up about 10 or so meters back with a few others but just charged up with all I could muster. I just got on over the top but now we had 3 groups on the road and I was right at the back. Everyone started farting around and coasting the descent even though the back stragglers had a massive gap to the main group. I pushed hard through the individuals and had a couple hairy moments at speed. The cross winds here were pushing everyone around every where and just help the fron buch get further.
I managed to get back on by the start of the next climb. I was stuffed and the pace backed off for a few minutes before it went again. I was able to hold on till the turn of on muddy hut and I’m at the back feeling like crap. Next goal. Make the KOM with the group.
The descent went fast but I was able to make some spots up and found another huge rider. I got a tow for the first half of the hill and then just pushed were I could. Got over the top with a few behind me. Next goal, make it to the end of that 6k slog. I was at the back here with Phil again. Took on my third gel and tried to breath. The pace was stronger on the second lap and as we started the slog the guys on the front were fighting as some were not pulling their weight as their team mates were up the road. The pace was solid and everyone was tired. Some people just become desperate idiots here and we had a couple of moments. Held in again but was stuffed. I hit the descent again and found that another big rider. The descent was fast but I just tried not to use any energy.
I ended up towards the front and whilst the riders were away I was actually able to roll a few turns, however I think the group had resigned themselves that the group up the road was not coming back. The pace dropped a little from 5k to the turn off then it was all on. I just gave all I had up that hill. We were sprinting for pride here and this was getting messy. I bumped a guy and was pushed wide. I just pushed on and tried to have wide shoulders. I pushed from person to person and we still had a 1k to go.
Sat for a second and free wheeled till an opportunity presented itself then pushed hard when somebody gave up and a gap opened. I just pushed through any holes I could, watching Phil as my maker point. Not far from the line the guy in front came across and I just had to touch my brakes.
15th of 38. Really happy with that. Big thanks to Mick Curran for coming out to support all his athletes.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulRdRM6OyPc ]