Sunday, 17 February 2008

HCC Kew Crits - 13/02/2008

35 starters, the biggest A grade field seen at Kew this summer. Lots of big hitters on the start line - Spink, Newall, Reece Stevens, a number of pro women from Cervelo-Lifeforce, and the ever winning Peter Braunstiens. I was chattng to Spink at the start and he wasn't too keen on having the pro women in A grade as they'd caused a number of incidents the night before at Sandown.

There was an ambo on the course scooping up someone from the previous race, so we were given 35mins + 3. Off the line there were no major attempts to get away - into the hairpin for the first lap and a Cervelo-Lifeforce rider attacks 20m before the turn, in the neutral zone we'd been told about by the race commissionaire just 2 minutes prior. LOTS of noise in the pack aimed at her for such a dangerous move. Spink had seen enough and stomps up the hill, I'm on his wheel and getting dragged along. Newall arrives on the front on the same laps and keeps powering on. Within two laps we had 7 off us pulling away from the danger bunch.

Spink, Newall, Grimsy, Stephens, Riseley, Braunstiens, and me. I'd managed to make it into _the_ break that wasn't going to be caught. I was able to pull a few turns on the flat or through the hairpin and up the hill. But when Spink or Newall were on the front it was a game of hang-on with everything I had. The sprint came early and wasn't contested by Newall who was on the front, I gave it some gas and took it from Stevens who tried to sneak up the inside. At least I'd have some socks at the end of the race if I couldn't hold the break.

10mins to go and Newall and Spink started attacking the break. Grimsy, Stevens, and Riseley did some great work keeping them on a short leash and not off the front. Grimsy and another rider did manage to get 40m on the break at one point, I jumped to pull everyone back as I hadn't been doing any major contributor on the front, but they let me go. There was the option of bridging to the two ahead and powering on, but with Spink, Braunstens, and Newall in tow it would not have been given much room to move. All seven of us were soon back together.

3 to go and I was still there, 2 to go I was holding up well, bell lap and no real moves down the hill. I took off on the flat, leading out Braunstiens into the corner. I sat up and let the six pass me before the turn as I backed my sprint for a placing. It worked out - I managed to pick off a few up the hill and take 4th in what was without a doubt the fastest crit I've ever raced at Kew. 41.3km/h average and power numbers through the roof on other weeks. These boys can ride, and I was stoked at just being there in the break, $50 for 4th and a pair of TFM socks for the sprint win were nice bonuses on top of that.

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