Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Coburg CC National Boulevard Crit July 17th, 2010

Due to our sport being 'Euro Cool' our road season is in the middle of winter... but, against the odds, the sun was out and the road was dry for a sneaky mid-road-season crit at National Boulevard.  My race bike is still under repair, so it was out with the trainer bike and not-so-aero wheels.  I'd even forgot to pickup my race number after paying my entry... a novice mistake soon corrected as I walked off. :)

The Melbourne to Ballarat was on the same day so I was hoping it'd be a medium paced 1hr race I could use as a warm-up for the State Teams Time Trial in Ballarat the next day.  No chance.  A grade consisted of five or six Kosdown riders, two Italo, Chris Steffanoni (Search2Retain), some quick whippet from the Merida MTB Team, and a good mix of other club riders.  We'd all jokingly agreed to a neutral lap to get warmed up, until Kos attacks on a solo mission.  Never out of sight he was back in the bunch after about 15 minutes. 

Attack, small break, chase, and repeat.  Kosdown had the numbers so were on the attack, but after a few laps riders would swarm to the front and close the moves down.  With the tail wind on the finishing straight there were a number of high speed accelerations off the front, but they were all soon back in the bunch.  There was too much energy in the bunch, nobody was getting away, and the bunch wasn't thinning out.

At around the 50 minute mark there were two or three Kosdown riders a few 100m off the front who were stopped by a tray truck at the roundabout.... the bunch got within 50m before they were off again, then someone attacks out of the corner towards the truck to close to the riders up the road - a few mumblings from the bunch, like you'd get if you attacked in a feed zone, so this move wasn't going to be let go in a hurry.  We all latched on and the bunch was strung out.  By the time we'd reached the top of the course 400m into the head wind up the road the bunch was lined out single file.  Seven of us put the hammer down and split the bunch to bits.  The truck attacker, Steffo, and a few others missed the split.  No Steffo!? KEEP ROLLING was the call!  Regardless of form, Steffo is a danger in any race!  We kept the pace high for the next 20mins, our sprinter, Sammy, was with us so I'd offered him my lead-out services.  On the bell lap Kos attacks solo, soon followed by David Holt - both Kosdown so I wasn't going to shut them down.  Sammy was still on my wheel.  Onto the back straight the Merida MTB Team rider attacks to bridge across to Kos and David, time to move!  We pulled him back just as he unclips his left leg... "Cramp!" was the call when I asked if he was ok as we rolled past.... Kos and David had 50m and were not going to be caught.  With Sammy on my wheel I kept winding it up on the front and opened a sprint at about 300m.  100m to go at 64km/h Sammy launched past with his trackie sprint and took 3rd easily.  I rolled over for 4th.  We got in a good lead-out practice and managed to keep the others off our wheel. 

I had a cool-down lap with James(?) from St Kilda.  #10 in black kit, this was his first A grade hit-out and was mixing it up the front all race like a gun. I also read online that someone who was there spectating thought it looked like fun and is now looking to join a club and start racing. Regardless of the club they join, or races they'll do, that is a great outcome for the officials running the event and for the competitors for showing up and racing.  

A Grade Results:
1st - Kos Samaras (Coburg/Kosdown)
2nd - David Holt (HCC/Kosdown)
3rd - Sam Lilley (Coburg/Kosdown)
4th - Shane Miller (HCC/Kosdown)

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