Saturday, 11 December 2010

Coburg CC National Boulevard Crit 11th December 2010

75 minutes plus three laps with a 40km/h head wind on the back straight, another long day was on the cards at National Boulevard.

Four riders roll clear from the start and spend a few laps away.  A few bridging attempts were chased, marked, and pulled back into the bunch.  There was a Kosdown rider up the road so we were just keeping a check on things, no organised chasing on the front meant there were a number of short accelerations that put the hurt on us all.  The four up the road didn't take advantage of the space they'd been given and were reeled in at about the 8 minute mark.  One easy-ish lap later and people wanted to race again.  The wind was a major factor on both straights, and nobody wanted to be in it on the back straight! 

At the top of the course a rider in green kit (I didn't get his name) rolled off the front.  I'd seen a few team mates cover moves so it was my turn to cover one.  The two of us soon had a gap and it opened up quickly.  The headwind was tough so with a number of danger riders still back in the bunch (Hanson, Pilson, Clamp, a Drapac rider, other Nemesis and Rapido guys, just to name a few), I said to him we'd need a few more riders to come across to make this move stick.  He replies with, "Don't tell me how to ride a fucking bike!"... Oh c'mon Mr Grumpy, I thought we were all friends in a breakaway?  A few turns later his chain starts skipping and he sits on me for a whole lap... I wondered if Mr Grumpy was going to pull a turn again....?  He drops off my wheel so I sit up to work out whats going on - he's had what I'd call a "karma mechanical".  I tell him I'm going to keep riding and we part ways, me off the front solo and him to the sidelines watching the rest of the race.  And this was just the first 15 minutes in!

The bunch had given me a fair amount of distance off the front to use - so I kept my head down and kept cranking away.  Initially there was no reaction from the sidelines, it was a suicide move with over an hour of racing left.  But each lap I was off the front there was more reaction from the sidelines - time gaps being shouted to me, encouragement from Wayne and Abby who were traffic marshals on the roundabout.  I'd caught and passed C and D grades, B grade took a little more work to pass but getting past them was a good motivator.  I had to laugh when one of the B graders yells from the back, "A grade, KEEP LEFT" to the B grade bunch... and it was only me coming past!  30mins done, 40mins done, 50mins done, the other grades had finished and were now watching the race unfold from the sidelines.  Even Mr Grumpy who had started the breakaway move was on the sidelines with a huge smile - I took that as encouragement, he'd started the move and I'd run with it, so to speak.  Lisa Hocking tells me I had the gap as high as 1min20sec before the bunch decided they'd start closing me down. 

After the race Peter Ferrie (Kosdown) took great delight in telling me a story from back in the bunch.  At one point Adrian Hanson rolled up to him and asked who the hell was off the front, Pete replied with "That is an Australian time trial champion up there!".  Thanks Pete! :) I was TTing my arse off!

At 10 minutes to go, Steve Pilson, Paul Redenbach (both Footscray) and Lucas Renieris (HCC) bridged across to me.  My legs were toast but as there were only three of them we'd all be in the money if we kept clear.  The bunch was hovering at about 200m behind and after a lap we were all rolling turns to make the move stick.  We got the bell for the last lap and we had time to play cat and mouse.  Redenbach put the hammer down 400m to go and Pilson who was on 2nd wheel let his wheel go.  I didn't think I could match Pilson's sprint so I kept 4th wheel behind Renieris to see if I could at least roll him for 3rd.  We'd given Redenbach too much space and he had a gap that none of us would close - 1st place gone - Pilson was still waiting for either Renieris or me to jump.  Waiting... waiting... I jumped and drag raced Pilson to the line.  I was looking at his wheel waiting for him to roll me but I held him off for 2nd over the line.  It wasn't the win but after all the support I had from the side lines there was a small raising of the fist for the result to show the people who were watching what it meant.

Tough week both on and off the bike.  Having a race like this provides a good boost.

A Grade Results
1st Paul Redenbach 
2nd Shane Miller 
3rd Steve Pilson 
4th Lucas Renieris

No comments: