Club Teams racing meant I was representing Hawthorn CC. A rare occurrence as I don't actually own any of their kit. This put me up against most of the Kosdown boys who were representing Coburg CC. An interesting scenario. Do I chase my team mates, or ride for my club, or a bit of both? It ended up being a bit of both as Coburg and Hawthorn always had someone up the front all day.
The first few laps were sketchy as hell as riders shuffled around. On lap two there was that nails-down-the-blackboard sound from somewhere behind me, riders down, bikes in bits. I only caught a glimpse but could see Cam McKenzie (Coburg) and another rider no longer on their bikes. I'm told that a rider in the bunch pulled a very dodgy move, riding into Cam, the result being him hitting the deck, fence, and his bike hard. Peter Ferrie (Coburg) saw the incident and took it up with the commissars after the race. They didn't see it so could only suggest he lodge a complaint/protest to the Combine - Peter is from the old-school bunch, so bypassed the officials and had a word directly to the rider involved. From all reports, it sounds like the rider will hold his line from now on. :)
Coming into the first sprint I was mid pack. I had no intention of having a go at the first sprint but after a ripple strip detour the road ahead opened up and I had a dig. 800m to the line with a few corners was an eternity. Olly Phillips was leading out Ross Muller (both Brunswick) and Ross rolled me by 1/2 a wheel on the line. 730W for 1:02 isn't enough to beat that lead-out and sprinter combo. Bugger. Still, I snagged some points for HCC.
The lap leading to the second sprint was much the same. A sketchy bunch. Again, no intention to challenge for it but out of the last corner I was the best positioned HCC rider so had a dig at sprint #2. No dice, only 5th or so and no points. The sprint had split the bunch so I kept the hammer down to see if we could force a break. I came past two or three guys who'd contested the sprint, with one of them swinging off wildly to the side and almost taking me out. Advice was given to said rider, starting with the letter F and 'thanks'. The bunch soon responded and no break was allowed up the road.
Somewhere between the second and third sprint the bunch split into two. HCC had more riders in the front bunch than the rear so I sat back and watched the gap grow. The rear bunch was happy to let me sit on the front and tap out a very slow pace. Every club was represented in the front group so it was pretty much race over for us. For every lap they let me sit on the front, the gap to the front group opened up more and more. A few young snappers came to the front every now and then, just as one started to attack us, I yelled to him "Mate, you've got the numbers up the road, don't do it"... he dropped back to the bunch and sat in. Honestly, I had no idea if he had the numbers up the road, but it saved me from having to chase the little bugger down.
In the closing laps the front group really backed off and Sunbury CC put a number of riders on the front of the chase bunch, closing the gap from 1/2 a lap to only a few hundred meters! One more lap and we'd have caught them. Normally I'd love to have contributed to the chase, pulling back the lead bunch and having a shot, but this was team racing and HCC still had the numbers in the front group. In the end we didn't catch them and I came 2nd in the bunch kick for a billion'th place, some unmarked Preston nugget took off early and I didn't get on his wheel.
Official results had Italo 1st, Brunswick 2nd, and Hawthorn 3rd. Not bad for us, we'd started with no plans, no tactics, and just raced as things unfolded. I had a nice tail wind for the 35kms home. A good day all round.
Next up things get busy! Five TTs over the next two weekends. Geelong, Richmond, Balliang, Kew, and Kew again as Blackburn and CyclingVictoria are holding two ITTs on the same day, same place, same course, same officials... one $40, the other $20. What is with that? You'd think they'd be able to run the one event and call it a day? Or give us an option of free entry to the second one if we're to suffer over that bugger of a course for another 20kms? But before that we've got the YarraTri ITT, $30 entry and we get electronic timing and a whole show bag of event sponsor goodies! Now that's how it's done. Bring it on!
(Thanks to Paul Williams for the Calder Park pic too. I'll put the photo credit with the pic itself once Blogger unravels its current problem with the editor)
Western suburbs... this is how they roll(ed).