I have not been able to shift this cold all week, but seeing I raced last week and Wandi is my favourite course, I was going to race. Even if I felt a lot worse than last week by the time I rode out there.
Wandi is my favourite course, because there are 5 short climbs, though many would call then undulations, with the longest and steepest gaining 20m over 800m ,in the first 6 kilometres of the 8.5km circuit. I only wish the finish line was on top of one of these climbs rather than after a 2.5km gradual descent.
Feeling a little worse for wear, I settled at the back as the ticket collector (the last rider). Only moving up, as I found it easier to climb that most my competitors. I would drop back during on the short descent or next corner.
Sitting on the back and only stepping out in the final sprint is generally considered bad form in racing. So I had to work on a plan, the best I could come up with, was to head towards the front with about 1km to go, launch an attack about 800m out, which would consist of me sprinting for about 400m, then using that momentum and whatever legs I had to carry me the last 400m. I was hoping that an attack from that distance, would surprise everybody, give me a decent break and disrupt everybody else’s plans, so they could not catch me.
I survived on the back as we dropped a few riders and I moved up with about 1400m to go, the the bunch suddenly slowed so I had no choice but to launch my attack. Unfortunately it only lasted less than 300m, my legs died underneath me. I knew I was not successful in getting a break as I saw the shadow on another rider behind me. It was Elliot who had spent a lot of time on the front of the bunch, as he went past me and pulled to the left, I gave it a little dig to get on his wheel. Unfortunately Elliot’s legs were worse than mine and he tried to wave me through. I was carrying more momentum than Elliot but the bunch was very close behind and carrying a lot more. My options were: swing off my line and try and pass Elliot and not take out the front wheel of the front of the bunch, brake heavily hope I stayed on my line and the bunch was paying attention and did not collect me. In the end, I sat up, braked gently, overlapped wheels with Elliot hoping he did not move off his line and copped abuse from the bunch who were not paying attention.
I had enough momentum and energy to get on the back of the bunch and stay there, but that was it sprinting started from 300m mark, I took no part of it and finished at the back of the pack.
Lessons learnt from today, I am out of condition and need to improve my fitness for sprints and short attacks. If I plan to attack from 800m out attack from 800m or less out, not 1400m. If you overtake somebody and have not got the legs, just pedal don’t sit up and it you are closing in on other riders, watch them, don’t assume the will ride exactly how you expect. Also I need new plans for the next three Wandi adventures in the next couple of months, even if one is a handicap and another is a points race.