Only 5 of us at the start line today, 2 regulars, John who I should of recognised for beating me home in the first two races of the season and a young triathlete coming back from a serious broken leg, with the scars to prove it and racing in her first ever road race.
The Wandi circuit is lumpy, you turn off 500m after the start/finish, climb for a 500 metres, turn in what was a very sketchy corner with a lot of sand and debris, descend for about 800m, then 400m up at 5%, followed by 100m false flat, 100m up at 6%, the down at 8%+, up again, turn, flat for about 500m, climb for 300m, down for 500m, climb for 600m, followed by a gentle descent for 2.3km to the start finish.
As it was raining, only a fine drizzle at the start, all races were shorten by a lap. At the time. that did not affect my planned tactics which was to sit on or near the front and chase any escapees down. I lead the group round the first third of the lap, until the sharp descent when John took over. I quickly found, that while my vision was bad on the front, in the group it was non existent. At least everybody was extra cautious in the corners.
The rain had picked up and I was a little grumpy, so when we hit the 400m at 5% for the second time, I rode it at my own fierce pace, putting a little distance into everybody and kept riding. Three riders got back on, but I just kept riding, until we hit the start finish line, when I swung off to recover briefly for the expected attack up the steeper climb in a couple of minutes time. As we went through the sketchy corner, we avoided a crash by another grade, a broken collarbone and serious road rash where seen at the finish.
At the bottom of the climb, the attack came, not from who I was expecting, the young triathlete took off. I managed to bridge the gap and we rode away. A couple of times it look the pursuers where catching, so we put the power down. About 400m out, I just increased the tempo, my former allied look spent and was a few metres adrift. I moved to the left and drove for the line, checked over my right shoulder, nothing. Next thing I knew, she was on my left and beat me to the line by centimetres.
I am going to have to learn the young triathlete’s name as I am sure I will be chasing her out of E grade and into D Grade in the near future.