Position (on the final corner) is everything

Race Report PDCC Serpentine D Grade race 22 September

If asked which pro cyclist I ride like, I would love to say Marianne Vos, but the truth is David Moncoutie and it is not related to climbing ability. I am OK at short climbs, where I can use a burst of power to get over it, anything long enough to involve power to weight ratios and I am off the back, unlike Moncoutie.

Both I and David Moncoutie suffer from poor balance and neither of use can take both hands of the bars without a serious risk of crashing. Which was when you saw Moncoutie racing, he was either at the front of the race or at the very back of the peleton. I never understood why, until I started racing. Now, I do exactly the same. I sit at the back of group because I feel it is safer for me and other riders. It has disadvantages, you can miss the break, you have to work harder out of corners and you need to expend more energy to get to the front when needed. However, given the nervous energy I expend when riding close to the front or in the middle of a group, watching what is happening all around me, I much prefer to be at the back only worrying about what is happening in front.

Most of the other grades had 5 to 7 riders, except D grade we had about 16 riders. One of our riders gave a talk about not repeating the aggressive racing tactics early, that we had in a race a few weeks ago. While in my opinion they were valid race tactics, it did spoil the race for the riders unable to keep up initial hectic pace. I was marshalling that day, and saw a few unhitched by the 10km mark and was happy I chose that day to do my marshalling duties. Given that two of the more powerful riders had made it to C grade and a few riders who don’t regular race riding, it was going to be interesting to see what happen today. Given I haven’t had much luck lately, I was going to sit back, watch what was going on and aim survive to the end.

The race went to plan for the first 3 laps, a good steady pace, I sat back, did not contribute to the pace making, as there was no reason, particularly as I did not expect to get involved in the final sprint. On the 4th lap, the speed picked up on the back straight, then as turned the final corner with almost 3km to go, the race exploded. I spent the next 800m passing riders, looking for the front of the race. Found it, 10 riders with Mark G. on the front, about 25m ahead. The next 1.5km or so it was a drag race between me and Mark who was on the front the whole time. I got to dodge riders getting dropped, including one drifting from the left side of the road to the right as I was passing them.

I didn’t get back on, with a few hundred metres to go the attacks started, riders went in all directions, but I just did not have the energy to catch any of the last riders.

Still, I was happy with my performance, after fast paced 30km, I managed to almost match Mark in what was 2km+ drag race at 40kmh into a crosswind and finished 9th. I just needed to be in a better position for the final corner. Well next week is last race of the season, so I will be looking for a better position in the last few kilometres and maybe I will do a few turns on the front.

Race details on Strava

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