After my last attempt at a handicap race, I was hoping for reasonable handicap and appeared to get one. The limit (1st away) group consisted of the better riders from E grade. With the exception of their sprinter Scott, who was in the group at 3 minutes with Dave a sprinter from D grade, who won the last handicap at Serpentine from limit, D grader Lara who can climb a lot better than those two and me. The group starting two minutes behind us included D grade strongman Mark who usually spends most his time on the front of the bunch.
The problem was our fist lap was slow, I did not realise it at the time, but my warm up lap was a full minute faster. I am sure we did not make any inroads into the time gap of the front group. On the 400m @ 4% climb on the 2nd lap, we were caught by Mark and Kyle from the group behind. Both Lara and I jumped on the back and bade Scott and Dave farewell. Most of the work for the next half a lap was done by Mark, with Kyle doing a share, with me and Lara making guest appearances on the front. By the end of the lap, Lara was gone. Halfway round the next lap, Kyle and I were struggling, I dropped back and kept a steady pace, by the end of the lap I passed Kyle who had popped.
Approaching the 400m climb on the 3rd lap, I saw the 4 riders from limit group for the 1st time as Mark caught them. I set myself a task of catching those 4 and continued riding at a steady pace. The next lap and half was a solo effort, I was making small inroads into the gap and wondering where everybody else was. When an A grade rider went flying past, followed another 33 riders from all groups behind me. I made a mistake, I should of accelerated as soon as the 1st rider went past, instead of waiting to jump on the back of the group. After touching 50kmh to get on the back of the bunch, I decided to save my effort and try and catch my original target.
The next time I saw the limit group was approaching the 400m climb for the final time, there was only 3 of them and the gap was far smaller. I put in an effort to catch them, it was a slow process and it took another half a lap to close the final gap on the last climb, 2km from the finish. I got my breath back, rolled to the front with a km to go and rode off the front with 700m or so to go. Finishing 35th out of 55 riders and 40th on overall time.
After the race, I talked to a few people, the final limit rider managed to stick with the big bunch for a little longer and then rode in with another rider who got dropped a minute ahead of me. The D graders I usually ride with, got caught a lap before me, a few managed to hang on for two laps, before getting dropped in the final km and Mark who rode by himself until the final climb when his was caught by the bunch and managed to finish with them.
Overall happy with my performance, power data showed my best efforts ever from 7 minutes to 75 minutes. So I can’t really complain, I could of done with an extra couple of minutes advantage over scratch and needed to of put more effort in on the first lap or two. Then it would of been interesting.