Got promoted to D grade, well I was kind of promoted last week in the handicap race. Wore an E grade number but started with the first group of D grade riders 14 minutes behind the other E graders. Unfortunately the handicappers underestimated 2 of my fellow E graders, who could climb and time trial and they finish 1st and 2nd, more that 5 minutes ahead of any other riders. The handicappers got me right, finished 21st out of 42 riders. I was happy that my time was 3 minutes faster than the winner’s time, who I expected to have difficultly following up the 5km climb.
I had no great expectations for today, my quads have not recovered from last Saturday and I felt it during my two short rides during the week. Serpentine is not my favourite course, flat with a fairly rough surface. Plus I had a very disorganised day and only arrived twenty minutes before the start, soI did not get a good warm up or scout the finish properly. I had a simple aim finish in the main bunch, getting spat out the back on the last couple of Ks would of been acceptable.
Rolled up to the start line to find out that A and B grades got combined, which meant we started a couple of minutes early and only had to complete four 8.8km laps, the same as my previous E grade races here, instead of the usual D grade 5 laps.
From the start, three riders took control, sharing the work between themselves and keeping the pace up, so I just tucked in as the last rider just behind Pat, who I ridden a couple of social rides. I quickly realised that I do not corner fast enough for D grade, and spent some time trying to improve. On the 2nd lap, we passed E grade, who had stopped at the side of the road after a nasty accident had injured a couple of riders.
The pace was fairly consistent, after the first lap, I was worried if I could keep up the pace for four laps. I did not need to, other than needing to work hard out of a couple of corners, I stayed on the back of the group and it stayed together. A couple of riders got away, but before I needed to decide to chase them, other riders brought them back.
With a couple Ks to go, the pace picked up, riders started getting spat out the back, and I was working my way towards the front, with a few hundred metres to go I found myself in third place. With the two riders in front, up and sprinting, I decided I could not make it across to them and just stayed seated and drove to the finish, another rider flashed past me on the outside and looks like they caught the two in front and then on the line, then Pat snuck passed me on the inside for 4th.
Happy with my performance, even if I could of done better, especially after the other riders mentioned this was the hardest constant pace they had ridden all year. I also learnt, no matter what, even if you are feeling crap, scout the finish, have a plan or three, no matter what sprint hard from your chosen sprint point.
My thoughts and best wishes are with the two riders from E grade who go taken away by ambulance.