4 Races in 2 days

WCMCC Mark Keyser Tour C grade
29 & 30 of September 2013

After my last race with WCMCC, when I rode away from D grade with 2.5km to go, to score a convincing win, the day after racing hard with PDCC. I thought it only fair that I ride C grade in a two day event were my habit of racing with Peel on Saturday and WCMCC or ATTA on Sunday should give me and advantage on day 2.

The prologue

Wandi, 9am Saturday

The is the one event I should excel at, an all out effort around Wandi on a regular road bike on a course I know well. I produced a measured effort, charging up the short punchy climb, riding a strong steady pace for the rest of the course and barely able to sprint to the finish. I was happy with my effort, though my time was good enough for 12th of 17 riders over a minute down on the leader. My time was good enough for 3rd in D grade or the back and only just in B grade.

Scratch race aka seven laps in the pouring rain

Wandi 12:00pm Saturday

I went into the race with a simple tactic, play it low key, be patient and see what happens. First lap, two riders get away, get a reasonable gap. Second time up Wandi Drive another rider tries and bridge, I joined him. He made it halfway and started dropping back to the bunch. I was about to do the same, when I saw one of the rider’s ahead had punctured and I made the effort to bridge to the lone leader.

Next lap and a half we tried to eek out a gap, but the bunch where unwilling to let us go. So by the end of the 3rd lap, we were swept up. Instead of settling down to my normal position of ticket collector. I hung round the front of bunch, got in a couple of half hearted break attempts, chased down a break and even launched a short lived lone attack. So after a lap and half, I dropped back to get a breather and try and work out why I was having trouble seeing. I was wearing my new Giro Air Attack Shield and the visor was doing a great job keeping the rain of my face, but my regular glasses behind the visor were fogging up. On the 6th lap, there were a couple of surges, responded well to the ones up Bodeman Road, but along Lyon Road there was one surge too many for me and I was dropped.

Rode the next lap and half solo, hoping to catch other riders as they were dropped. It was a lonely wet ride, with my visor up and glasses off so I could see the road ahead. Finished 14th, butI was happy given the amount of work I did and was feeling confident for tomorrow.

There be hills in the hills

Pickering Brook, Sunday 9am

I went into the race with one aim, ride conservatively, do not ride on the front, do not attack, do not initiate a chase, wait until the last lap. I had never ridden the course before, and I did not have enough time for a full warmup lap. Instead I rode the last couple of kms in both directions and thought the final climb up Repatriation Road before turning on the finishing straight would be a good place to attack.

The first lap was no real surprises except at the back of the course there was a the sharp descent before a short steep ascent, which had gravel across the road. I ended up riding it very cautiously the first few laps. The final climb up Repatriation Road was causing me difficulties. I ended up letting a little gap grow each time and then easily made it back on Pickering Brook Road.

That was until the 4th lap, swung onto to see C grade passing A grade. Which meant I had to pass A grade bunch to get back on. Only problem A was completely across the lane and there was oncoming traffic. I was only a couple of A grade riders off rejoining my grade. When the lead A grade rider swung out and launched an attack, suddenly every A grade rider in their bunch was swinging out between me and C grade. I ended up slowing and riding on the wrong side of the road to avoid accidents. So what was a 5m gap became a 30m gap.

Then C grade reacted to being passed by A grade and the two bunch where riding at pace down Pickering Brook Road and I was being distanced. Once they bunches turned the corner into Forest Road, A grade kept going, C grade slowed, and I had a chance to close the 100m or so gap. I was getting close, but down the sharp descent I was overly cautious and lost too much speed, I put in a big effort to get back on up the ascent, I made contact and then promptly popped and lost contact.

The next half a lap was a struggle, but I made it through and recovered. Next time round the back of the course, I through caution to the wind, found I could really drive down the descent and carry a lot of speed up the climb. A little later I was joined by a lone D grade escapee, we rode side by side and used each other as pace makers. Up Repatriation Road, we were caught by D grade, and I was out the back of that group. A few minutes later, I went past D grade on Pickering Brook Road and I was off chasing a couple of C grade who were off the back of the group, caught two C graders and a couple of A graders who also popped on my final lap to finish 15th.

Again it was my mistakes and lack of confidence that cost me. I should of been more confident down the sharp descent and not used so much energy up the other side. I should of be more aggressive getting past A grade and used my voice more.

Citerium time

Kewdale, Sunday 2:30pm

This was the race I was most worried about, last year it took me more half a criterium season before I was cornering confidently. Without a lot of recent practice I was worried how I would cope. In a road race I can quickly recover from a bad corner with a good burst of speed, but criterium too many corners and not enough bursts of speed.

I settled down to the back of the bunch and found that I was not the only one who had trouble cornering, I stuffed up a couple of corners and ended up chasing back on, a couple of riders in front of me did the same and I expended a lot of energy getting back on. After 18 minutes, I stuffed up a corner and could not chase back on, I was done. Spent the next seven minutes, trying not to get lapped and a DNF, it was going to be hard work with 17 minutes and two laps remaining.

Fortunately for me, somebody decided it was a 25 minutes plus two laps race and I finished on the same lap as the bunch for 16th out of the 16 finishers. There was a single DNF.

Overall, I finished 15th of 16 finishers. I was a little disappointed that I did not finish with the bunch in the two road races and went off the back so early in the criterium. I learnt a lot and will be better prepared for next year. Which I will race as C grade, though I will drop to D grade for the criteriums, until my confidence returns.

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