Behaving myself

WCMCC D Grade Wandi 21 July 2013

My cold was beginning to bite, but not one to miss an opportunity to race. I rode out to Wandi and asked nicely if I could ride in D grade. I explained the cold, did not want to race a couple of laps of C grade and end up off the back, I allowed to race on the one proviso, I did not win, which was my intention. The aim was a good six laps, doing more than my share of work, with a 1.5km to go, hit the front lead everybody out, drop off with 500m to go and finish 10th.

Recognised a couple of faces from Peel D grade races and the combined C & D grade kermess here a few weeks back. Though most the 21 riders were new to me.

Anybody who has raced with me or has read my race reports, knows that I prefer to ride at the back, on the front or off the front of the bunch. With WCMCC C grade, I try to ride in the bunch, to gain confidence in riding in large groups. Today with D grade, it was a different story, I quickly realised I didn’t trust my fellow riders, a number did not keep their position, shifting off their line for no reason. I was on the brakes constantly downhill and in corners even with my limited cornering ability.

I quickly found it frustrating, riding in the bunch or even right at the back. So after two laps, I decided I was going to front for the Wandi Road, Bodeman Road section. I set a decent pace, nothing like the attacks the previous week and by the time I was halfway up the Bodeman Road climb I had a gap on the bunch. So I slowed, a few riders caught me as I crested the climb and I was promptly on the brakes again.

Next time, the pace I kept was a little slower, but I kept driving until we hit Lyon Road. Then relented and let the bunch swallow me up. The next time up Wandi Road, I was close to the front, but did not drive the pace. Another rider, who appear to of learnt from my example, drove up the climb on Bodeman Road and nobody reacted. Down the other side, up the short climb and onto Lyon Road and still no reaction. As I rode up Lyon Road, I was so tempted to try and bridge, but I behaved myself and rode alongside their team mate and wondered why nobody else was trying to bridge or bring her back with only a lap and half to go.

I was sitting on the back, when B grade came past us on the little inclines on De Haer Road. It was a little scary for some of the B grade riders going past as a couple of D grade riders just shifted out without looking or thinking.

Looking down the road, our breakaway rider was no where to be seen. It appeared they hitched a little ride with B grade. The race referees noted it as well. But with nobody in pursuit and a clear gap, the rider on the break was given the win, with a warning and an extra lap as penance.

I sat well back for the bunch’s final lap, the pace was better, but nothing special. Until they turn on De Haer Road for the final time and slowed up the last two little rises. The bunch was spread out occupying the full lane, with the occasional rider crossing the double white line as riders just shifted around. It became frustrating at the back, as one rider went off the front, with one of the stronger riders sitting on her wheel. The gap never got to 10 metres, it looked like everybody was leaving the rider out front to fry.

So finally when the double white lines ended and the bunch stopped moving around, I attempted to go to the front and set a decent pace, probably around 36 to 38kph. Except, I needed to accelerate to get to the front and it was on a gentle downhill, so when I hit the front. I looked at my speed, I was sitting on 47kph. I eased back, expecting riders to grab my wheel and tried to settle down for a kilometer of two at 38 to 40kph, before dropping off. Except I jumped at 2.5km to go, I was trying to ride at a set speed into a mild headwind and I tired quicker than expected. So with about 1km to go, I was struggling to keep 35kph and a rider came up on the outside of me, I eased off.

Rolled to the back, expecting to be spat out and the pace eased. No issue, caught my breath for 500m and suddenly we were off and sprinting. I had energy in my legs and started moving up, then a trial rider shifted out without looking and almost took my front wheel out. My evasive action almost had me taking another rider out, a swear word, followed by keep your line and I was off chasing, to finish 11th

In retrospective, I would not of been worried if I did this race last year. Twelve months on, I expect a little more from my competitors, but then most of .my usual competitors are more experienced. The main reason I will not race D grade with WCMCC again, is it was too easy, even with my cold, I could of easily just ridden away on a number of occasions for the win, but I did not, I was not there to win, I wanted a decent workout.

One Response to “Behaving myself”

  1. Nick Cowie » Wrong grade, right race, still lacking the confidence Says:

    […] got given a number and found myself in D grade. Which was going to be an interesting race. As the last time I raced WCMCC D grade I felt I could of ridden away from the bunch at […]