First crit of the season

WCMCC C grade criterium

3 November 2013
35 minutes + 2 laps

After my last criterium, which was same grade, same course and saw me only last 17 minutes with the bunch. I went into today with a simple mission, finish with the group.

The wind was going to have a major impact on the race, with a 30+kph easterly and the finishing straight running ESE. Another factor was of the 22 in C grade, 5 were members of the Riders Choice team, an the only other team represent had two riders. Which had a couple of the regulars expecting the Riders Choice team to send a couple of riders up the road and their team mates to sandbag on the front on the group.

The first few laps were at a decent pace and after a couple of laps mid pack, working out who not to follow. I settled down to the back of the field, following Ray’s wheel and getting my confidence and cornering speed up.

As we approached the 6th lap (lap 5 on the race on Strava), the bunch slowed, I felt good so I attacked. It was hard work into the headwind, but I got a small gap, turned 90 degrees and the cross wind made it difficult. I still had a gap turning on the back straight and kept the pace high, but halfway down the back straight I had at least one rider on my wheel and as I turned the next corner, the bunch was strung out behind me. I kept a decent pace, till we turned onto the start finish straight, then slowly eased back. Nobody went past, so it was tempo pace from me. It was the fastest lap of the first 35 minutes of racing.

That was how the race was run, an individual rider would go to the front, sometimes the would get a gap, most times they didn’t. The bunch would chase them down, then slow, another rider would attack and the cycle would continue. Meanwhile, I settled down as ticket collector and worked on my cornering.

With two laps to go, I started moving up the bunch, thinking I should launch one of my customary long range attacks down the back straight when another rider swung across my line and I had to take evasive action not to lose my front wheel. I lost a lot of momentum, My line and speed through the next two corners, did not help, but I managed to get back on down the finishing straight. I was tiring fast and now was just looking to finish on the back of the pack.

Off the back straight, I was far from perfect through the corner, another rider dived underneath me and it was evasive action again, bad final turn and I was 20m off the back. I drove hard to the line, but 20m in 300m is hard to make up.

17th of 22, officially 6 seconds behind the winner, but only 2 seconds off my target, the back of the bunch. Went home thinking, I should have some impressive power numbers for this race. However, the numbers were down about 10% from my peak from the beginning of the year. However, some of that may be due toIt was very much a power on, power off race. With 25% of my time, over 10 minutes spent in the highest zone (something I never done before in a criterium) and 40% of my time in the lowest zone, recovery with the remaining 35% evenly spread across the five zones in between.

Still happy with my results. Still need to improve my cornering and positioning, but this is a good start and with 3 more WCMCC criteriums before the start of the PDCC criterium season. Peel riders should be worried.

2 Responses to “First crit of the season”

  1. andy bennett Says:

    bring on the new season Nick, where was Clint, I think Clint, Big Al and yourself are the usual suspects in the PDCC crits this year, just not sure if i want to ride the Motorplex again, but at least the newly furbished corner should make for a safer ride.

  2. Nick Says:

    Andy, Clint was trying to get off the front of D grade at WCMCC, he tried a couple of times into the wind, it was hard (I only tried once) and he faded on the last couple of laps which were fast (as fast as Cgrade).

    A lot of PDCC races at the Motorplex this season. The first corner use to worry me, but once everybody realises there is a single line through that corner and you do not need to touch your brakes it is a safe. I always had trouble with the hairpin at the bottom of the course and expect things to continue that way this year.

    Dylan will be back racing the crits with a new bike, so expect big things from him, he has been doing good TTs lately. Tom Power is always a danger. Wonder if Neil and Todd will make a reappearance this crit season, both were very consistent last season. Also if Simmo get his back sorted he is always a threat in the sprint, particularly at Smeaton Way. So lots of known riders to worry about as well as any new ones.