Last road race of the season

PDCC President’s Cup Handicap
Wandi 5 October 2013

For the last road race of the season, the field was fairly small only 40 riders. Which made for some interesting groupings in the handicap. Ken was the lone E grader and only rider on limit. 5 minutes behind Ken were the first of D grader, two riders without any results this year and a couple of new riders from the Northern Beaches Cycling Club. Two minutes behind and 11 minutes off scratch was the rest of D grade, the regular trio of me, Frank and Don, two semi regulars in Scott and Scotty, and two riders with results on the board in previous seasons, but lacking current form, Art and Andy.

Three minutes behind us was the first of the C graders, with the C graders I most feared 90 seconds behind them. With two groups of B graders between then and a handful of A graders on scratch.

It was obvious from from the first short climb up Wandi Drive into the wind it was going to be a tough race. Andy was off the back and Art was struggling. I was vocal about needing to keep the pace high and lead by example up Bodeman Road, to crest the climb with only Scotty on my wheel. Slowed, got the group back together, less Art & Andy and we started rolling turns. We were keeping a good pace and by the end of the lap, caught the two D graders who started 2 minutes ahead of us, the two NBCC riders were not in sight.

We kept rolling short hard turns, by the 3rd lap, a couple of riders was missing turns and I seemed to be spending more time on the front, particularly on the short climbs. On the 4th lap, we had dropped Scott and I was the only one working on the front on the climbs. On the climb up Bodeman Road we were caught by 3 riders from the first C grade group, they tried to go surge past, I was quickly on their wheel as were a couple of others. They then slowed, a couple of riders who were dropped from their group got back on. Then we were joined by the second C grade group.

There were five, sometimes six C grade riders rolling turns on the front, I was sitting right behind them. Confident in my position and responding well to their surges, which were putting riders out the back. The fifth time up Bodeman road, we were down to 10 riders, when we saw our prey the two NBCC riders at the front of the race, having past Ken earlier. We caught the two of them as we turned onto Lyon road. The problem for me was that one rider swung wide and slowed down, which somehow forced me to the back of the group. The bunch then surged, the C grader in front could not respond and I took too long to go round them and could not close the gap. Working with the C grader I keep the bunch in sight, but by the time they got the bell they had a good 30 second gap and it was growing.

Final time up Lyon road, got passed by a couple of B graders, I was not quick enough to grab a wheel, but when A grade group came through less than a minute later, I was ready it did not last long maybe 500m and I had distanced my C grade companion.

Last time down De Haer road, I chased and caught one of the tiring B graders, could see a couple of pursuing riders and made the effort to leave the B grader behind and ended up leading a bunch of 5 stragglers strung out in a line home for 18th place.

Overall, happy with my performance even though I got dropped on the penultimate lap. I was the strongest of our group and ended up doing more work than the others. I had learnt from previous experience, to avoid taking turns up front when riding with C grade. Still I was capable of riding with C grade and responding to their surges. It was one mistake, which I blame on a lack of confidence and not willing to commit everything to getting back on the group, that stopped me from finishing in the front group. Not that I would of done that well in the sprint finish.

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