Open D Grade
15 September 2013
With an open D grade race, you never know how good your opposition was going to be. In most open grade races, you race a grade down. Most of the B grade riders I knew from Peel were racing in the 50 strong C grade field. So I was expecting a much tougher group of riders than the usual Peel D Grade.
The last open D grade race I entered was the Australia Day Criterium in January. 30 riders started, most got lapped (1.6km circuit) in under 20 minutes or so, I finished roughly 1km down in 7th or 8th place, with some of my best power ever for 3 to 20 minutes. I was hoping it was not going to be that tough.
Looking at the start list of 16, there was 6 from Midland Cycle Club, 3 juniors and 3 masters riders. I was expecting the bunch to stay together until the climb, the juniors and maybe another rider to take off on the climb. Most of the others to stay togethers and on the final 25km of flat with a headwind, myself, Scott and hopefully another rider or two would drag the youngsters back and work out a way to beat the Midland master riders who sat on our wheels for the last 50km. To that end I was riding with my 60mm front wheel and new aero helmet, expecting to work hard on the flat.
Of course it did not go to expectations. Only one of the Midland juniors was there, but the 3 Midland master riders went to the front and set a hard pace from the get go. I was suffering on the way to the climb and once it started, I was gone. So I set my own pace up the climb, hoping to pick up a straggler or two as the bunch exploded. From all accounts it did explode , and while I did see a rider or two ahead, I did not make contact with anyone on my way to Dwellingup.
Got to Dwellinup and decided to play the good clubmate. Pulled over to the side of the road and waited for my clubmate, who expressed concerns about riding the final 25km into a headwind. So we rode together for the undulating 15km or to the top of Del Park road. I then had my fun on the descent. Before waiting for my clubmate and sitting on the front for the 25km back to Pinjarra to make sure with both finished.
Got home, pulled up my data for the ride and expected to see power figures like the Australia Day Criterium. Unfortunately, they were nothing like it, down a good 20 watts or 10%. In fact the average power and normal power were more like last week’s Club Championship. Were I was never in difficultly except for the last 800m. Even the climb to Dwellingup I was over a minute down on my recon ride from two weeks earlier. So what happened, don’t really know, big race nerves unlikely, bad day, coming down with a cold who knows.