Not a proper sprinter

PDCC D grade Serpentine
21 September 2013

The forecast was for rain, but it was still sunny as I was packing the car to go, so as well as packing my Fuji SL set up for wet and windy weather, with shallow alloy rims and a rear mudguard, I also packed my Canyon. Two sets of kit, dry and wet and off I went to Serpentine.

The original plan was the Marianne Vos influenced tactics I tried at the Club Championships of staying quiet for the first half of the race, attacking, breaking the bunch in two, work with those riders to establish a break, attack again to shed more riders, then attack a kilometre or two from the finish.

As I drove out to the course, I saw how strong the wind was and what effect that would have on the race. My favourite section to attack, the rough narrow Gull Road was straight into a 30kph headwind, the smoother Rapids Road was with a tailwind and there was a blustery crosswind on final 3.5km leg of the circuit on Karnup Road. Which did not favour a long range attack.

It was dry when I arrived, so on with the dry weather kit and out to give the Canyon a baptism of fire. Rolled up to the start line, it just started drizzling to find that there was only 6 riders in D grade. It was going to be hard work in these conditions, luckily the rain stayed away.

We did the first lap at decent pace, but only myself, Frank and Don were doing any work. Out of the first corner on the second lap, I was on the front and must of been moving, because as I swung off the front, only Frank was behind me. So I went straight back on the front and hit it hard, hoping to distance the other riders, particularly Don.

After 1km I rolled off the front, to find Don had made it across the gap. I could see another rider, Allan attempting to chase back on. But with the three of us working together he did not stand a chance.

We worked well together for the next three and half laps. Onto Karnup Road for the last time and I managed to end up on the back. The next 3km were pretty slow, both Don and Frank kept looking back, expecting me to attack. I didn’t with a few hundred metres left, they started picking up the pace. My only real option was to go round Frank on the outside, and Frank started drifting out. Pushing me towards the double white lines. Not a big issue, the last 100m or so, the road straighten, the lines broke and I could ride on his right, except there was a car coming. A confident sprinter could of squeezed between Frank and the car, while remaining on the left of the road. I didn’T, I waited until the car passed and launched myself down the outside, I did not make it. Lost by about a wheel, though I did snare 2nd spot by a few hundredths of a second from Don.

I felt like I could of overhauled Frank, if I started sprinting earlier, so a few what ifs. should of tried the the inside of Frank, attacked a little earlier, all those what ifs. Still my best result in the year’s road race season for me and Frank. So I am happy with my results, though I need to improve my sprinting, particularly riding closer to other people sprinting.

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