17th February 2013
Yesterday, test riding a Scott Foil Team Edition, I did a couple of hard laps of the course and settled on a plan to go to the front early in the race and sit on a good hard pace for as long as possible, to see if I could time trial the race and see what would happen behind me.
Well that all changed when I arrived at the circuit this morning, the wind was a strong south westerly, which meant the last few hundred metres of the course was into a strong head/cross wind and then you turned into a block headwind once past the finish line. After a couple of warmup laps, it became clear that the wind would quickly sap the energy of any solo effort and I decided my plan was wait, watch and react and if I was still there at the end, attack as we turned onto the straight for the final time, get a gap and try and keep it to the line.
The first lap was a little chaotic riders everywhere but no pace, then a couple riders took control and picked up the pace a little. Everybody thought I was attacking, when I rolled to the front, but I was going to the front to make sure we did not have any issues passing the juniors. Stayed there for a lap and then rolled to the back and the surging began. It was fairly mild compared to the attacks that Travis or I put out, but even then I did get caught out once and spent most of a lap getting back on. But that had more to do with my erratic cornering than anything else. Sometimes I would nail the corner, other times my line was bad or I felt I was going in to fast and had to feather the brakes, it did not matter if I was on the front, in the pack or chasing back on, or which corner, I just was erratic.
After 20 minutes the pace slowed, so I went to the front to try my original plan, went to the front and set a hard pace and most rider’s fastest lap for the race as they strung out behind my wheel. Into the headwind for the 2nd time, I decided it was just too hard and not sustainable, so I slowed, another rider countered and I was off the back with a 5 second deficit by the end of the lap. Not a problem this week, by the end of next lap I was back on, and slowly made my way up the pack, to be exactly where I needed to be when the bell rang about 5th. Then I made a mistake every corner and dropped a position or two each time. So I rounded the final corner in last place and had to sprint 400m instead of my planned 250m to the line. Got a few riders on my way, to finish 8th out of 13. It was a pretty decent sprint from me topping out at 52kph into a headwind and without anybody leading me out.
I need to be less conservative and more confident in those corners on the final lap to get myself into a good finishing position. I know what I need to work on, cornering and now have more confidence in my sprint. Looking forward to the road season in a couple of months, but until more criteriums and more corners including my least favourites at the motorplex next week.