Due to a number of reasons, there was only 12 riders in D grade today. None of the usual breakaway suspects, but more than few who could outsprint me. So I went out with a simple tactics, go to the front early, ride hard for a couple of laps, hope a couple of others join in, it becomes a race of attrition and only a small group gets to the end.
So I rolled out, went to the front on the back straight and starting riding hard and by the 180 degree turn towards the end of the first lap, I had a gap on the field. Kept riding hard, had a decent gap by the end of the next lap. I decided to measure my effort and not push hard into the wind on back straight. Which was a mistake, the bunch pulled a little time back and then a lap later one rider bridged across to me on the back straight. With two riders off the front the bunch reacted and the chase was on in earnest.
We worked together for the next few laps, breaking up the chasing group, before we were caught with 15 minutes or so to the bell. The only problem was nobody wanted to ride on the front. A couple of times, the two riders who did the bulk of the chasing, took short turns into the wind and a couple of times I ran wide on the 180 degree turn, so I could drop back a couple of places. But most of the time, I was feeling good, so I rode on the front, every couple of laps I rode hard up the main straight, breaking the group up, but generally slowed on the back straight, which allowed people back one. I did not know it, but there was still 8 riders behind me, when I came out the 180 degree turn for the second last time and pushed hard. 4 riders never made it back, even though the last time into the wind was slow. I ran wide out of the final corner on purpose again, but just missed grabbing the wheel of my breakaway companion, who was behind the two riders who did the bulk of the chasing. I started the long sprint, got close just before the kink, but then they skipped away and another rider who was sitting on my wheel pounced and I finished 5th.
Overall I was happy with my performance, maybe not the result, after spending at least 30 minutes and probably closer to 35 minutes of a 40 minute race on the front. I made a couple of tactical errors, if I hammered it on the 3rd and 4th laps, I probably would of got a big gap before the bunch got organised and ridden to a solo win. But after my last race at Parklands I am not willing to put myself into the red so early in a race. Also if I pushed hard into the wind the last time I might of kept a couple more riders from getting back on. My cornering still needs work, the last corner I choose to run wide, I did not need to run that wide and that slow, which meant I missed that wheel. Still I do know how hard I can ride and how much damaged I can do to a race.