Racing with a cold

Race Report PDCC D grade criterium Parklands 17 March 2013

The head cold from earlier in the week had moved down to my lungs, so I was not feeling great & definitely not excited about my chances on my favourite criterium circuit (4km long with a sharp climb & only one challenging corner for me). Still I wanted to be the only club member to race & finish ever criterium this season, so I was not going to let a little cold slow me too much.

Knowing, my limitations, I went in with a simple tactics, be patient, be cautious & put all my energy into a single do or die attack, probably attacking as we crested the climb on the second last lap & try to solo the 5km to victory. My plan suddenly had to be flexible, as I found out Travis my breakaway partner for my previous win at Parklands, was back racing after a few weeks away, with a lot more miles & a little more speed in his legs (though I did beat him by almost 30 seconds at an ITT on Wednesday). Still much prefer a head to head with Travis, than a bunch sprint with half a dozen riders who have beaten me in a sprint in the past.

A dozen D graders rolled out for a six lap race (officially 35 minutes + 1 lap, but when a lap takes 7 minutes & a few seconds it is a six lap race). The pace was fairly slow for the first lap & I was happy sitting at the back, watching what was going on. Halfway through the second lap, Travis & a couple of riders got a small gap, as nobody could or would shut the gap. I took it upon myself to drag the bunch to their wheels at the foot of the climb, as I was worried the three would attack on the climb. They didn’t, they actually swung off the front, so I took the bunch up the climb without investing too much effort & shot off down the other side looking for the best lines for my future attack, before waiting for the bunch to catch up in the finishing straight & I rolled to the back feeling surprisingly good.

So good that the next lap, I rode to the front up the climb, to tease another rider about his new bike, then bombed down the descent, picked decent line through the first corner & suddenly I had 50m on the peleton. That was enough of an invitation, I put the hammer down & crossed the start finish line with 15 second gap (access to the timing computer after the race).

I eased off down the back straight hoping to make use of my time trialling skills, but my lungs were struggling, instead on pumping out a constant 240 watts which I can in a TT, I was struggling to make 200 watts, so I made do with that, trying to keep a constant effort, hoping my lungs recover & hoping that the bunch had forgotten me.

After a solitary 4th lap struggling to make 200 watts, I got it to 210 watts when Travis caught me on the back straight on the 5th lap, I tucked into his wheel, until the climb where I could not match his pace, got dropped. In hindsight I should of made more of an effort to stay on his wheel, but my lungs were burning & I was struggling badly.

On the final lap, I was caught by Cassia & Tom on the back straight of the final lap, this time I had enough in reserve to stay with them & do my turn on the front up the climb, but it was not pretty. Lead down the descent, Cassia took us through the corners & Tom started the sprint from a long way out, I took the lead from 400m out, as Tom appeared to fade, but in the shadow of the line Tom came out of my slipstream to snatch 2nd, with Cassia hot on his heels for 3rd, so I was 4th, 15 seconds behind Travis but more than a minute ahead of the bunch.

Overall happy with my performances, given my cold. If I was 100% healthy, the results would of been different, but that is racing.

Al the race details on Strava, speed, power, HR etc

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