Another circuit another corner

PDCC D Grade Criterium
16 February 2014

Details on Strava

Back to the Motorplex, but instead of the technical circuit with my nemesis the harpin. We were racing a new circuit, with more flowing corners and a sharp climb. In practise I was concentrating on the entry to the climb, which was narrow and I felt the most important section of the course.

I paid very little attention to the final corner, which was through a gate. I was taking at reasonable speed during practise. I had decided no last lap heroics and would back off if I was in a bunch on the last corner, but otherwise it did not hold any fear for me.

We were off racing and I settled down the back as ticket collector, to watch the race unfold. It was a typical D grade race, with only 3 riders taking turns up the front. Both the final corner and the first corner, caused me minor issues and saw me lose a few metres. But it was easy to get back on, particularly the first corner as the straight was into a block headwind.

After a few laps, the pace slowed on the straight. So I went to the front. Not trying to break away, just to try and thin the bunch out. So hard up the climb, accelerated over the top and tried to keep the pace up for a lap. Next lap over the climb and backed off a little and tried to change into the big ring. I had a little trouble and suddenly I was at the back of the group. That was the first lap I had real trouble with the final corner, I was not comfortable taking it at speed and lost 10 metres or so.

I worked hard, got back on, recovered, got through the corner OK, next lap, same problem, lost 10 metres, worked hard but it took half a lap. This was the pattern for the rest of the race, sometimes I would take the corner OK, other times I would lose 10 metres or more. There was no way I going to get to the front, given the energy I was burning just to stay in contact. Then with a little more than two laps to go, I lost 20 metres and spent the next lap and half, chasing back on. I got back, just as the attacks started, I stay with the bunch, until that corner lost over 10 metres again and rolled over the line at the back of the bunch.

A few lessons learnt today:

  • I need to practise the final corner at speed and get confident that I can do it consistently.
  • I need to ride the climb in the big ring, I was spinning up it easily, but there are occasions I need to drive over the top.
  • I need to ride closer to the front, I am sure some of my issues came from riding behind other riders who lacked confidence in that corner.
  • My shoulder still hurts if I get out of the saddle.

Hopefully, next week we are back are Motorplex, we are racing this course again, I have a corner to conquer.

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