Back racing crits

PDDC C grade criterium
Smeaton Way
23 November 2014

Just because I have not been posting race reports, does not mean I have not been racing. I have already raced 3 WCMCC criteriums this season. The 1st to see if I was fit enough to race crits, the 2nd to conquer my fear of a couple of corners at the Gnagara circuit and the 3rd I ended up riding hard on the front to help out a friend. I ended up finishing at the back of the pack each race, but that was more a matter of choice or in last race spending all my energy chasing down the remains of a breakaway with two laps to go.

This was the 1st PDCC criterium of the season and the 1st of my new tactics. For once instead of being aggressive and attacking from the start. I was going to ride at the front of the pack, be willing to let the right riders (the ones I am confident I could chase down) get away and keeping a tight rein on the others, mainly the riders I did not know. I was going to play the patient waiting game and make my attack in the last 10 minutes or so.

The wind was a strong South Westerly as it was last week, which meant halfway up the finishing straight, a slight kink and the wind hit you in the face and you kept pushing the wind once you turned onto a short exposed section, before hitting the back straight with a tailwind. This was going to make life difficult for the breakaway to stay away or a rider to attack out of the final corner.

The first lap was a fairly sedate pace, then the attacks started, the main agitator was Jordan an under 15 rider who can out TT me. I would be happy to let him go and maybe another rider go, believing there was enough strength in the pack to bring him back. However, the two times he got away it was with one of the riders I did not know. So 1st time, I dragged the pack across to them, the 2nd time I jumped across and let the others chase.

It was too early so I did not work, I waited and quickly the bunch was back together. Then I was on the front into the headwind, I rode at tempo, turned the corner onto the back straight and had a small gap. Scott attacked from the bunch and tried to get me to join him. I did not, I was already suffering so I happy to be absorbed into the bunch. The attacks continued, I was not worried as other people were taking an interest in chasing every attack down.

Then there was 4 off the front Jordan, 2 under 17 riders Conor and Tyler and an unknown rider. I reacted quickly as did a couple of other riders. Once we were back together, I slide down the back to get a breather, it felt harder than last week. After a couple of laps, the rider in front of me on the corner onto the main straight, slowed and ran wide, I then had to chase hard to get back on, it took me half a lap and most of that was into a headwind. Next lap I stuffed up the same corner up and could not get back on.

That was the end for me, I lost 30 seconds over the next lap and a half, before settling down to ride at tempo for the rest of the race.

About the time I got spat out the back, Jordan launched another attack, the bunch let him go and he stayed away, despite the conditions. So I did seriously underestimated him or overestimated the ability of the bunch to chase him down.

Looking at my data after the race, there was no real reason for me ending up off the back, our lap times were slower, my power and heart rate were lower than the previous week. Most logical explanation was there was somebody mowing their lawn on one section of the course and that impacted on my asthma/hayfever which has been giving me troubles for the past month or so.

So given my asthma/hayfever issues the next race, I might have to sit in a bit more. However I understand that it is the long course at the motorplex, which is more of a kermese than a criterium. The course gives plenty of opportunity for attacking and a narrow 135 degree corner followed by a sharp climb. But at least nobody will be mowing their lawn.

Note after reviewing the video of the 1st 20 minutes of the race, I realise that this report only bears a passing resemblance to the race and my cornering really sucks.

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