For the sprinter in me

Sprint finish on 6th lap

The sprint on the 6th lap and I need to learn to sprint on the drops. photo by Peter Moyses

PDCC C grade points race
Serpentine
19 July 2014

After racing for two years, I know I am a very ordinary sprinter and climber. What I do well is chase down or drive breakaways on the flat and the windier the better. I was going to have to use my abilities to my full advantage to perform well in the points race. Where you get points for your position crossing the line each of the six laps around the 8.8km Serpentine course. At least the course was flat, but the wind was not that strong.

With only nine riders and a few of them unknown to me, it was going to be a watch and wait for at least the first lap.

Up Gull Road and into the headwind, I sat on the front to police any early escape attempts. Steve off the front, that is OK, he is joined by Jordan, not to worried. Strong enough riders in the bunch to chase those two down. Tom goes to join them, I did not want that and straight on his wheel. Look back, small break, so I jump to the front two, Tom decided not to follow. The three of us stayed away, until we turn into Rapids Road.

The bunch is back together, I settled down the back and watch the race from there. As we approached the sprint point, I moved up, remembered why I don’t enjoy sprinting as a couple of other riders behaved erratically, moving off their lines, I got baulked, still managed fifth, which is about right for my sprinting ability in that group.

I eased back before crossing the line, just in case anybody decided to attack. The four in front all sat up, so I attacked. I knew I had almost no chance to get away. If I was real lucky I might stay off the front for a lap. The aim was to make the other riders work, to try to tire them and take the edge of their sprint. I rode at VO2max pace up Gull Road into the headwind and got caught just as we were about to turn onto Rapids Roads. From the laboured breathing it was as hard for a few of the bunch as it was for me.

Next sprint, was much the same as the first, though a little more confident in my ability, same result fifth. Then everybody sat up, so I attacked again. This time it was TT pace into the headwind, managed to hold a small break onto Rapids Road. The with the tailwind, I pushed another VO2 max interval. Swung onto Karnup Road with a reduced gap, so I eased back, got caught and took part in the bunch sprint, fifth again. This time two other riders attacked out of the sprint. I joined them, at first it was the three of us, then other riders scrambled across. When we got to Rapids Road, I saw we had dropped two of the better sprinters, though one was close to joining back on.

So straight to the front and another VO2max interval to make sure he did not get back on. Job done I swung to the back, a couple of kilometres later on Karnup Road, I noticed a rider attempting to close the gap. So back to the front, rode hard and swung off with less than kilometre to the sprint. Another rider kept the pace high, I managed 4th in the sprint.

The next lap I was relatively lazy, nobody was chasing back on, so I was happy sitting back until about a kilometre from the sprint, the riders in front almost stopped. So I attacked, did well till about 400 metres to go, got swamped 200 metres from the line and finished sixth. Then four riders kept going, so I ended up chasing hard, it was in theory three riders against four. But it was more like one verus two, as the four only had two working, as I caught the rider in between and dragged them and the other rider sitting on my wheel close, before they helped closed the last little bit. Unfortunately my Garmin stopped recording on the chase up Gull Road so I have no data, other that seeing it display 40kph as I chased into a headwind.

We got back on as we turned on Rapids Road, I sat back, recovered and waited patiently. In the final sprint, I finished second behind the overall winner and picked up fifth overall.

Overall, pretty happy with my performance. I spent close to two of the six laps, on the front, off the front or chasing hard to get back on and most of that into a headwind. My one tactical mistake attacking early on the fifth lap, cost me fourth place overall. But that was the best I could of expected given my limited sprinting capabilities. I can see sprint intervals in my future if I want to well next year.

My race of strava

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