Fun in the rain

WCMCC C grade scratch race
6 July 2014

After the glorious sunshine and warmth of yesterday afternoon. I was woken up by a storm front passing. I knew it was going to be wet and windy today, but I was glad the front passed before racing. Still with strong wind forecasted I decided to take my other bike with low profile alloy rims, over my race bike with deep profile carbon rims.

As 15 riders lined up to race C grade, a second front passed pelting us with rain for 3 minutes before we got underway. The weather was wild and wooly, the winds westerly, averaging 30kph and gusting to 50kph making the three little climbs more challenging as they were all into a headwind. It was going to be an interesting race particularly with the course’s deserved reputation for punctures when wet.

I settled in to my usual position of ticket collector, within two laps we lost three riders, two to punctures and one ending up off the road on the gravel, I assume either wind or puncture. He was upright when I last saw him, but he never returned to the bunch.

At the end of that lap, we were informed the race was being shorten by two laps. So instead of 65km in the wind and rain it was going to be only 50km. At this stage most of the work was being done by one rider Mike, with most of the others just sitting in. So it was time to make them work, on Lyon Road with the crosswind I went to the front with the sole purpose of putting people in the gutter. I did not know if I succeeded as I tried to swing off the front only Mike would come past me, so I sat on his wheel, waiting for another chance to wreak damage. Instead I started spelling Mike who was putting in long turns. On the front up the climb up Bodeman Road I heard a tyre go, behind me. I slowed hoping it was not mine. It was Mike’s. Got to the top of the climb and literally had to brake to get another rider to go round me.

The next few laps became tactical, there were at least three sprinters who have out sprinted me before. So three riders, including myself and one of the sprinters, would attack off the front and force one of the other two sprinters to chase. On the last lap with a couple of kilometres to go, one rider had a break, the sprinter on the front was not chasing, so he swung off, followed by the two riders behind him. I took the opportunity to launch an attack, unfortunately the sprinter decided to swing back inside. I hit the brakes, shouted his name. As he moved away, I continued with my attack, without the element of surprise.

I caught the lone breakaway, well before the corner. I knew I had at least one rider on my wheel, but I kept on going. Got to the corner with a few hundred metres to go picked up a second wind but 150 metres from the line I was swamped by six riders. At least the attacking sprinter got the win.

My attack and charge to the line was a tactical mistake. I needed to do something with a couple of kilometres to go otherwise 5th was the best I could hope for. The intention was too attack with the element of surprise, get a gap and hope that nobody else wanted or could chase. I lost my element of surprise needing to avoid the other rider.

Even then I should of looked to see who was on my wheel before catching the lone leader. Feigned tiring and found a wheel to follow and then sprinted. Still it enhanced my reputation as strong rider who lacks tactics, so if I ever use tactics properly, I should surprise a few people.

My race on strava

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