Normal service has returned

WCMCC C grade
Dog Hill
22 June 2014

My last few races have seen me finishing off the back of the bunch, for a number of reasons, including suffering from a mix of hayfever, sinuses and asthma due to the cold weather for the last couple of weeks. My last few rides, have had me stiff and sore including four laps of the same course the day before this race. After the PDCC was called off due to a storm and a few brave/crazy souls rode a few training laps.

I went into the race with a simple aim, finish with the bunch. The race started in the rain, and for the first lap and a half I rode mid pack. Once I was sure nobody was going to get away, I slide down the pack. The race was pretty uneventful, every now and then a rider would try to get off the front, the bunch would pull them back in.

I was happy at the back, while it took more energy getting out of the corner and onto the rise on St Albans Road. I was saving my nervous energy not having to worry about some of the riders mid pack. Also safer as I needed my asthma medication due to people using wood fires in nearby houses.

After five laps, I decided it was time to move up. I was not going to be one of those racers who hides in the pack, only to appear at the sprint. My aim, was to go to the front after the little rise on St Albans road and try and split the pack if the crosswind was up.

As I started moving up, there was a little flurry of activity on the front. With about 1km before the start finish line and the bell, there was one rider 30m off the bunch, another rider about to catch him and a third halfway across. I jumped to the first rider, he was labouring hard. I took him to the front two. The four of us took turns of varying length up Dog Hill road, with the pack strung out only a few metres behind.

I got to the front, just before the turn on St Albans Road, the rider behind me dropped my wheel. Needing no further invitation, I turned on St Albans Road and sprinted up the incline and over the top. I got a decent gap and put my head down and just rode.

I knew my chances were pretty remote, last time I tried a last lap attack here, I was in the company of another rider who was riding B grade today and we got caught 1.5km from home. When the support/sponsor vehicle went past. I thought I had a good chance and gave it another push. I did not know that an A grade breakaway was about to catch C grade and A grade was in pursuit.

About to turn into Young Road, I heard voices behind me, took the corner badly. I then sat up to see the A grade breakaway pass me. I glanced behind and there was C grade 10m behind me. A couple of deep breadths and I waited for the counter attacks. Which I would of had problems reacting to. Instead the bunch left me on the front, till A grade passed us. I then slide down the back, with the aim of finishing in the bunch.

With about a kilometre to go, I was sitting at the back waiting for the attacks, I had no trouble keeping up, while we shed a couple of riders. My intention finish on the back with no time gaps. So when the sprint started, I picked up the pace and finished exactly where I wanted at the back of the pack and 22nd. However, if I actually kicked I would of finished mid pack and if I made the effort in the last couple of kilometres I might of picked up a top 5. Because I had plenty left in the tank as I rolled over the finish.

Which given the circumstances, feeling less than perfect, little riding is the past couple of weeks and effort put in on the first half of the final lap. So this has got me thinking, should I be riding B grade with WCMCC and hang off the back of the pack, working hard to survive and improve my strength. Or stay in C grade, ride further to the front and look at getting consistent placings and improve my skills. I think the second option for now.

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