Not your normal race day

PDCC C grade
Dog Hill
9 August 2014

I approached this race with a heavy heart, one of the riders I raced with for the last two years, took their own life last Sunday.

Then this happen:

Lara’s Tribute Ride from Kurt on Vimeo.

That was 100 riders, the people racing, Lara’s club mates from the Rockingham Tri club and others, including riders who had not raced for 18 months riding a lap for Lara.

Lara, your infectious smile and sense of humour will remain with me forever.

I did not go into the race with any plan other than to be there at the finish. My last two races at Dog Hill involved last lap heroics, a decent break, getting caught and rolling over the line at the back of the pack. I knew my chances of escaping were slim, particularly given the wind, so I was looking at trying my luck at sprinting.

The race started at pace with one rider hitting the front and riding hard. Then riders started rolling through. I was sixth in line, took my turn and then the original rider attacked. Nobody chased, so I closed the gap. I stayed close to the front for the next lap and a half as there was a flurry of attacks and counter attacks.

In the end, I went to the front and rode at threshold for a few minutes, to slow the race and my heart rate down. It worked, nobody attacked, so I slide down the pack and settled into my usual position of ticket collector. The reason, a couple of fires near the course and though my new asthma medication is effective, I still use my inhaler, for extra protection/prevention.

The third time up St Albans Road, a small group got off the front, they were brought back. I thought better about a counter attack, as another rider did. He got a small gap, but the pack left him there, even let another rider try to bridge. They did not make it, and the counter attacker got pulled back half a lap later. A couple of riders tried again the next lap and tired quickly. St Albans Road was into a strong headwind which sapped their energy. I was happy sitting at the back, saving energy and picking my own line with the corner onto Young Road. I lacked confidence into that corner, still I had no trouble picking up the wheel of the riders infront. Especially on the last lap when a rider attacked before the corner. A strange move, they did try to power out the corner, causing issues for a few riders, so I moved up. Onto Dog Hill Road, a couple of kilometres from the finish. A couple of riders pushed hard out of the corner, others were slow reacting and I had moved into the top eight.

Held my position, was on wheel outside the rider I wanted to follow and in the wind. But I had what I thought was a clear line, nobody outside or behind me and with only half a dozen riders in front of me. The two strongest sprinted early and got a gap. I got out the saddle and started sprinting (on the drops). The rider I was following, now on my inside moved out, almost taking my front wheel with him. Evasive action, back down in the saddle, out of it again, tried to kick again and the legs went no. Did best I could, seated and finished 7th.

Given that I usually don’t sprint, I was happy with the result. I could of done better, if I was a little further up the bunch and nobody tried to take me front wheel out. Still I don’t think I could of matched the sprint of the winner or 2nd place. They kicked and got a good gap. Still I can be competitive with the others. I just need to be more confident and a little more aggressive with my positioning.

My race on Strava

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