When three attacks in one lap, is one too many

PDCC C grade
14 June 2014

It was the biggest field for PDCC C grade this year, 21 riders. A few new faces and a couple riders from B grade easing themselves back into racing after illness or injury. I went into the race with a single aim, to put in a decent attack every lap once we past the halfway mark. The larger than usual field or new faces was not going to stop me.

The first couple of laps, I sat at the back with Mark, my breakaway companion from a few weeks back. I did not have any trouble moving up and down the group. When Lachlan attacked on the climb up Bodeman road, I did not react, I let other chase him down.

The next time up Bodeman road, John start moving up, I assume to ride the climb at his own pace instead of reacting to surges of the smaller riders. I grabbed his wheel to move up the group. I eased back once we got to the front. John didn’t, Lachlan jumped on his wheel, I grabbed Lachlan’s wheel. There was a reaction behind as at least four of us, got a small gap. Over the top, the bunch was together, so time to inflict pain. I hit it hard down the other side and up the slight climb and onto Lyon road . Everybody still there, I slowed, nobody wanted to come through, so I sat on the front tapping out a slow tempo, until the slight ramp.

You are not supposed to attack from the front, so I did. I put a short hard dig up the slight ramp and got an immediate reaction. So I slowly reduced my speed, nobody came through for the next kilometre. Until I swung wide and took a drink and the suddenly I had riders both sides of my and I was being pushed down the bunch.

Swung on De Har road, three little steps and the bunch was spreading across the road, so I attacked on the final step. Only to find the front of the bunch was stretched out and it took more effort than expected to get a small gap. Quickly joined by two more riders including Lachlan, I was hanging on their wheels when the bunch caught us. Stayed close to the front recovering.

The bunch slowed again, I was feeling good so I launched another attack, the 4th in 10 minutes. Swung on to Wandi drive my legs burning, a counter attack was quickly launched by Lachlan and another rider. As that attack was chased down, I slide down the pack. I dropped about 15 metres of the back as on the first part of Bodeman road. This is not normally an issue, I have always made up ground on the descent and first part of the next climb. It was not to be today. I was left in there wake as the bunch charged up the climb.

Got to the top of the climb to see the bunch at the bottom of the descent. So it was keep a steady pace, hope that the bunch slows on the little ramps on Lyon or De Har road and I can recover and get myself across the gap. I kept the bunch in sight until the litte rise. I crested the rise to see the bunch strewn over the road and a rider screaming in pain. I could hear the voice of the first aid officer in action, nothing I can do. So I turned around, headed back to the crest to slow oncoming traffic.

It appears that where the road narrows slightly, one rider went off the edge onto the gravel, tried to correct and went down into the bunch. Causing most of the riders to go down, a couple suffered nasty abrasions, but fortunately that was all. Our raced was abandoned by mutual decision.

I was disappointed in my performance. I did put in four attacks inside 10 minutes and paid the price when a rider or two drove the bunch hard up the climb on Bodeman road. But after looking at Strava and my power data, I also blame myself for not paying attention to the race and riders around me. The second lap, where I was sitting back, itching to attack was the fastest of my 100+ laps at Wandi and the third lap with me attacking and slowing the pace, was inside the fastest 10. There were other riders, pushing the pace for there own reasons, I should of recognised that and be far more conservative with my attacks and even changed my initial intentions.

Still learnt a few things about attacking and riding aggressively. There will be some changes in my tactics next race, but I will not be riding conservatively.

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