Mario Races Bicycles

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14th Dec 2016 - HCC Crits C Grade - 4th Place

Tonight was the last race of the year at the teardrop, my goal was to place 4th or higher, with 2 placings already just one more meant a promotion so that was the goal. Yesterday I had set a personal best up a hill I climb every single week and I’d climbed Mount Donna Buang and Mount Kosciuszko the weeks earlier so despite a patchy training schedule I was confident that I was in good form, if I could pull off a smart race then I would be OK.

After last month's race at the teardrop which was a tactical disaster, tonight I wanted to focus on sticking near the front, doing a bit of extra work was OK but I wanted to be involved in the race as much as I could be. The weather was cool so drinking lots of water throughout the day and not bringing a water bottle on the bike was the plan again as it was working well.

The start of the race was good, after we rolled out I was near the back and worked my way through the field over the next few laps, I found that the easiest place for me to move forwards was when the climb flattened out near the top of the hill, lots of riders would slow here and so it meant I could move forwards. In the first few laps the bunch was strung out as a rider went off the front, at this point the group started to break in half and I managed to grab the rear of the first bunch, I was maybe 15th wheel or so. The pace was quick for the next couple of laps and riders were all pushing to ensure that didn’t drop from the first group, a this point I decided I was too far back and pushed hard up the hill. I continued strong down the back half of the circuit and I found myself near the front, with no spare wheel I hopped into the front, I didn’t mind doing a little bit of work, I knew it wouldn’t be for long and I was in the action. Half a lap later some riders came around and I hovered near 10th wheel for a while.

Riding in the bunch was a little harder tonight than usual, for some reason I was a little bit tired despite getting lots of sleep, so I struggled to pay close attention to the riders around. I also found a few times that riders would move off their line and squeeze other riders into the gutter. This happened to me a couple of times and i’d have to give up my spot and flow back to avoid going off the course. The sprint lap came in around 15 minutes in, again the bunch started to break near the middle, I managed to save some energy here holding the back of the first group but not pushing too hard.

Later in the race I started falling to the back, sprinting up the hill each lap was draining me and I had no energy left to move up. I was yo-yoing at the rear, I tried to push up the hill each lap but It was hard and I could only manage to pass a couple of riders at a time. Thankfully after we received the 3 lap to go notice the A-grade bunch came around. Our race neutralised and I managed to get some great rest. At that time a few riders passed me in the bunch which was a bit annoying as we were neutralised. With 2 laps to go we were free to race, I felt good but I was way too far back to make anything of it I thought.

Going up the climb for the second last time I surprised myself with how much pace I had, I managed to go from effectively last wheel to maybe 12th wheel. On the back straight for the last time, one of the riders went off of the front, I saw him go, I had the pace but I was way too far back. I pushed as hard as I could up the inside and surprisingly got to the front of the bunch, by that time there was 3 riders off the front between me and the finish line. I rested for a few seconds going into the corner, one of the riders roll up alongside me on the inside as we went through the hairpin. We were coming in fairly quickly and so I made sure I focused on pushing my outside pedal and bars down as hard as I could into the road so that I would have the grip to make it through the corner. I came out next to the other rider, got out of the saddle and started sprinting as hard as I could, I put a bike length between us almost immediately and knew I could hold him off, at this point I thought I could catch one of the other three in front of me. I pushed hard and realised I was spinning out, up near 120rpm, that’s not where I make my best power. I lifted off the gas for a second, shifted up two gears and then went again. I was gaining on the riders in front but there wasn’t enough time. I rolled over the line in 4th place in the end. I was ecstatic, although with better positioning, or even just being in the right gear for the final climb I could have grabbed a higher place; 4th was the goal and it was enough; it was a great race to end the year with!

Moving Time: 00:34:02
Distance: 21.94 km
Average Speed: 38.68 km/h
Climbed: 268 metres