Mario Races Bicycles

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17th Feb 2016 - HCC Crits C Grade - 6th Place

A week away from the bike with no training meant that tonight's race would just be for a bit of training and some fun. Earlier in the week I had knocked my knee rock climbing; I also took some skin off my elbow playing futsal. I was still sore from the bruising and the elbow scrape was a bit annoying.

Just riding to the start of the race was seemingly tiring. I wasn’t sure how I’d last more than a handful of laps. Thankfully the weather was cool so I was confident I wasn't going to overheat like some of my recent races. During the scouting lap I noticed that there was a very strong wind coming from the south blowing north. The back stretch of the course has very little cover and is exposed to the wind, during the race It would be important to stay away from the outside, otherwise I'd be suffering in the wind. I had to be smart this race and conserve as much energy as possible for the end if I was still holding on.

The pace was quick from the start. I was holding around 5th wheel for the first 5 minutes or so. Around that time some riders kept on dangling out the front but a proper break away never really formed. After 10 minutes or so I dropped back a bit because the riders in front were leaving large gaps and I was wasting energy having to come around them, this happened a few times.

I looked down at my Garmin, 15 mins have passed it says; the pace was quick, we were strung out single file and I felt a bit sick, I didn’t have much longer in the race at this pace. I managed to shelter better during the next couple of laps; down the backstretch I would get into a better aero tuck and use my weight to catch up to the bunch, this mean that I could freewheel for an extra few seconds a lap. A few little things like that combined meant that I was feeling OK after a couple of minutes of really struggling.

I was very patient during the race, I had to be as I wasn’t on form. I think this was one of the best races I’d done tactically. I always sat on a wheel, never in the wind, never bridging gaps but rather jumping on wheels when they went to close. With 30 minutes done and three laps to go I felt fresh.

The third last lap I managed to move up, A grade were close by and some riders at the rear were telling us to move to the left, but they didn’t pass. On the second last lap on the hairpin A grade was coming around, I was around 10th wheel at this point and I had to slow to let them pass. The riders in front of me managed to pull a 50 metre gap. I pushed hard up the climb for the second last time and hurled myself down the back stretch. By the time we came into the last corner I had almost closed the gap but there were 10 riders still in front of me.

I smashed it up the last hill, managed to pass around 5 riders. In the end there was 1 riders off the front so I would have placed around 6th or so.

Tonight it was obvious that in other races where I felt strong I was very wasteful, If I can conserve this much energy when I am in form then I think i’ll improve a lot for future races. 6th is a great result considering I wasn’t very well prepared going in and it was a lot of fun tonight. Although I can’t help but think what would have happened if A grade didn’t come around at that point, I think I could have easily beaten some of the riders in front of me up the final sprint as I was gaining on them at the end. Tonight was also the fastest race I’d ever had at the teardrop, very close to a 40km/h average.

Moving Time: 00:34:20
Distance: 22.47 km
Average Speed: 39.28 km/h
Climbed: 281 metres