Mario Races Bicycles

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23rd May 2015 - Northern Combine Race 6 - Hell of the West - Balliang/Glenmore - E Grade

Demoted to E Grade this week after being dropped 5 of 7 laps into the last race, was racing with 13 others today. My goal this race was to be patient and be fresh and the end for a bunch sprint.

We started under control for the first 20kms or so, not much happened, had a friendly chat with some other riders. My friend Matt who was racing with me hit a pothole and pinch flatted, that was the last I saw of him for the race.

The ~ 65km course was fairly flat, some rolling hills with the exception of a giant climb around the 25km mark. 1km @ 13% average, peaking at 20%. When we hit the climb 5 or so riders left the bunch and I was unable to follow them up.

When I crested the climb I couldn't see the riders that broke away and there was no one behind me for a while either, I was sitting in 6th place. I pushed hard for the next 20kms solo by myself in the hopes of catching the break away. I passed a few D grade riders that had fallen off the back but no one from E.

With ~ 25kms to go two riders in my race caught up to me and we worked together to catch the lead pack. We pushed hard but were unable to catch the group, the three of us ended up sprinting for 6th place.

I lead out the other two riders with 4-500 metres remaining, no one wanted to go. We were maybe 150metres from the finish when the rider behind me became impatient and jumped. I grabbed his wheel, got up to speed and started to pass him on the right. I had the momentum and started rolling past but the finish line came too soon. I was half a wheel length behind and gaining as we crossed the line finishing 7th.

After the race I was chatting to my friend Chris who raced in D grade, he said that the first bunch of riders in E grade were drafting and working with a lagging D grade group together just after the climb; which made me feel a bit cheated. In reality if they had been disqualified then I would have been sprinting for the win and margially lost to grab second. Or if they didn't cheat at least I may have had a better chance of catching the lead pack.

Oh well, next time!

Moving Time: 02:01:59
Distance: 66.36 km
Average Speed: 32.64 km/h
Climbed: 515 metres