Kew Crits

11:34 am Unknown 0 Comments

When I first started following Shane Miller's racing, I'd walk up from the tram stop or ride past the Kew Criterium track and stop to watch a handful of riders dive around a hairpin corner and sprint up an impossible climb over and over again. As things progressed he moved up quickly from D to B grade.

I remember the conversation we had one night when he said "I'd really like to make it to A-grade but it's going to take a LOT of training and effort to get there and maintain all of that!" I'd go watch him race and see the marginal gains each week and cheer the guys on. He's now racing A-grade and maintaining it - something I aspire to do this year.

These days Kew Crits are BOOMING! With over 25 riders in each grade, finish line videos online, a coffee van, and new surface so the hairpin is not a total cheese grater and the bumps in the back fast section have been smoothed out a bit.

Each week the ladies are mixed in with the men to fight it out on the circuit. Last week it was tough windy 35degrees and I managed to talk a few ladies to join me in D-grade. We battled it out and dropped off then the pace picked up at 3 laps to go. Eventually I wore them down to come across the line 1st woman. Results

Out sprinted at the finish, but that's okay - Janet Keily (right) congratulates Von Micich. Photo by M. Vaughan.
 I'm just warming up for the criterium season that runs through till about April. I've been very excited that Hawthorn has put on a Women's series at the Kew Crits. Spaced out over the season and with a later time slot it makes it a little easier for everyone to get out of work and to the start line. It also filters out the guys from the racing and with 2 grades on offer you can work your way up on this difficult course. In D-grade mixed, there is always a few junior boys or newbies still learning to hold a line and while they might be as strong as the ladies, it makes for some interesting times on course!

I've competed in B-grade and A-grade in the ladies races and there is a big step up between the two :) The comments from my coach were ringing in my mind last night as I worked my way through the A-grade bunch to get good positioning into the hairpin early in the race.
Von on the front into the hairpin at Kew Crits. Photo by Liz Hall/Gavin Wright.
But it was the attack about 15mins in that popped me off the back just as we crested the long drag to the finish line. The comments from Shane were ringing in my mind last night as I worked at trying to close the gap and I felt it in every fibre that it was going to take a LOT of training and effort to get there.

In the end I found a group of 2 other riders and we worked together into the head wind and up the climb to finish up the race. Things got a little competitive in the final 3 laps and you can see the final sprint to the line here.

It was great to see so many women enjoy the racing and stay for the presentations by HCC, Liv/Giant, and Drapac Professional Cycling. I'm going to do a few more races at Kew this season with the guys and hope to move up and maintain it.

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