Brunswick Crit, Roadtrip, Cykel Women's GP Crit Round 3

10:44 pm Unknown 0 Comments

So I had this bright idea that I could make it across town to do a crit after work during the week all the way out at National Boulevard at Campbellfield. I could take the train right near work and the Upfield station is right around the corner from the circuit. Unfortunately with Melbourne public transport dramas, it didn't turn out to be the best idea.

I hate that anxious powerless wait that you can do nothing about when you're on the train and you are late. It took me back to when I used to have anxiety attacks going to work when my boss would rip through me that my train/tram 1.5hr commute ran late or infreqent to my first job across Melbourne. I had another bright idea to notify the race organisers that I was on my way and I'd be a late entry so I could just pickup a number and RACE. A long shot but it put me at some ease.

I mostly went out there for more leg speed and to see if hanging in with the guys the previous Saturday was a fluke. Made it to the rego desk 5mins before race start, pinned the number on and started to spin around the small loop of the course. No warm-up, let's get stuck into it!

I was surprised how big the field was in Men's B-Grade. We rolled out and settled into a rhythm - it was windy on the downhill finish and that meant the usual rest section was a struggle. A few attacks and an established breakaway of about 6 riders was away 25mins in. At one point I tried to bridge, but the wind was too much and the pack swallowed me up in no time.

Before you knew it was 3 laps to go and I was congratulating myself for making it so far. Just hang on! Concentrating on every move up the road it was show time. The pace picked up for the third last lap, dropped the pace on the second last lap when the bunch realised it was not going to reel in the breakaway then hit the roof. I was hanging on for dear life but got dropped on the rise into the last corner again. Rod Upton gave a word of encouragement as he came around me to join the bunch as they gathered together for a very neat bunch sprint. I was willing my legs to just jump onto the back of the group to cross the finish line but the sprint shattered the group and I rolled in with the mid-pack across the line.

Lots of smiles and grimaces at the end. It was a good race, had to be on your game with the wheels moving around in the wind, but it was fun.

Friday night we got in late to Horsham and I was up early Saturday morning to get the kms in with the local bunches and fit in some family time.

Enjoying the sunshine & tailwind
Only a 40km loop, but again the conditions and skill of the riders made it an interesting morning. I didn't know the route exactly, but felt confident to hang in with the group. Said a few friendly hellos at the start and then we were on from there. Part of the start of the course was the same as the Rifle Butts route from the previous trip, but then we went further out and I started to get a little turned around where everything started looking like where we'd already been. I just relied on calls for turns and kept going. A few riders dropped off, a few riders sat on, and a few riders drove the pace. A rolling hill kick into the sun where you couldn't see was won by a local trackie over the whole bunch. I had to be reminded to roll the right way into the wind as the road snaked around on the way back toward town. Within the last 5kms the pace kicked up towards the 45km/h mark and back into the headwind the bunch was echeloning across the road. I think I rolled one turn and then dropped back to the group and couldn't make my way back in to the group rolling turns. Trying to hide out of the wind was impossible, forced into the gravel. I gave up and rolled back into town with the guy that got popped about 1 minute before me.

Rear of a llama.
After a coffee to restore all that is good in the world, Shane woke up from a sleep in and met me at Cafe Jazz, where we caught up with Mark Pumpa who organised the Horsham Tri. Afterwards Shane and I rolled out for another 40km.  It was dry paddocks and blue skies for us. I LOVE a headwind ;) but this time my gorgeous husband was saving my legs for tomorrow's crit. After what seemed like forever, we finally got the tailwind! Past the Longrenong College then out to the radio towers, Shane decided to show me how fast he was averaging for the National TT in Jan and I was hanging on for dear life!

We turned down another road back towards town and there was a white road.

Shane's tribute to Strade Bianche 2013
Something went all wrong because when I was taking selfies, he came back with some spaghetti!

Oh no! What's wrong?!
SRAM is not supposed to make spaghetti!
Rolled back home and had a great dinner and time with the family in Horsham. A BIG happy 60th to Julie! We drove back to Melbourne that night and were ready for race day.

The next morning Shane got up early and went racing TT's and I got a slight sleep in and chauffeured to Casey fields with a massive carload of stuff by Manuella Marasco. I have no idea how we fit everything in her car or why we needed so much stuff for a day trip. We DID use it all though for the Kosdown Performance Cycling women's team at Cykel Women's Grand Prix.

I had a full team of 5 ladies ready to race in the divisions and Stacey ready to go in the Novice category.

Stacey had her third race as part of the series and finished with the bunch in the final sprint. It was awesome to watch the race and to see the massive improvement over the series. It was heaps of fun to cheer her on with family joining in too!

Stacey  finishing the prologue
After a prologue that was not quite fast enough, I was in division 2. It was an interesting mix of ladies and I had two team mates in Nonie Carr and Anna Fogarty with me. Nonie set the pace for the first few laps and Anna chased down any breaks while we waited for the bunch to settle and to see how things would play out. There were women who were there just to collect laps leader points who would do no work and just sprint each lap for the finish. There were a good bunch of ladies in Hawthorn pushing the pace and chasing down breaks. There were also a few riders that seemed to be new to B grade or crit racing. While there were no incidents and the ladies in the bunch were mostly giving them a wide berth, hopefully they will gain more experience and confidence.

One of the best skills sessions I have done and will continue to do again (never to old or experienced to brush up on your skills) is SKCC Latte Laps. It's free and you get real time feedback and a COFFEE!! YEAH!

Nonie, 3rd on the laps leader for the day
I had a brilliant lead out for the intermediate sprint where I jumped early before the last corner and ripped past the leaders, held it around the corner and JUST made it to the line. I'm now second in the Core Carbon Intermediate Sprint points to Jenny MacPherson. I could ride myself onto a sweeeeeet set of wheels!

Right after the intermediate sprint after the headwind section there was an aggressive attack as the bunch came past me and I was struggling to get my legs working. I slipped into the second half of the bunch and the wheel in front of me split the bunch in two. It took me a minute to realise what had really happened and that nobody was interested in doing anything about it. So I jumped across and was sitting  in "no mans land" for the chase. At one point Danielle Ahern jumped across solo and just as I was starting to fade within reach of the back of the front bunch she helped me bridge.

I was watching the front group start to get agro and vocal and thinking that my team mates were sitting up and waiting for me to cross. What actually happened was nobody wanted to work as the ladies that were trying to score lap leader points were still just fighting it out amongst themselves across the finish line each time and not focussing on staying away. Before I knew it the rest of the bunch was back with us and I had to recover as I was sure we'd get the 3 laps to go soon. Sure enough the next time it was already 2 laps to go... ooooops!

KPC tent city!

Moving up the side of the bunch again and popping in 4th wheel I was interested to sit someone else on the front for the last headwind section. Well, everyone rolled off quick and smart and I was back on the front. Not ideal, Anna came to the front and picked up the pace, then Nonie took over to just about finish off the back straight. Everyone was bunching up and we still had 2 more corners to go. Just before the last corner Anna hits the gas again and distracts the bunch as they take off after her. I keep pace with the front markers and sit on the inside of Carly McCombe out of the wind but she gets a little more kick out of the last corner and takes off for the finish line as I see Emma Jackson on her outside. I can see one more rider come into view as the line finally rolls under my front wheel. 3rd place for division 2.

3rd overall!
Emma Pane represented in Division 1 and did so much work in the race to pull back breaks and attack off the front and hang on into the front group before it all came back together for the final sprint. She finished in with the bunch and had a great day out.

I have really enjoyed the Cykel Crits this year. The final round is only a few weeks away right in Richmond. The circuit will be an uphill hotdog on the boulevard and sure to be spectacular.

You Might Also Like