Victorian Masters Road Race and Time Trial Championships

10:17 pm Unknown 0 Comments

I love that feeling you get the moment you close the car door/front door and step out of the wind after a hard ride. It's all silent, your legs and lungs are tired, your cheeks are pink and starting to tingle from the sweat salt crystals forming and it's all over. I got to experience that twice this weekend at the Vic Masters Championships.

The weather was a pretty big player in the variables this weekend. A massive storm Friday night had blown a tree down in our yard, but not blown itself out by the time we'd driven to Lang Lang. It was blue skies and a pretty steady wind. As per usual the main topic of discussion was "what front wheel will be best for the Time Trial?"

I was assigned #1 and ready to set a good time. My progress has been slow and steady back to some form. I'm not where I was this time last year, but my last 2 Time Trials have been great pacing and pushing the level were I'm at right now.

Low and Aero

Really happy with the warmup and had my gear all ready, I rolled up to the start line as the last rider off. All the nerves settled as I had a chat to the officials and I was racing.  I caught the rider who left 1 min in front of me halfway though the 22km course. But with the way the wind played out, it was only a race to 19kms, with a tailwind home.

That final tail wind straight was not uneventful with only a single lane road, I had a truck laden with fresh veggies from one of the local farms come head on and only veer out of the way about 10m in front of me while I was ripping towards the finish line. I wasn't playing chicken on a TT rig! Further along I had two kids heading the same way on mountain bikes try in vain to "race" me and wobble all over the road that I gave a wide berth with 1km to go.

I crossed the finish line at 52km p/h and saw Shane sitting in the car a little further down. I waved and cooled down to the corner, then turned around to spin back to him. What I noticed when I got closer was the car was now stuck nose deep in the soft edge of the skinny road, totally dug in and obstructing half the road! WTF?!

Thankfully a local stopped and helped tow him out of the ditch a few minutes later. Lesson learnt after all the rain, the shoulders are a bit soggy!

Muddy subie, puffed Von, happy bike

All the hard work paid off with a GOLD in the TT. The official timing were a little out across the board, but the placings were ok and I was definitely a little slower than last year.

It was pretty warm on Sunday and the wind was still blowing, stronger than the day before! It was very reminiscent of last years Vic Masters Road Race, but half the distance.

The course was a beautiful circuit, that I found hard to appreciate. I'd genuinely love to come back to do the course again. Shane's assessment from the profile, that it was going to be dead flat - was not quite the case :)

We went out as a small group whittled down to 6 due to non-starters. Unfortunately they did not start us together with the larger group leaving after us. Finding our feet through the gravel in the driveway, and it was straight into the headwind, then when we turned into the tail wind it was ON!

We lost one rider rolling turns at low 40km p/h, I wished for a little minute the whole race would be like this. However after we turned the corner into the side-head wind and started rolling turns with the five of us, it was not so bad. Over a small lump, I thought that Shane was right about his paper assessment of the course profile, then I saw it. Don't panic! I wasn't sure how my legs were feeling after hammering myself in the TT the day before until we hit the main climb. 2 kms at 5.6% was like a slap in the face.

We'd lost another rider and there were 4 of us now. A slight reshuffle of places on the road and two riders shoot off the front and I'm dangling behind 3rd place. A kind word of encouragement from my competitor did nothing for my legs, and I could not go with them. I kept climbing solo and there were some nice winding green hills, then hit the ridge line and had to drop back into the valley.

At this point I am glad that I was solo as it was the most sketchy dry descent I've ever done with the cross winds trying to whip at my front wheel. I was leaning nose to stem and still getting swept across the road. Then it was flat to the finish and wind in every direction - trying to claw away at each kilometre. It was an interesting experiment of trying to mash away at a heavier gear to get back faster or spin a little more to get a little more balance and control.

At about 4km to go before the delicious tail wind section I lost concentration and my front wheel caught in a gust and slipped out. I felt the whole bike slip sideways in slow motion. As soon as I stopped pedalling I was at a standstill, unclipped mid-air and put my foot on the ground like nothing had happened. Mad ninja skills. A kilometre down the road it almost happened again and I stopped on the side of the road for one second to take stock. Nobody in front of me, nobody behind. I guess I have no choice - finish!

That crazy footage of dutch riders in crosswinds as seen on bigringriding

When the final corner came up I screamed thanks to the marshals and spun from 20 to 42 km p/h and was in HEAVEN! After the final left turn to the finish I felt a bit more like myself and crossed the line having earned every single km that I rode.  I came in first for my category, but I think anyone brave enough to finish deserved a medal.

Looking like I'd been assaulted by the wind, but nicely recovered with a Torq shake

GOLD - hard earned.

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