2013 NSW Masters Championships

9:41 pm Unknown 0 Comments

This racing weekend has been on the cards for a while. A road trip to NSW to revisit their masters championship races again like last year. Unlike Victoria, they hold all three events back to back and I was keen to test out the same courses and test out the legs before the Masters Nationals next month.

Time Trial

The course is pretty good for the time trial, it has long flat sections, hills, rollers and wind. Any course that has a ridge line of windmills is going to have some wind! We drove up Thursday with the car loaded to the gills with bikes, wheels and bags. A recon of the course from Breadalbane to stretch the legs and then back in the car to Canberra to stay with cycling mates Tim and Jess.
The bike and legs felt good. Same wheels, helmet and setup for race day the next day.

TT Bat Bike ready to go!
Warmup complete, so calm - LET's RIDE!
Race day and I was up to race first in the morning. It was beautiful spring weather and there was pollen everywhere! The car was covered in yellow sticky film and my nose started to run. I forgot to pack hay fever tablets. I had a chat to the coach, got warmed up and in no time at all was ready to start. I rolled to the line to do my official equipment verification and then rode up and down the road to keep moving, when I noticed my gears were out of alignment. Not just a little, a lot and it was too late to change anything with 2 minutes to go.

Trying not to think about the gears on the start line

I got into a gear that I knew would not slip from a standing start and rolled out of the start tent in a slow measured manner, trying to wind it up. On the flat sections of the road it was manageable, but the rolling hills were a nightmare of mashing gears, under power, overpower, and second guessing any changes that might have put me in this position. I'd passed my minute rider, made it to the turn around and noticed the swarm of riders coming for me as I started the home trip back. I was off the pace and my head was in the wrong space. When I got back I was so upset and just wanted to re-do it over, but there are no second chances in at TT.

Nose running like a tap as I passed the finish line

When I saw the result that I came in third for MAS1, I was surprised and a little relieved that perhaps it hadn't gone so poorly after all.

3rd NSW TT Championship


Last year it was blowing a gale, there were multiple crashes, and someone wiped out on the main hairpin in front of me. With trepidation I lined up at the start line and noticed they had altered the course to a slightly bigger turn (instead of the hairpin) on loose gravel surface...

They gave us 1 lap to roll around and then it was a flying start! I had a great starting position, but was soon at the back of the pack trying to negotiate the fast, off cambre corners with the bunch.  After 4 laps a small group had snapped off the front and I was in the chase group. Two of my competition were in the lead group and my group was not interested or strong enough to bridge across to it.

Part of our lil' group
At one stage I found that I could not move up in the bunch so I threw in an attack up the home straight hill that dropped the rest of the Masters 1 riders from my group, and settled back into the rhythm.
Soon our turns were disrupted, I lost focus and next thing I know - I was off the back of the group in no man's land. A few of the lapped riders were pulled from the course and we were only 20mins into the crit! OUCH!

Solo land and sprint cars - they usually race on here!
I had 10mins left of punching out solo laps to secure 3rd place amongst the other groups that were fighting for their placings in their categories.

Masters 1 Criterium Champs - 3rd!

Road Race

I really enjoyed the Road Race last year. Despite only making 36km with the bunch, I was really happy with my attacks through the first part of the race that helped pull apart the competition and I managed to hang in long enough to secure a 2nd place to Amber Jenkins.

Warming up in the fog. 

This year Amber was very aggressive with a few of the Masters 2 and 3 riders. They attacked and counter attacked through the first quarter of the race. This dropped a few riders, but the core group of at least 10-15 were able to hang on and stay in the bunch. Unlike previous races I was able to climb comfortably with the bunch, not panic and keep the pressure on with the counter attacks. I quietly congratulated myself and celebrated with a gel mid race when I made it further than last year. It's the small things sometime to celebrate on the bike to keep positive, motivated and distracted enough to keep going and forget about what it is you are trying to achieve - the impossible!

Our bunch was neutralised just after the turn around on the last lap. The leaders lost all advantage as the Masters 1 Men bunch came past and the rest of the race was a little slower than the first half with fewer attacks. The finish line comes after a long medium paced climb and I was sure this was where I was going to struggle this year. Instead I found a wheel to sit on and made it up with the bunch, at 1km to go the banners and flags for the finish were in the distance when the first kick came from the group.
I was on a wheel, then I saw the event flags on the side of the road up ahead and jumped from the wheel to kick for the line.... but that wasn't the finish line! That was the turn around point and Amber jumped around me for the last 150m, won the race overall and I rolled in for 5th!

A good learning experience and test for the legs and mind. We had a really good weekend of racing, met and caught up with a lot of great friends and competitors. The drive back to Victoria was a long haul between the two of us, ready for work the next day :)

Bringing home the spoils from NSW

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