Always testing and a random regional Handicap thrown in for good measure

10:45 pm Unknown 0 Comments

After an indoor power test during the first week of April, my coach had lined me up to do an outdoor power session on a climb. I had not tried to give Kinglake a real crack before, so I headed out there to kick my weekend off in style. I was pretty motivated to do a good time, but was not really sure where the start of the climb was, so I didn't hit my lap counter until I was sure the road was consistently going up. The problem after that moment was my gears were not consistently changing! I had some real grinding and crunching issues all the way up and probably scared off all the remaining wildlife and one Hells500 grey striper that I passed while doing the unintentional strength effort. I had flash backs to my hideous Masters Nationals Time Trial where the gears were slipping around on my TT bike and I had to just find a gear that worked and mash it to the top. I'll be going back to give it another go in the coming months for sure.

The next stop on the way out of town with Shane was to pick up Stephen Lane fresh from winning the Coburg Club Crit Champs in A-Grade and we headed straight out to Seymour.

They put on great club racing each week - check out their Facebook page to see the schedule when the Northern Combine is full or the weather is a bit uncertain and you can get a start for $10 entry on the day!

I got a fair handicap starting with three other guys at about C-Grade level for the 60km race. We worked even turns out to just past the turn around where we zoomed back in towards home on the same road to see the scratch bunch coming. Shane was on the front of the bunch and had a massive grin on his face as he past us. It struck fear into our bunch that immediately went to pieces and stopped working together.

They caught us at the 39km mark and I was on the front as they came by and sprinted to get across to the back of the train. My average speed jumped from around 36 km/h to 42 km/h and all I could think of was to hang on as long as possible to get me closer to the finish and to try and finish with this group.

It was really cool to see my team mates rolling turns up the front in a massive pace line smashing each other and trying to soften up the rest of the group. At one point I see Shane grab a drink and water goes EVERYWHERE! He's pouring it all over himself like he's on fire. A few minutes later we're on another small rise and I can see the guys driving it into the head wind as the group of now 10 riders snakes along behind them with me near the tail. My mind wandered off for a moment to a conversation in the car on the way to the race how there are B and C-Grade riders who can hang on to a sprint finish in some races without even hitting the wind - I had a chuckle to myself at that point as I was benefiting from the slipstream and essentially "I was that guy"!

It was going to be easier said than done to hang on though as I didn’t know the route and we had a technical section through town where I had to sprint out of each corner to stay with the guys and then we hit the hills. I remember from the rough overview Shane had mentioned there was a double kick in the final hills. Initially there was a small climb out of town that Stephen had perfectly paced the group halfway up and dropped back through the group to rejoin in front of me. Just as the next rider was looking to roll off, he attacks up over the top of the climb and disappears off into the distance. I manage to hold on with the group as they respond up over the top of the climb and scramble on to the back.

We are 51km into the race and each kilometer I can hang onto is one less I have to ride home solo. I realize that there is another hill coming up and it must be the last one. I can still see Stephen up the road, but I think we are starting to make some time back up on him. So Shane sets a tempo on the climb at the front that is pushing it for me and just hard enough that it seems that nobody is going to counter. Sam Fuhrmeister was the next to roll through to set tempo, then I was next and ready to try my best at blocking, but Shane pushed me off the front and promptly counter attacked on the other side of the road. This was bad timing for me, I was already in the red zone and then the explosion from the group to respond to Shane jumping across to Stephen who was fading up the road was the end of me. There was a little more hill to go and someone was still on my wheel. I swung my elbow once, twice, but they didn’t come through. Bad mistake, as I was starting to go backwards fast and lost contact with the front of the race.

There was about 7-8kms left to go and I could see the group up the road but nothing behind. That means I was guaranteed a top 10 placing if I could keep the pressure on.

We worked together towards the line and then I jumped early to try a sprint and rolled in for 7th overall. Totally ecstatic with the result, I rolled around to find Shane who had brown gel goo all over himself. During the race the gel pack had split when he opened it and covered his face, hands and he’d tried to wash it off unsuccessfully during the ride. That was the gush of water in the peloton that I had witnessed.

The boys had gotten away with a first place for Stephen (double win day!) and second for Shane after wearing down Alan Adams before the finish. It was a great day out in the last of the summer’s warmth.

Totally washed out after a big day out with the boys and the team car

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