Am I on track?

Am I on track?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Race 2/2013 - C-Grade club criterium, Murarrie

Finally!! Yesterday I raced my first criterium for the year.  Felt fantastic to pin a number on and bump handlebars in a fast moving peloton again.  Lots of fun, and stoked to reach all my goals for the morning!

Felt very nervous when I woke up in the morning - actually tried to talk myself out of it and go and do a bunch ride instead! But I had pencilled this race down in my head, and forced myself to head out and test the legs. The 20min ride to the crit circuit definitely helped relax me and settle the nerves.

Goal 1 - get through the first 5 minutes...

Around 40 starters for the 40min + 3 laps race.  A good turn-up, and I distracted myself by checking out some of the carbon bling in the peloton as we awaited the start. My first goal was to get through the first few laps.  I knew the pace would be a bit of a shock to the system, so the plan was to just keep my head down and work hard to stay amongst it.

A hard start did ensue - with such a big pack, the stronger teams were obviously keen to shake things up a bit.  I was happy to get through it and still be feeling OK...

Goal 2 - make the half-way prime...

A prime sprint prize was scheduled for the half-way mark (20min) - that became my next survival goal.  The wind was causing a bit of havoc, particularly along the '3rd straight' heading east.  It was a head/crosswind, and I couldn't quite work out exactly where it was coming from - no matter where I positioned myself I seemed to be getting buffeted by the wind.

Near the halfway mark, a flock of ibis in the sky caught my attention.  They were 'hovering' in a V-formation - and it clicked in my head that they must be facing direct into the wind.  So I used that to pick my position for the next lap, and it worked a treat...  :)

Twenty minutes came around, and I was still there!  I moved forward when the whistle blew for the sprint, giving myself some buffer to drift back when the pace sky-rocketed for the sprint.  I held well, and gave myself a little mental high-five for reaching the mid-race milestone...

Goal 3 - make it to the end!!

The last 20 minutes to go - time to hang tough!!  I had a few scary moments in the final half of the race, getting caught out a few times as I drifted towards the back.  I was really working hard, but felt ok at the same time.  I was lucky that the pace dipped at around the 30min mark when we were overtaken by B-Grade - it gave me a short, welcome rest.

Finally, at the 38min mark, the "3 laps to go" sign went up.  I had made it!  A big grin spread across my face. The rest of the race was just cream now, I'd just watch the moves and follow what I could...

Position is everything

Again, the stronger teams lifted the pace, and it was hard to follow.  I pushed hard, and managed to move up to mid-pack.  We reached the last lap, and I was trying to watch everyone at once to spot the winning move!

I saw a line of "Ascot Racing" riders move up the outside. I jumped across, and buried myself to follow.  We came flying along the 3rd straight, and I allowed myself to dream for a second that I could actually score  place...

Then my legs absolutely detonated, and that was that!  I had reached my limit, but had exceeded my expectations for my first race back. Made it to the end, and put myself in a position to win.

Looking forward to the next race, and seeing if I can repeat the effort!

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