Am I on track?

Am I on track?

Friday, 27 December 2013

Race 4/2013 - Twilight Criterium (HPRW), Nundah

Back on December 4th, I lined up for my fourth race of the year.  The Twilight Crits, run by the HPRW club, are one of my favourite crit race series - a bunch of Wednesday afternoon races that turns 'hump day' from boring to something to look forward to!

It would indeed be a race for me to remember for a number of reasons...

Normally I'd punch some stats up for the race straight up.  I'm not 100% sure what they are though - but thankfully Strava (ride link here) helps me out...  I raced in B2 grade, and I know that every single lap averaged over 40km/h - most in the low-mid 40's range.  It was a quick race...

The Story of the Day

I rolled up to sign on for C-Grade (as usual) - but the current grading system used by HPRW has Masters C riders under 50yo racing up in B2 (with the Masters B riders!!).  No worries of course - its all for fun and games.  I handed over my $10 and pinned on my number.

We lined up for the pre-race briefing at 5pm.  Based on the numbers I saw, there were about 60 starters in my race - definitely a big one!  The race format was a 'points race'. Basically, first across the line every lap scored points, and then on the last lap the first 5 scored as well.  Most points would be the winner.

As usual, my goals were a lot more modest (especially given I was racing 'up' a grade). I simply wanted to last the distance.

The race went hard from the gun.  The first 3 laps were actually the quickest of the day - all averaging above 45km/h (with the second lap up around 47.5km/h).  We were hitting 50km/h along the home straight each time!

Needless to say, I was struggling.  I was giving absolutely everything to just hang on.   I somehow survived those first few laps, but I was well in the red zone.  The clock on my speedo had just ticked over 5min, and I thought that may be it for me!

I started a simple game - just hold on to the next corner...  I kept digging deep, and pushing on & on. A number of times I thought I was gone, but I managed to just keep a hold of the peloton. My mouth was dry, but I dared not reach down for my bottle...

Time started adding up - 6min, 7min, 8min... When the clock ticked over to 10min, a wave of relief washed over me - I had at least made double figures!

At around the 12min mark - something changed with me. Suddenly, everything seemed to adapt. I was still pushing extremely hard, but the pain disappeared and I seemed to find my rhythm. It was a wonderful feeling, and I dared to dream that I may make the finish...

Finally, at around the 35min mark, the 2 laps to go sign came up.  The bell went a lap later, and I was on the final lap.  I was absolutely elated!!  I knew I had never been in a race this fast before and made it to the finish.  Having dug myself out of the deep hole I was in after 10min just made it sweeter again.

I knew I wouldn't be sprinting at the finish, so I decided to get out of everyone's way.  I was about a third back fro the front, and let myself drift back into the rear third of the field.

Suddenly, everything changes...

Second last curve of the race.  Some guy a few in front of me dramatically changes line and chops someone's wheel.  Guy goes down heavily in front of me, spreadeagled with his bike across the track.  I'm travelling at almost 50km/h with no-where to go.  I hit him and think, "please not my collarbone..."

The Short Story

Everything hurts - and then only my left shoulder hurts.  Yep, the same one as last time. Oh no...

Ambulance to Royal Brisbane Hospital. X-Rays and MRI's.  Concerns over a fractured eye socket eventually dismisssed (phew!).  Lots of concerns over a left shoulder that seems to be continually swelling, so kept in overnight.

Final verdict - left clavicle fractured distally, and needing to be plated. More concern though over the ligaments, that seem to be 'shredded' (registrar's words - not good!).  Surgery scheduled for the following week.

What's next?

Normally, this section of a race report is about my next lot of racing and/or training.  But I'll just leave things there for now, given that any cycling is months away (at least)...

For the sake of posterity though - next post will cover off on what exactly happened with my shoulder...!!

Stay safe everyone, and don't take the joys of cycling for granted.  I miss it already...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Where have I been...?! (Oct & Nov 2013 Review)

Life's been pretty busy lately - lots happening in all spheres of my life.  Don't mistake inactivity in the bog for inactivity in life - quite the opposite!!  I'm checking in here quickly to log a few stats for my ongoing record, and quickly run over what I've been doing, and what's coming up...

Firstly - updated stats:

January - 300km / 13hrs
 February - 452km / 20hrs
 March - 341km / 20hrs
 April - 269km / 12hrs
 May - 201km / 10hrs
 June - 437km / 21hrs
 July - 71km / 4hrs
 August - 518km / 26hrs
September - 455km / 21hrs
October - 386km / 17hrs
 November - 245km / 13hrs

Year to date - 3674km / 178hrs

Obviously things fell away mileage-wise over the last couple of months.

The main culprit has been work.  I had a sudden change of role due to some urgent priority stuff going on. This included some changes to my work location.  So instead of working 4 days/week at my usual building (and 1 day/week elsewhere) - I'm now split 3 days/wk in the CBD, 1 day/wk in Milton, and 1 day/wk at my usual location.

My cycle commuting (which has been the backbone of my mileage) thrives on 'habit' - and my new arrangements haven't been conducive to that at all!!  It took me a few weeks to get access organised for my bike to underground carparks (and other annoying administrative stuff), and then some further time for me to work out the best way to carry a lot more than usual to/from work (the new CBD location doesn't have lockers available).

Fortunately, things are starting to settle into a routine again.  I'm managing to cycle-commute at least 3 days/week, which is (probably most importantly) is making me happy...  :)

Weekends have been a bit scrappy, as my kids' weekend school sport really ramped up over Oct/Nov as well.  That's not a complaint though - I absolutely love it.  Cheering my girls on and watching them improve and grow in confidence is one of life's great pleasures.  School sport is on Christmas holiday break now though, so plenty of opportunity over the next couple of months to build up some time in the saddle.

What's ahead?

In the short-term - club racing.  A couple of HPRW club's twilight criteriums on a Wednesday afternoon (including my first one this afternoon), and a couple of my own club's Saturday morning criteriums.  I had planned to race the Brisbane Blast Open criterium on 15th December - but I waited too long to enter and Masters C reached capacity. Lesson learned...

Big News!!

June/July 2014. Northern Italy - riding the Stelvio, Gavia, and Mortirolo. France - spectating a stage (or two!) of the Tour de France.  Looks like it will happen, but I dare not write anymore in case I curse my luck...

Needless to say, I'm excited...  :)

Getting ready for 2014

Normally, I spend the week or two around Christmas/New Year off the bike.  Then in January, I'll just do some sporadic riding to slowly get back into the groove of it all again.

With some big plans for 2014 though, I want to be ready to start strongly in January.  So December for me is about trying to rack up as many days in the saddle as I can to be ready for a big first 6-months of 2014.

Ride safely!!