Arrived nice and early and met up with Brycer and Kitty. We were able to get a 20min warm up before lining up for the start. The course was straight out of Lang Lang and then laps including a couple of hills.
After last weeks DQ for B grade the warnings of not straying over the white line were taken most seriously. We rolled out of town and an extremely slow 25-26kph. Once clear of town things picked up a little and we rolled out towards the hills.
First lap up the hill was a bit of a tester for everyone and showed there were a few in the group who were a little stronger on the climb. Brycer and I hung on the back of the leading group of 5 or 6 riders before we all sped down into the valley again.
Things regrouped and the field of 16 riders were whole again. Then we rolled through the flatlands before repeating the hill again. On the second dig up the hill Brycer and I ended up first at the bottom of the hill and Brycer started smashing it from the bottom. I stayed in the saddle and spun my way up. Feeling it a bit for only doing flatlands riding for the last couple of weeks.
By the time we reached the top this time I was in a break of 5 and we had about 40-50m. The lead bunch had no inclination of cementing the break and oddly after the downhill we slowed to around 30kph. Really a bit wasteful to do the hard work on the climb and as a result the break was relinquished in quick time. Once regrouped, we again headed through the flat lands and back around for our final dig up the hills.
Approaching the first of the two hills it was my turn on the front and I pushed up the first one to try and shake things up a bit. Then Peterlip and another rider came through over the first hill. The other rider in front of Peterlip really let off the gas as soon as he was on the front. A bit of encouragement managed to see the pace up again and I could see the rear half of the field was showing signs of cracking. A push up the second hill would likely do it.
Up the second hill and digging deep saw 6 of us, including Brycer, at the top with a break again. Down the hill and things again looked as though they’d slow, so Bryce and I started talking up rolling some track turns to make the break stick. It worked this time and we started rolling turns, if somewhat messy, down into the valley. Our break swelled to 8 just as we started rolling. The final two that joined the break, weren't too interested in helping the work though. Just on for a free ride.
This continued through until about 5km from the finish where everyone started the cat and mouse tactics befor the inevitable sprint. Strict instructions of staying inside the white line before the 250m mark were abided by.
As we rolled over the 250m mark I was on Brycers wheel and we were all hammering towards the line. Things were a little messy with some riders dangerously chopping lines and a quick jab of the brakes saw me narrowly miss a guy who diverged right between Brycer and I.
The winner timed it perfectly and came around the right side, off my wheel as I jabbed the brakes. I came home strong in third by the narrowest of margins and half a bike length behind the winner. Brycer was a half wheel back from me.
Good day out with six of us in the break working hard for the result.