Smallish turnout today I suspect because of the Bay2Bay being on. Only 4 in A grade. Field for D was 10. Very blustery N-NW wind (guess 50-60kmh at times) which was going to make the 70km flat circuit interesting in parts.
Rolled out of Coralyn football oval and headed north into the teeth of the breeze. Did a few turns with some of the other guys as usual - comfortable 30kph or so pace.
Turned left and headed across the top into a side wind. Not much happening. Turned left again at the 10km mark to head down toward Bayles. This put the breeze on our tail and so it was fun to wind the pace up off the front into the high 40s, occasionally 50s - max speed here was 54kph on the flat
Turned left again at the bottom of the course which put the breeze into us as a crosswind. Good - minimal drafting advantage for the passengers. All have to work now.
Gave it a ping off the front at 20km mark to see what would happen - no followers - sitting out like a shag on a rock 50m off the front. Sit up and have a drink while I wait for the bunch to come back.
Thought about the options while waiting for them - which were sit in and maybe try for a break across the top of the circuit at the 50k mark, go now and try and build a big break, hold them off into the headwind and then get further away across the top of the course where its crosswind again plus a few rollers before turning south again to collect the huge tailwind from the 60k mark to the finish. Or sit in for the duration.
With no Bodie today I thought they look unlikely to get organised enough to muster a working group so decided on trying the go for it now option. If I got caught then just sit in and have a go at the sprint.
So slide back to third wheel and create a little gap - drop two cogs and go wide and fast around the front. I get 100m off the front before they realise. Down on the drops and focus on keeping the HR just under lactate threshold - kicking along at 38kph into a crosswind now. Nice.
I think the view was I would sit up again given no-one came with me - wrong.
Built a lead of perhaps 400m or so when I noticed a bunch closing on me - damn thats no good - smile when I see its the A grade quartet going past.
Shortly after this a damn magpie (obviously sent up the road by the bunch) decides to have a go at me. Half a dozen swoops later he gives up.
Closing in on the next left turn at the 38km mark which will put me straight into the 50-60kph wind. Lead still building - I might have got a gap of 800+ by now. Figure they might get me into the headwind - another bunch comes up. Thats ok as its B grade.
Let them go by and hang the regulation distance back but pace off them on the way up into the wind. Hard work this bit but keeping the HR on the LT and letting the speed do what it wants. Which is about 30kph
Determined not to blow the LT and hoping that the gap is big enough that they wont get to me before the next corner. They don't
Turn left again at the 49km mark to head back through Longwarry etc with the wind coming in as a cross/headwind. Ok gotta get the speed up here as the bunch has minimal drafting advantage here. Keep on cranking - in the high 30s now - B grade had about 300m on me at the turn into Longwarry but seemed to have slowed a bit.
I'm closing in on the back of B Grade but the HR is still sitting nicely 3bpm under LT.
So....I click down another gear and pass B Grade at a cheerful 40kph
They then sit behind me sucking wheel for the next 7-8ks
Pull off the front of B and decide to let them go as I was feeling a bit tired by now and a D grader on the front of B is a bit odd. B grade put some attacks in and went away from me at this point. Still on the LT and traveeling along in the mid/high 30s.
Look back at the final left turn toward Coralynn (62k mark) and I cant see anyone at all in a 800m stretch of road. Cool - big win for me unless they get ultra organised or I flat like last week.
The last left turn puts the breeze on my back so its back up into the low 40s and then left by the footy oval and cruise to the line in the small chainring.
Two guys went away from the bunch and ended up finishing about 600-700m behind me.
Given I stayed away for 50km of a 70km race I figure I am about to get booted to C grade
Collected the Presidents Ride of the Day as well as the 1st place - so fairly profitable as far as club races go.
Avg Speed: 34.6kph
Max speed: 53.7kph