What a way to finish my maiden racing season! Wind? Way too much of that! Rain? Yep we had a little of that too right at the start line and then on-and-off throughout the hour or so of racing. A good time? Well, despite pulling some turns with the leaders that had me almost puking over the bars I’d have to say a resounding yes!
I was in the 6 minute group this time. I remember in my first handicap (my first race ever actually) in April I went off at 13 minutes and thought that was going to be tough. Our group of eight on the starter’s sheet was whittled down to six due to one DNS and George Goodrope missing the start. That really hurt us as the windy conditions made for some tough turns and an extra pair of legs would have helped ease the load.
Despite the smaller group we rolled turns really well and cut into the advantage help by the 8:30min bunch within 30km. At this point I think our average was up near 40kph. Once we caught the group ahead however the great teamwork we displayed fell away. Turns got more and more disorganised as you were never sure who was willing to contribute.
Despite a lot of encouragement and a solid core of four or five riders still prepared to work, the call came that scratch (actually it was the 2min group) were only a couple of hundred metres back so we decided to sit up and prepare to jump on the bandwagon.
With five of my regular Banyule CC riding buddies in the 2min bunch I set about doing as much work as I could to keep the pace up and help eliminate following riders. It was probably the hardest 10km I’ve raced. Perhaps I was a little over zealous in my efforts as I popped just before the Rochford climb, but not before I got a grilling from Chopper for “murdering” the bunch” with my efforts. Sorry guys!
With the legs well and truly cooked I watched the bunch ride away, recovered for a few minutes and then set about an individual TT for the last 8kms to the finish. By this stage the wind and rain had picked up again and all I focussed on was curling myself into as small a parcel as I could. The Rochford descent was a hoot despite the rain stinging with every drop. My garmin tells me I managed 68.5kph with 110 cadence into a headwind on the descent and I was thankful for the 11-25 cassette I borrowed.
Within sight of the finish line I had a group of four come past, which included a couple of scratch riders and the missing George Goodrope, so I jumped on for the tow to the finish.
Thanks for some great racing in 2011 and I’m already looking forward to trying to get into B grade for 2012.