A silly assumption and a rookie error on my part stole a potential win from me today, but the overall satisfaction I have following today’s race is the best.
In fact, the 113km race at Warburton is by far my most satisfying road racing result ever.
With a profile like this….
… there was no way I was going to be successful on the climbs against little, light fast climbers so I knew I had to come up with some other cunning plan.
The 6am-er planning during the week was extensive. After our discussions coming out of the hurt box on Tuesday, the emails flowed thick and fast. Approximately 157 emails contained everything from wit to shit but luckily included some serious discussion about how we would handle this race.
The first part of the plan was for me to roll off the front of the race very early – stay away as long as I could – allow the other 6am-ers in the bunch to roll without working whilst other riders chased me down… easy.
Since we’re not really allowed to ride as teams, I’d better not go into too much detail!
I’d encouraged Aaron Christiansen to come along for a race earlier in the week and ran into him on the start line. After a bit of a chat I said, “Hey – I’m going to ride off the front of this race really early. You should come with me. Up to you. I’ll need some help.”
So by the 5k mark I was off. Within 2k I couldn’t see the group and was happy to see that they’d let the big fella go, confident they’d catch me on the hills. By the 10k mark Aaron had bridged to join me so I was happy to know that I’d have some help for as long as we could hold it.
At the bottom of the first climb (19k) I said, “Let’s just get to the top of this without getting caught.”
At the bottomof the second climb (33k), after letting out a bit of a hoot, I said, ” Let’s just get to the top of this without getting caught.”
Same at the bottom of the third (50k) and fourth (65k) but it was getting a bit of a joke by then and we were both starting to seriously think we had some chance. At the top of the second loop I looked back to see the bunch chasing hard about two k behind… strung out, riding fast. That worried me initially but I never saw them again after that.
We put as much time into the bunch as possible on the descents and dug deep on the climbs to minimise the losses. The flat and undulating were hurt-box turns of only two. I’ve never ridden so consistently hard in a road race in my life before but it was worth every bit of pain.
That final 12 percent pinch followed by the gradual climbing to the finish line really put me in the blender and when Aaron hit me with 200 or so to go, I didn’t respond in time and rolled across the finish line to take second.
Aaron and I rolled up the road 200m and turned back to the finish. It would have been within a minute that the chasing group came flying across the line in a sprint with Duke at the healm to take third.
Bloody fantastic result for the 6am-ers, showing that we have the strength to race at this level with confidence to dominate the races and take the places.
Now speaking from experience, an early attack with 108ks in a two man break has got to be the best way to ride a bike race. Incredibly satisfying result.
Interestingly, I dropped my chain three times, twice having to get off to fix it. Coming down the last climb we were held up by a D grade rider who was holding up a couple of cars then our lead car – grouse! A couple more such incidents would have had the bunch up are buts just before the finish line rather than just after it.
A good plan – a bit of luck – a bit of determination – a bit of effort… all ads up to a good result.