Friday, January 20, 2012

Another first nets a fourth at Casey

A while back a man, we'll call him Serge, went about changing his life. The days of partying hard and smoking like a chimney were to be put to bed. Well the partying would continue, but lets say a little more responsibly.

Anyway looking for a distraction and something to improve his life and health Serge found cycling.His love was instant and he found his new obsession.

As a founding member of LAID Cycling; Serge is the man on the spot on the Tuesday Hell Rides and many of the community rides you read about here.

Over his journey from cycling chump to what his is now (you decide) we've seen some rapid improvement through committed effort. Only recently he managed to hang on for the whole journey of the Tuesday Hell ride. Quite an achievement in such a short time.

Serge now passionately tells the tale of his first attempt at Crit racing and Cranbourne's Casey Fields.
Picture Plan view of the Casey Fields Track (source:
Words: Serge Krepak

It started just like your ordinary weekend Sunday with a shower and a coffee except the time was 6.30 am so obviously this Sunday was going to be different.

After hearing about the criteriums from the Pocket Rocket Pomey Neil, and the drive of challenging myself, it didn’t take me long to get really excited about competing for a prize.. and for a win.... and for feeling of achievement ... and maybe for my ego as well.... anyway, I wanted to race.

60 minute drive from home on a warm morning, with a quick stop for a latte, I was at Casey fields among other racers of all age and sizes. Friendly foes with their very expensive toys were gathering and the anticipation was growing. E grade was the starting point for me and the licence organised I was getting anxious. With 45 minutes to start, riders were out on the circuit warming up their legs, expanding their lungs and raising their heart rate. Neil was already on his BOMA in the LAID gear looking pro and I couldn’t wait to get out there.

After a few warm up laps, 9 am rolled around, a group of 27 riders lined up and the starting gun went off. A quick look around and there was only two similarities between us all.... we were all over 30 years of age and we loved to ride otherwise there were tall, short, fat, skinny, black, white, 40 year old, 50 year old, 30 year old and I’m sure there were one or two in their 60’s as well. The collection of bikes ridden were just as vast the men riding them.

Rules: 60 minute criterium, 2.24 km lap, as many laps as possible with first three to get the prize money.

A few laps in and a few attacks later, an average pace of about 35 km\h was set and we were rolling. Attacks kept on coming but I realised there’s no point chasing each one down .. we’ll get them eventually. After about 30 minutes Neil broke away and no one chased. Everybody figured we’ll catch him eventually and so he went on his own. I did begin to grow doubts if we are going to get him when he ended up half a lap ahead but true to the windy conditions and the strength of riding in a group we caught him.

Feeling good, growing with confidence and with 15 minutes to go I thought it’s time to test out this group. I jumped and stepped on the pedals trying ever so hard not to look behind. I was immediately joined by four others and we seemed to break away and split the group but no one cared enough to keep the pace and once again we regrouped with the rest. The bell for the final lap rung loud and clear and with that the pace picked up. One km to go a group of 6 switched to their biggest gears and went for the sprint. I hanged on to the back of the five with the rider on the front relying on his huge thighs to power home. He was always going to win and never looked like losing this race. With the last corner out of the way and 100 metres left it was now or never, I jumped off the seat, slammed on the pedals to drive past the two guys in front of me to come 4th about a metre of the 3rd.  BOOM, YEAH BABY, OH SHIT I JUST MISSED OUT ... I want to go again I want to go again !!!!

It was exciting, it was fast, it was a great experience, it was everything I expected and more and hopefully it was a start to a lot more racing for me.

- Serge managed to snag fourth spot again in yesterday's Sandown Crit
- A shout out to Mark who is recovering from been hit by a car while on his bike this week. Speedy recovery mate.

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