Monday, February 6, 2012

A view from both sides of the fence.....

A very successful weekend for LAID Cycling with a first and second at Casey Fields.  Below is a summary of the weekend, and to try something a little different we give you two different views of the events.

It reminds me that desipte experiencing the same things in life, people take differenrt things out of it. Everyone's journey is different, not right or wrong - just different. I'll say no more and let you digest Serge's view and Neil's view.

Serge says:
First of all let me say that when I turned up to Casey.... no no no.... when I woke up in the morning.... I thought “I can’t be f***** today, especially not after downing a few beers at a bday dinner last night”. Then when I turned up at Casey, I said to Neil... “no f****** way am I spending ANY time up the front today, not until the last 100 metres”.... “ NO SHLECKING WAY!”

Anyway.....In the windy conditions at Casey, two crazy people (one male and one female) broke away on the very first lap. The 17 riders of E grade left behind laughed off the idea of chasing them and decided to let them wilt out in the open windy hot conditions. Three laps later Neil together with one other broke away as well but very quickly they were joined by a gentleman I know from Sandown who is committed to his breakaways if supported ... that’s when I decided to join them. Long story short ... we joined up to the two in the initial breakaway.. then a few laps later dropped the woman and one other... and then there four. Worked really well together all the way to the end almost finishing km in front of others (some from peloton dropped out due to us being soooooo far in front)..... last lap we all agreed to split the money but sprint for the finish. With 200 meters to go there were only three going for sprint .. Neil started sprinting first, while me sitting behind in the 3rd position waiting to pounce like a Russian bear on an English bulldog and with 100 metres to go I thought “if he beats me I’ll never hear the end of it”... So I surged and crossed the line in front of Neil by two or three meters ..... me first, bulldog second ........ LAID gets a quinella .....THE END

Neil says:
The fun started Friday when I decided that it would be good to give the 1 in 20 a crack after work.

The lead up:
Despite having my heavy training wheels on and not that many carbs I headed on out into the late arvo sun and fairly strong headwind. As I work in Kilsyth its only a few km to the start of the ride which means their is little time to warm up and climbing on cold legs is always a challenge.

So I get to the Basin and start the climb around 5pm. As expected within two minutes my legs felt like lumps of lead and twice in five minutes my speed dropped to 12kph or so. I was really struggling and nearly called it a day, but eventually decided to crack on with it.

I kicked my pace up to 20 to 22kph for the next 2km finding the going hard. Once the false flat arrived I remembered some advice from my mate Ian, who said to get a good time you have to hammer it here, but not so much you blow up later, so dropped a couple of gears and hit mid 30’s, flying along.

Rounding the end of the false flat brought my back to earth with a bang, as the incline kicks up and my speed dropped to 18kph. Digging deep I forced my legs to turn over a few rpm higher and again got the speed up to low 20’s. By the time I rounded the last corner and could see the finish line I was finding it a grind but didnt give up.

I ended at the Sassafrass shops exhausted but guessed I had a reasonable time when I got back on Strava. I then used some of my new found cornering speed from the crits to blaze down the devils elbow descent and home. Once I booted up Strava it told me I had done 18.13 on the 1 in 20 climb, that’s over a minute better than my last previous best and I was very pleased. Knowing i started on cold legs I now have a target of 17 minutes and I hope to crack that this summer.
Saturday was time for the Ringwood Road Ride, a very sociable ride with a great group. The sun was up and a big turnout showed up at the Ringwood clock tower, 7am. Fellow sprint champ and LAID podium regular Serge was here, as well as Mark, recovering from yet another accident and a few weeks off the bike. Mark seems to have an attraction with finding ways to damage himself on two wheels...or should i say damage himself coming off two wheels, with three accidents in a couple of months (only one was his fault though, two were car drivers doing the wrong thing).

We cruised around the circuit with a couple of regroups for the slower riders and then we got to Croyden station. At this point we usually ride up a steady but tough ascent in Kent Road. We did, however, take the option to ascend a much steeper climb known as the Alto. Its around 800m and a evelation rise of 80m or so, averaging over 14% at the bottom couple of hundered metres and then flattening out to a more regular 8% or so. Having done the 1 in 20 the previous day I must have been nuts to try this, but I kicked up well in the big ring for most of it, and after creating a new Strava segment (Alto – Longa than Wonga) found I did the best time in just over 3 minutes. We then rejoin the people who did not want to try this beast of a hill and head to the end of the course. After going up Wonga Hill we regroup and Serge grabs my phone and takes a couple of pics as you can see, with myself on the left and Mark on the right. The morning ended with drinks and muffins at the excellent Firehouse cafe.

The Race
Sunday is crit time at Casey Fields. This has been a good hunting ground for Serge, having a couple of second places, but I have found it harder, probably due to my insistence to take the front position and try to drive the pace up, but then blowing up when the sprint nears.

Today the sun was up and warm, and the wind strong, forecasting to hit 70kph plus by the end of the day. in the morning when we arrived it was around 30kph and blowing across a flat windswept track.

We warm up and decide that with a massive headwind up the back straight that no one would be able to break away and survive, and it would end in a bunch sprint. How wrong we were!

The race had around 20 entrants in E grade, a little down on normal, but unsurprising with the wind. A few of my other cycling mates were here in other grades including Ness in B grade and Kaos Jo in our race.

We start of casually and no one was interested in kicking the pace up or working hard. At the end of the first lap a guy and a girl had started to make a small gap to the rest of us and they continued to open this up over the next lap or so. At one point they had nearly a full length of the back straight as a gap, but I was confident that this wind would soon pull them back.

Myself and Kas jo took to the front and make small break, mainly to drive the pace up a little, but after a lap we were all back together and Jo was done for the day, the wind making it really hard work.  It took another lap or two but the break were reeled back in to the rest  of the peleton.

Shortly after we caught them myself and Serge saw two other riders looking strong and we pushed up the pace, separating about seven riders from the main pack. I suggested that we were making a break and we should work together but at this stage it was a bit casual with no-one wanting to really make a big effort to ramp it up.

Going round the winning straight curve the wind dropped off so I took the chance to hop on the front and spin up to low 40’s, thinking we could force a wider gap. With the help from Serge and a couple of others we managed to pull away a four person break. We had a quick discussion that we thought we could make this break stick and then settled into taking turns on the front. This was the best call I have made in a race as we had four strong riders with clear track and willing to work together. We all did an equal amount of work and steadily opened up a substantial lead.

By 30 minutes we came upon the first person that we lapped (2.4km laps) and we had a third of a full lap ahead of the rest. We continued to work and lapped a couple of others, eventually pulling out to half a lap advantage.
At this point we knew we were safe for the top four places so sat up for a couple of laps and slowed the pace knowing noone could possibly catch up alone and with the headwind. The bell was called quite early (and probably partly due to half of our grade having dropped out at that point). We rounded the second to last corner and into the strongest wind on the course, dropping us to low 20’s kph. At about the half way mark I jumped off the wheel in front of my and gave it everything I had, kind of expecting Serge to be on my wheel but i didnt see him.

Coming round the corner I thought I was going to win easily and thought i had a clear gap. Then disaster struck, just as i was nearing the line i put a hard pedal stroke down and caused the muscles down the left side of my back to spasm and i could not turn the cranks due to the sudden pain. I was perhaps 20m from the line at which point i could only roll across the line, only to see Serge come up beside me and take the winning place by perhaps half a length. Damn!

I was very happy to get my first podium and if I could not win was happy Serge did as we put in a great effort to get to the position we were in. This may put Serge up a grade to D grade for next week, have to wait and see the handicappers decision. I have been told all four of us in the break should go up as we are too strong for the grade, but I would like to win before that happens.

All in all an awesome weekend, and a great result for LAID Cycling.

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