Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Back on the Road

5

It had been more than a year since my last serious road race, and I’d picked a tough one. The Midlands Tour is renowned for the depth of its field, the difficulty of the terrain and the ferocity of the elements. Only the latter was missing this year, with a reasonably calm, though cold day.

I had ridden the Midlands before and knew that the start was usually frenetic. One year the neutral start was at 50kph through the rolling hills before we got to the circuit which we would lap 6 times. This year as we turned on to the circuit the pace exploded. Our team had decided that either myself or Joey would try to get into the early break, if there was one. I went with four breaks in a row on the first lap without success, and it was probably the sixth one that stuck. Unfortunately I was back in the field with Joey and we weren’t represented. 

The race took on a familiar pattern with the frequent surges on the climbs decimating the field while the break continued to build their lead on the back of consistent, one-pace riding. By the 80km mark a small chase group had formed between us and the break and there was a big chase to pull them back. I spoke to Steve, my teammate, and told him I was going to counter-attack when we pulled the chase group in as I expected there would be a lull. I was keen to get up the road and avoid the carnage that comes on the last few hills.

As if to plan, Stephen Fairless counter-attacked when the chasers were brought back. Fairless represented Australia in the Olympics and was a perfect partner as he was experienced, strong and a big guy. What you don’t want is a flyweight climber who gives you no protection from the wind and then smashes you up the hills. Fairless and I were away for 12 kms and built a good lead, when we saw a fast-moving group bridging the gap. Disasterously they caught us at the bottom of the biggest climb on the circuit and we had to kick and scratch to stay with them to the top.

Once on the back straight for the last lap I decided that best course of action was to work full turns and establish credibility in the group. By sitting on – even once or twice – you significantly increase the chances of them not wanting to keep the group together. This was easier said than done with Lachie Norris and half a dozen other riders who formed the selection swapping off at 50kph. The moment of truth came on that same hill I barely survived the lap previously. I had gotten halfway up and feeling reasonable until the attacks came. There weren’t many, but the acceleration was too much for Fairless and I. By the top of the climb they had 100 and I closed to within 50 but couldn’t get back on. I still had 6kms to the circuit and the mission became losing minimal time and holding off Fairless. In the end I did a reasonable job of that but had Tom Leaper, a former Giro rider, come across to me in the last few hundred metres.

Final result was around 17th – and not much more I could have done. Steve finished in the group but unfortunately mechanicals and legs meant we were the only two finishers from our team and we needed three to qualify for the teams competition.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/41706697

Comments

5 Responses to “Back on the Road”

Trackbacks

Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. Leroy says:

    franks@modest.remoteness” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    сэнкс за инфу!…

  2. Jessie says:

    technician@morphemic.prelude” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    сэнкс за инфу!…

  3. neil says:

    boris@tulip.jag” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    спс….

  4. isaac says:

    traditionnel@furnishes.literally” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    спс….

  5. mark says:

    misrepresentations@urich.surveillance” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!…