Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nationals Hit Out in the Bay - Day 4

6am rolls round rather fast, beep beep beeeeep beep beep beeeep cell phone is telling me it's time to get up, still feeling slightly groggy from my deep sleep, I clamber out of bed towards the kitchen (5 steps away). Load up the stovetop with my magic coffee bean mix crafted by the Immigrant's Son, pack some bread into the toaster.

A few minutes later I'm sitting down with the pre race meal of 4 bits of crunchy toast... jam, honey, peanut butter for toppings and a nice ripe banana to add into the mix. A few hits of caffeine and I start packing up all my stuff and loading the car. Leave out 4 bottles for Backy to bring along to the race and hand out at the feed zone. Great help, as without a good feeder you can miss bottles and really suffer later in the race.

Packing Stovetop
We (Subway lads) have a team talk to work out a pre-race strategy. Everyone looked to have come along with good racing form so expectations were high. Thanks to Ryan Wills for lending me his super light climbing wheels, these where brilliant. Gave the feeling that you were just floating along adding that extra motivation to get into the breaks. Up for grabs on the finish line was a certificate from Special K too. I wanted it!

First lap started with a hiss and a roar, the temperature was high right from the get go. As I hadn't seen the course before I planned on staying in the bunch and learning the lay of the road for the first lap. Ryan and Nick made an early move with two other riders, sweet for me as I could sit in. Course was deceptively hard, it was going to be a wearing down process with a section of short climbs and false flat windy sections. As the first lap finished Ryan hit the deck ending his race. Damn.

This doomed the break as the bunch swept up the remaining 3 riders near the start finish line. Then... BOOM... the race split to pieces. Cross wind coming from the right, everyone strung out in the left hand gutter fighting, trying to hold the wheel in front of them. This is where the race winning move of eight riders formed and I was in it. Amazing how in the space of a few minutes a race can change.

The next 4 laps we gradually built up the time gap, hovering around the 2min 30sec mark. Nothing really out of the normal went down during this time, everyone was taking their turns. It was great to have team mate Nick (Grover) in the break though.

Kept topping up the fuel in the tank with Balance gels, the time was ticking ticking away so slowly... most exciting part about each lap was getting a fresh drink bottle from Backy.

Feed zone photo
Photo courtesy RoadCycling

The action really started at the beginning of the 5th lap, through the cross wind section again the hammer dropped, strung out like washing left on the line to dry. This broke apart the break, but I fought my way to the front of the race. Once through the cross wind section it settled down a bit, looked behind and no one was on my wheel, just two in front. 100 meters back Nick was coming back up so this gave me a chance to sit on and wait for him.

Once Nick was on Gordy put in a attack up a rise, dislodging Nick again in the process, but he never gave up trying to get back on. Last lap it was down to three. Gordy, Shem (under 23) and myself. The final lap report, coming soon...

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