Taking one (or three) for the team
DISC report .. 'ouch'
Five of us hardy aboc'ers turned up to race at DISC on Thursday night, Nick Bird (doing his first races on track), Dino, Nathan, Neil and I (Richard is under house arrest on call this week). Cheered on by Bev, Lucie and Emily.
A big field across most grades, D grade must have had at least 18 riders, and the same in C, and B was big too. This mean lots of willing legs and breaks would be be very hard to establish. Fortune favours the brave, but tonight, the brave may well be the stupid! We shall see ...
Following the usual format, Nath (who had time for a proper warmup!) raced first, with Nick in D grade. Nick impressed by finishing well, Nath was still warming up for later, and recorded a DNF.
The us, Dino, Neil and I in the C grade scratchy. I let them know my plan, for what there was of it. Shake up the field early and try to smoke out the workers. I've won there before and also solo'ed away from a points race to take the last sprint, so I'm a threat and have to be marked. The riders there that pay attention know to cover me. Anyway, Neil and Dino know that I'm not planning on going all the way in the scratchy, I'm going to try and weaken the rest so that Neil and Dino can fare well later. Dino's in a base/build phase, so won't have much of a kick, but Neil is strong, and we're banking on his legs to finish things off. It's fast and a bit messy, but with 8 to go there's an opportunity and I kick hard down the back straight, and quickly I establish a small break, two other riders are with me and we roll half lap turns for a lap or two before I sit up to get caught (and overtaken, my job's done for now). Neil & Dino go through, I roll around recovering and pull out. DNF, but Neil's finding his legs and Dino's hanging on. We don't get a result, but the work will pay later in the night. A few riders who fancy their chances are weakened and will have less later.
We watch the rest of the grades race, then it's the points races. Nath & Nick are up first, Nath's plan is 'win the first sprint, forget the rest'. He does. Mission acomplished. Nick rode well and finished well up but I don't think he took any points? Nick?
Our turn, and our plan is the same, except we want Neil to go on with it after winning the first sprint. An aboc train forms at the start line, I'm off first, then Dino, then Neil. Off we go and I do a 4 lap turn pretty hard right from the go, then pull off and it's Dino's turn, but Neil feels it's time to go and he goes over the top, and holds off the bunch for the first sprint. I'm blown and of course, am trying to recover as the rest of the bunch is sprinting, so I'm out of it. A short, but pretty intense race for yours trully! The race pans out, Neil's almost in a break but other legs aren't willing, and they end up all together until one brave lad with 7 to go attacks, and takes the second last sprint and the last, solo. Strong ... Neil's cooked, but so is the rest of the field, only 50% finished, I think. Fortune favoured the brave and hats off to that lad who took the race by the horns and rode it the way he wanted to win it.
Watching A grade, Stu Vaughan is having an off night, too much work and travel, but he'll be back.
The last race, motorpace. Nath's blown and doesn't finish, Nick rides well and finishes well up. He's strong, and will be too strong for D grade very soon.
Our turn. We spread out so that we can help each other later. I'm on the bike for the first lap, Neil and Dino are spread out so we're roughly cutting the field into three. At crunch time, this will mean we'll have numbers and position when we need it. Away we go and the bike is hooting. The bunch doesn't split, but it's very messy at the tail end. With about 6 to go, Neil's on the front and I'm at 4th wheel, perfect. Neil peels up, I open up a lovely gap and call him in, and he drops in front of me. Perfect. Textbook. The bike peels off and Neil's second wheel, I'm third. A girl who's name I don't know is first wheel and suprisingly, she hammers. I've watched her race a lot, and never seen her go all that hard, but she's got legs tonight. I've got the sit on Neil's wheel, as he pulls out to go around her, and he just sits on her hip. We're flying, my 90" gear isn't big enough, but Neil's on 94" and he just keeps going. With 3/4 to go I can't hold his wheel any longer and there's a rider cheekily trying to squeeze under me but I block him in place. But at least I've ensured that anyone behind has to come past me first, giving Neil a buffer. In roady terms I was his sweeper, although I wanted to be the sprinter. Not tonight, I'm at 185bpm (hrmax is 188) just in the draft and way undergeared. Neil takes the win. The early work in the scratch race and the points race has paid, and we've been a strong team, imposing our will on several parts of the evening. Neil gets $10 for the win. Aparently there was a crash but it was midfield and we didn't see or hear it at the front.
Off to Ivanhoe Nandos for chicken and chips with loads of extra hot peri-peri. Mmmmm, then I saddle up the roady and ride to Rich's to watch another amazing stage of the Tour. A pretty good night, I'm happy, Neil's thrilled, Nath's done what he wanted to, Dino's been part of a winning team and Nick's broken a hoodoo and I'm sure is very happy with his courage. We put on a good show for the cheer squad.
Today, a Trek 1000WSD (47cm - it's tiny!) arrived for Emily Apolito, so now she has a beautiful new roadbike to ride the J13 team time trial on. I did a quick fit for her and she looks so strong on that bike .. for an 11 year old she's great.