Sometimes the right thing isn't popular
A report from Crib Point - and a reminder - Race by the rules.
Today I rode down to Crib Point to do the Crib Pt road race. I was a little late getting away from home, it's 66km from aboc HQ to the start line at Crib Point, taking it easy that's about two and a half hours. Could go quicker, but want to conserve energy for the race.
Anyway... I was a little slow getting away from home, planned depart was 10:30, and I got away at 10:45. No big drama. The ride down Stud Rd was uneventful, and as I got through Dandenong, I got caught by Tom Leaper and Andrew (sorry Andrew, I don't know your sirname), also on their way. Great, A grade wheels to suck. So I tuck in and Tom's in a hurry, it seems. We're belting along at 38-40km/h. Ok ... E2, dipping up into E3 on the gentle rises. Errr ... I don't want to be going this hard before a race that I don't think I'm fit enough for anyway. But, it's a training day, so I stay with them. They drop me on a couple of hills, but slow down afterwards and I get back on (and this fat lazy sprinter even does a turn, on the hill dropping down towards Hastings). Arrive with about 30 mins to spare, after averaging around 35-40km/h for the last hour and a quarter. Eat, say g'day to Jamie and The Wizard and a few other faces, and wish Mason good luck, and then we're off.
It's a lively race, it's my first road race in a few months so I'm not sure of who needs to be watched if they go, and foolishly early in the second lap I bridge up to a pair that had got up the road. Hitting 182bpm for couple of minutes before we get swamped by the bunch - a complete waste of energy, especially at Crib Point with no significant wind. I spend most of the race making position, and then letting the bunch soak up attacks, and moving back up when the pace slackened. A few Hawthorn members in 6am-ers kit are doing some obvious team riding - they'd mass on the front then one would attack with the other two soft pedaled. Kinda pointless there, more annoying than anything else, but that's their game, ok ... they'll have nothing left for the finish when it hots up. We're doing 55-56km/h most laps through the start/finish area (slight downhill and a hint of a tailwind) so the finish is likely to be 65km/h+. Ok, I've been hitting 60 at the BBN velodrome behind a motorbike and coming around it, if I can make it to the end I'll be a chance.
Along the way, on about lap 6 I think, one of the 6am-er/HCC riders is sitting on the wrong side of the road as we head towards the start/finish. I'm inside him, there's no reason for him to be there. I suggest to him that he can move in, there's plenty of room, but he says 'I'm avoiding the potholes'. Huh? Maybe Northern combine riders don't take the white line rule seriously, but we have to, last year Flinty's whole grade was pulled for riders crossing the line, and in this instance, there was no reasonable excuse for him being where he was. We're running low on race courses and I don't want to spend the rest of my road racing time trolling around Casey Fields.
More about this later ...
With 2 laps to go, my legs say 'enough' and I can't will them to make a bridge after missing a small split at the last turn, and I'm blown. The ride down with Tom and Andrew and that dumb bridging effort earlier has torn off my legs and I just idle back to the finish. So much for finishing ... and this was an easy, flat course. The power meter tells an interesting story indeed.
At the end I speak to the commissaire, informing him that if the tail car reports that No.13 was on the wrong side of the road that I would corroborate the story. I think that's the right thing to do. If riders think they're above the rules and want to risk our use of one of the few flat road race circuits left, they can bugger off.
One of the other 6am-ers approaches me at the end calling me a 'dobber' and some other schoolyard stuff, but as far as I'm concerned, I did the right thing, and they can moan as much as they like - he was in the wrong, deliberatly risking our race permits, and I've no tolerance for that. I doubt Mr Precious Pothole Dodger got any more than a stern talking to anyway.
An sms from Bev, she and Dino had a good ride today, which is excellent. Good going, Dino! Nath's done a big day too. Mason got 2nd in C grade, tops!
We go home in the car, with Tom and Andrew in the back. Dinner (seafood marinara, cooked by yours trully, yummy!) and a good rest. Tomorrow, 3 hours at DISC and then a practice run for officials to sort out our procedures for the sprint series. I need sleep!