Last weekend I attended my 3rd C grade Cycling Victorian event (previously I have raced the Stratford to Dargo and the Tour of Bright). Photos of the event can be found here at marisafarrell.com. Overall it was a great weekend away racing with mates in perfect conditions. And no better way to start the weekend was going for a roll into town looking Euro and drinking plenty of coffees.......
I have raced a handful of criterium circuits in my short time racing (South Melbourne, Glenvale, Casey Fields & I guess you could count Sandown) but none compare to the T-shaped hot dog circuit in the center of Mansfield with 180deg right turns (yep right turns, I almost had to get off my bike and lift it in the right direction). Due to the racing before hand, I was unable to ride the circuit before and only managed 1 practice lap before racing was underway. With 25 it was on from the start with the bunch strung out in a pace line, rider were already disappearing off the back with speeds averaging over 40km/h. It took me a a few laps but I started to get the hang of the course but it was too late as I was dangling off the back and had already spent a few bickies closing gaps. 10th lap in and one rider lost it on the first corner causing the last few riders (including myself) to slow and there was no chance I would be able to get back on. Race over after 15mins with a average heart rate of almost 180bpm. Packing my bike away I had a quick to Will Walker who gave my some pointers for future racers, top bloke.
Mt Buller RR
Today was my day as hill climbs/road races are far more suited to my body type and build. With around 50 riders lining up on the start line, the field was strong as is always the case with CV events. As we left Mansfield, a couple riders had opened up a small gap as I suspect a few of their mates were soft pedaling on the front. This was noticed straightaway and Tom from Uni Bikes got on the front to bring them back. From here it was fairly constant to the base of the climb with every attack being promptly brought back. Learning from my mistakes at Tour of Bright, I moved up ready for the surge as we passed the gate house at the bottom of climb. I was able to hold onto the main bunch for the first 2km of the climb which had almost halved the bunch. I regained composure and jumped onto the back of a small groupetto that had formed to help pace me up the remaining 14km's climb. With 3kms to go, a couple of riders blew up as I tried every trick I knew to prevent the cramps in my calves (or my cows). As gradients reached 10% in the last kilometer, I felt a little more at home and finished strongly in a time of approximately 1h55mins. No idea where I came, but it was somewhere mid-field which I consider a decent effort considering the quality of the riders and the 56min time up the climb. On the way back to Mansfield, I stopped with a few mates at the Merrijib pub for a refreshing ale ($25 for a jug, you have to be kidding me).