Adventures of the Cotic - A Quick Release holidays mountain bike race team

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Crossing to the Dark-side

It's been a while but I think I have got the racing bug back. Why, I got up early on Sunday morning to do a road race.

The sensations weren't good rolling over to Stromolo, the legs felt rubbish it was really windy and I probably should have worn arm warmers. The ride over double as a warm up which is always good, signed on for C-grade and had a cruised round staying warm. A and B were combined and there were some big hitters in the field, including local MTB star Dylan Cooper.

C-grade had 6 riders in it which proved to be good as the racing was positive from the gun. The wind played a big part, the first quarter was a head wind, second half was cross wind and you guessed it, the last quarter a tail wind. Up to the halfway point I was feeling good, I cruised up the climb and was on the right wheel when my mate Les decided to put everyone in the gutter in true rouleur style. Just after the turn around Les and I had a brief chat at the back, he was going to light it up over one of the the small rises. I saw the move coming and made sure he got a clean jump, the idea being I would bridge to him on the climb. The remaining 4 riders had it strung out trying to chase Les down but his advantage was up to around 500m with 12km remaining. From here we had about 3km of climbing up the Three Sisters. I followed wheels and there were only two of us left over the first sister. I rolled to the front, pretended to chase but backed the pass off to let Les open up an advantage on the flat. Climbing up the second sister I tried to jump across solo as we were down to less than 100m, but had an unwelcome passenger who I couldn't unhitch. Alas I backed things off again. By the top of the third sister, Les's advantage was about 200m, I knew he was a time trailing machine so I pretended to swap off to maintain my podium position. In the last few kilometres a really strong guy caught us and Les's lead was looking in doubt. I got to the front twice to block but the little guy would attack me. The second time the elastic broke :-( Les hung on for the win and I came in 4th. The support in the chase group was appreciated. It turned out to be a nice Sunday morning hit out.

I wish Les all the best for next weekend Tour of Bright (especially the TT), which is one of the biggest road races on the Australian calendar, including the 20 plus kilometre climb up to Mount Hotham.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Thursday Night - Crit Night

Once daylight savings is in full swing here in Canberra, our club holds weekly dirt crits. The format is simple 10-15mins on a short lap with juniors up first, then all the way up to A-grade.

So after a crazy week at work, I left at 5 and made a B-line to Mals where I was reunited with my bike, now my forks work! I was back in the car bound for Hackett gate whilst trying to avoid the 6 O'clock rush around Dickson. With the time running out I was on my bike heading up the climb over to Majura Pines (Majura is probably a 20 minute ride from the centre of town and is covered with singletrack.), it was a humid afternoon and you could see the storms rolling in from the mountains.

I arrived just a D-grade was starting, Claire signed my on whilst I did a quick practice lap. As a results of the afternoons thunderstorms there were some muddy spots to keep things interesting. The course was broken into two section on singletrack with the later being into the headwind followed by the start/finish straight climb.

The key to a good race in C-grade is being near the front on the start line. Claire and I were sadly on the second row, I tried to go for the hole-shot and ended up going into the singletrack in 5th. The gap from 1st to 2nd opened up really quickly and there may have been some encouragement to let the brakes off. The Merida kid in 4th was letting the gap open to 3rd after a few hundred metres and wasn't happy when I tried to take advantage of the door he left open coming into a open lefthander. Up the start finish straight on the end of lap 1, everyone was looking at each other so I laid the gas down was led the pursuit of 1st place. By the 2nd of lap 2 I was in no mans lands 20m off first and feeling the effects of the chase. After an incident with the mud it became evident I wasn't going to catch first so I backed it off a little and maintain second place.

Going into the last lap I did all that was required to go into the first section of singletrack in the lead. I accelerated onto the short fireroad to ensure I went into the last section of singletrack in front. I felt the effect of my chase and the headwind so with a group of 3 on my wheel took the tactical decision to back the pace of to let myself recover. I didn't brake check anyone (have been known too) but chose the time and place (tight bend) to lay down it all down for the sprint to the line. I just managed to take out the sprint for 2nd from a member of the recent world champs downhill team. I very unlady like fashion she let loose on my dirty tactics and had a good bitch to everyone about it. I wasn't in a position to defend myself as I was sitting by the track trying to get my breath back.

Claire had an annoying race, she went into the singletrack just behind me but spent 2 laps trying in vein to get past the Merida Kid. He was strong in a straight line up a hill but could ride singletrack to save himself. Eventually Claire stuck past and finished just off my group. The Merida Kid continued his bad form, bring down our mate Karen at the finish.

The best bit of the night was the de-breif with the crew from Mals at Edgars over a few beers.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

More woodsy playtime

More fun in the woods on the Hemlock this weekend with a trip to the edge of the Peaks for some woodsy sniggletrack and rocky downhills. Blue skies and winter sunshine at last! :-)