Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A late race report - but better than never!

Sunday saw the annual running of the Avanti Classic... but it was my weekend "off" racing so I just went to watch (and take photos)... but another great weekend.
It did remind me however, that I needed to write my quick run down of the 2009 Battle on the Border...

TT Saturday morning - hilly, cold, crisp 12km ride out to Stokers Siding from my motel. So glad I bought the new 2XU women's cycling jacket a few weeks before this!
My first ever TT. Interesting because there were quite a few corners and obstacles (train tracks, wooden bridges, pot holes), but all good. I wasn't placed last after this!

Road race Saturday afternoon - this was always going to be the one that was tough for me. I knew the hills (same course as we raced the NRS series last year), and I knew the top girls would be just smashing it up the climbs. First lap was "okay" - apart from the fact that my front derailleur would not change back to the big chain ring after the first set of climbs! I almost pulled out at this point, but then I thought, "if I can last one lap in the small chain ring, I can last all 4". I have never pedalled so fast on a downhill to keep within the slipstream of the other riders! I knew if I wasn't close, they would drop me on the flats before the next hill. Anyway, it all worked out, and after an anxious first lap, I realised that my 'mechanical' was not going to stop me from finishing this stage! Lap two saw the super strong climbers (Lorian, Shara, Louise, Simone and Laura) absolutely gun it up the KOM climb. Not surprisingly, I was soon 'dropped' and in a bunch with Sally, Gillian and Trish, and some masters C men. We chased the front group a bit when we could see them on the flats, but by the time the road was twistier, we lost sight of them, and the group seemed to settle into more of a solid race pace (rather than a crazy chasing pace). I think the group mutually knew then that this would be the group we would all stay with for the last two laps... and yep, that's how it was. Solid finish with the second bunch. Very happy.

Road race Sunday morning - a cruisy 20km warm up, with not a cloud in sight... apart from some darkness on the horizon... just prior to our start time, the clouds unleashed some thunder, rain and lightening and must have dropped the temperature about 10 degrees! It meant that we had quite a soggy, windy, cold (and fairly slow) first 35km out to the turnaround point. After this it was also fairly straight forward back to the finish line... except when Lorian attacked at the only major climb of the day, and there was a bit of chaos and chopping of wheels and a group of riders came down. Most of the bunch managed to regroup after this incident though, and no-one was going to get away on the small rolling hills back to Tumbulgum. Another crash on the bridge just before town made the final sprint quite interesting, but again it was another solid bunch finish for me.

Criterium around Salt Monday morning - a very short one (20 mins plus two laps I think they gave us in the end)... but quite fun too. The corners made it interesting, but we did not have a big field (no masters C men with us this time) so there was never much of a chance for crashes since everyone was nicely strung out. The V australia girls attacked from the very start, but then it settled down a bit. I just wanted to finish this one without incident so I was "naughty" and just sat on the back the whole race!... I did have a last minute dig and attacked with 1.5 laps to go, but it was never going to be about me. There were only tenths of a second separating Louise and Shara going into the final race, and they were the ones that were going to have to 'sort it out'. In her first-ever bunch sprint win, Louise (Budget Forklifts) crossed the line first... to take home the criterium win, as well as the overall tour! I think her smile summed up the whole weekend... very enjoyable & very rewarding. Definitely back in 2010.


A dream that was once lost but now found... said...

Hey Nat, Well done at the Tour. Good effort.

nat said...

Thanks Nikki! we'll see what happens at the next A grade race... still have so much to learn!