Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ausenco Summer Series #2

If bike racing is a numbers game, then our QSM team was already ahead even before the start of race two in the series.  In race two, we had Claire, Jessica, Jemma, and myself racing, with our star coach Kirsty Broun.

The Campos team unfortunately had two of their 4 team riders out of the race due to illness, and Pensar was also limited to just three team riders.
To mix things up a bit, our team goal for this race was a bunch sprint.  So in contrast to the week before when we had been trying to help initiate a breakaway, this week we were aiming to chase everything down.

Since Pensar currently had the leader’s jersey (Jenelle), the pressure was on their two team riders (Sam and Nicole) to chase all the breaks down.

This was a pretty tough ask against another dozen or so other strong women.

Although Campos had only two riders (Jasmin and Louise), they both jumped at the chance to make the race a difficult one.

Louise managed a solo break to stay away for both the intermediate primes, before being reeled in by a marathon effort on the front by Sam from Pensar.

Although a few strong individual riders (such as Britt, Marianne, Alex, Linda) tried to get away during the race, they were usually fairly quickly shut down again by our QSM girls, or by Pensar.

Towards the end, I think most of the bunch realised the race was going to end in one final kick.

Channelling all of Kirsty Broun’s previous criterium winning experiences, we tried our best to form a QSM leadout train.  Practising it on a track in non-race conditions was definitely easier than in the real race.  Suddenly you are not only faced with keeping the train together for your team sprinter, but being on the lookout for other things such as another team’s train surging past; other riders getting in between your team mates; and individuals jumping past the train to get a gap up the road.

In the end, we did the best we could on the day, but we are all aware this will take some more practice before we become truly proficient in lead outs.  On a high note, despite minor deviations to our team plan, we got Jemma second in a bunch sprint at the end of the race.  Jasmin (Campos) took first, with Britt Lindores (Crino) a close third, and Jess (QSM) fifth.  Another very positive thing about this result was that Jemma had now accumulated enough points from her third place last week, and her second place this week, to put her in the leader’s jersey.

QSM in the leader’s jersey!!...

Amazing what a good team tactician and mentor can do.  When we recruited Kirsty Broun a few weeks ago to help us learn a thing or two about racing as a team, none of us imagined we’d have the leader’s jersey going into the final race.
There will be enormous pressure on us as a team in round three, but I believe we can rise to the occasion.  Winning isn’t everything, but working as a team is certainly building both our confidence and our team camaraderie.
Photos (above) are again courtesy of Brad Gooda.
For more on Kirsty Broun's coaching go to:

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