I allowed myself 2 & ½ hrs to get there and used most of it due to my crap navigational skills & Shady Creek being well hidden away in the back blocks between Warragul & Moe.
A good ½ hr warm up on the rollers and I'm ready and raring!
There was quite a few willing to try and get away early on. I chased some down or followed others trying to stay close to the front. I was looking for a break today, just had to try and pick the right one. Knowing only one or two of the field I was going on legs and form on the bike and there seemed quite a few that looked the part as most of them had a dip at trying to create ‘The break’.
After a lap, I reckon ‘The Break’ was going to happen on the major hill of the loop. 1st time up Stefan Kirsch (Blackburn C.C) made it clear that he meant business and pushed hard stringing the Peloton out.
2nd time up was more just tempo and I felt like I had better positioning going into it and during the ascent.
3rd time up again I had good positioning ready for the next laps when I thought the break would go. Then with 50m to go, Peter Dennis (Hawthorn C.C) & Chris Eichler (Hamiton C.C) got a gap. I bridged. Hmmm, this could be too early. There’s only 37km gone out of 102km… Fuck-it, lets see how it feels. Little did I know I was now out riding with the two guys that came 1st & 2nd in yesterday’s ITT. A good thing or a bad thing? Probably better I didn’t know as I might have thought they wouldn’t last the distance after racing yesterday too.
We all settled into solid work with not much talk at all. We just got on with it and tried to keep the pace on. I had a scary moment towards the end of lap 3 (of 6) when the elastic broke on a flat section as Peter took to the front. He was defiantly looking the strongest. I managed to claw my way back and recovered.
Lap 5 ‘felt’ really good for me and it felt like the other 2, more Chris than Peter, were slowing. I really wanted us to stay away, so I gave all I could on my turns.
The final lap and we are coming to the hill for the last time (1.4km @ 4.4%). I notice I’ve still got one full bottle so I jettison it (I drove back to get it on the way home) before the start of the climb. The wind had picked up and this and last lap you could feel a head wind on the bottom half. Then it’s into the trees and out of the wind. It doesn’t help me though. A gap starts to form between my and the other two... SNAP! The elastic breaks… FUCK! DIG!!... The gap gets bigger… FUCKING DIG FOR FUCKS SAKE!!! The gap’s not getting smaller. Actually it getting bigger and they both look REALLY strong, STILL… OK, damage control time, find tempo them ramp it up… I try not to look ahead and just put as much as I can into every stroke. It doesn’t work and by the time I top out they are 50m up the road and flying. Where as I’m spent and need the down to try and recover. At the bottom I can see them up the road and gap is even bigger. And I start thinking that I’m not going to bridge. I try to file that thought under ‘negative’ and plough on. Gota hold the Peloton off, gota hold the Peloton off. km’s tick over in the void between the head of the race and the Peloton. The Peloton can now see me down the long straight Nilma\Shady Creek rd. Gota keep it going, fuck-it…
I round the last corner and I reckon they can now smell me. Then not long after I’m caught. A few guys give me words of encouragement as I’m moving rapidly to towards the back. A surge, as someone uses my catch as a launching pad. More elastic breaking. I keep on with the pace that I can and they sit up as the surge was neutraled. I end up rolling past them they are going that slow with their cat & mouse but I feel if I slow, my legs won’t go again. Another attack. I try to jump on, but can’t, my legs are dead meat.
Finally the line comes and I feel the full sinking force of coming (12th that felt like) last…
Then, I start to feel just how shagged I am, which puts a smile on my face. I seek out Peter & Chris to see who had won & it was Chris, which surprised me as I’d thought he seemed the weaker of the two. Maybe he was measuring himself a lot better.
I roll out the legs for a bit and start to feel really good as I go over what had just happened. Coming last has never felt this good!
I hand my numbers in and can’t go past the home made scones & slices on offer that are being sold in the old Shady Creek Hall.
Thanks to everyone that helped and supported me through the week after things got pare shaped last Sunday. It really helped today.