This weekend we had a public holiday. Officially its the Queens Birthday weekend, but for cyclists all over Aus, its an opportunity to enter one of the myriad of tours available everywhere. The one I chose was centred in Benalla, a farming town in the northeast of the state. Its fairly close to the ski area but basically the roads are straight and flat, reminding me of my childhood in the Fens of Lincolnshire.
The races would therefore be a sprinter's delight but there was a 22km TT and that was what I was after.
I drove up after work on Friday..its a 3 hr drive, stopping after 1 hour for a bite to eat, only to discover that every man and his dog had the same idea. Consequently my evening meal consisted of a chocolate bar and 600ml of coffee flavoured milk. My cabin was a deluxe version, with TV and a DVD player in the kitchen/lounge area, a spa bath in the ensuite and a double bed and TV in the bedroom. Worth every penny. Talking of TV's... TV ads in the country crack me up..I can now tell you all about fluke, seeds and farm machinery and I swear the speed of speech in the ads is slower....
The only person I knew in my group was Shirley Amy who rode to an hour record on the same night as my attempt.
The Saturday race was a 52km pipe opener with a KOM and a sprint prize. Some of our groups idea of rolling turns was sus to say the least and eventually, after 1 of our group (not Shirley) caused a concertina effect every time she pulled over to the front of the line by SLOWING DOWN++ rather than just easing the pace, I ended up being Le Patron or more accurately, La Patronne, and told her what she was doing wrong. Surprising really as she's quite an experienced rider. 2 others also gave me cause for concern as they weaved their way all over the show..NOT holding their line in the sprints and KOM. Nag! Nag!
My efforts in the race didn't trouble the scorer, although I did try to break away with very strong pulls a coupla times but with a dead flat straight road, all that happened was that after they reacted and caught up, I just towed everyone along for a while.
The next day..Sunday, it was the TT in the am and a 44km race in the pm. This was the first TT race since my set up and I was looking forward to see how the bike would race. The course was the same one as last month's TT race and, since that time I forgot to start my cyclocomputer until just about where today 's race was to start, there could be a good comparison. Last time I passed 6 people..this time it was 3. I had a great race, winning my division by 3 minutes. All up, I was 23rd out of ~80 and was 6 minutes behind the fastest male. I just gotta admit..I raced it really well...no slide of concentration and I went as fast as I could all the way and Shirley told me i looked pretty done in at the end.
22km..37 mins 37 sec. on a dead road with a head wind going 10km in a southerly direction.
So here is May's effort avg speed 34.8kph
and now June's effort: avg speed..35kph
After the TT it was back to the cabin for a quick lunch and change out of the skinsuit and then by 2pm we were on the road again for a 44km race. Once again I didn't trouble the scorers with my KOM and sprint efforts and after driving the bunch hard and trying yet again to get away, I was devastated to puncture 1.5km from home. The win in the morning gave me 25 points, the puncture lost me 45!!!
Monday brought us a hillier race..with 2 KOM's and a sprint..funnily enough no-one seemed to be going for the sprint until the very last moment! then it was very quickly into the hills..I was hoping for 2 KOM wins, but a bad choice of gear left me with 3rd on the first hill but I managed to grovel to the top in 1st place on the second..then scurried home hoping for a break. We'd already lost 3 at the foot of the first hill and another briefly on the second, but Shirley Amy's and my attempt to lose a couple more failed and 5 of us rolled fast,safe turns all the way home. I lead out and ended up fourth.
Alex was driving home from Sydney and since he'd managed to lose his Visa card desperately wanted to link up with me in order to fill up with fuel, so I was 2hrs late leaving Benalla. However the drive home wasn't too bad and I'm now ready for bed and perhaps a day or two off the bike.....