Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunshine Coast Tour

The Tour is over. And what a fantastic event it was. I didn't manage to get the results I was aiming for but I raced hard and helped a friend to get a 2nd place overall. I finished 6th in the 32 men field.
It went a bit like this:
Friday, Maroochydore - 2.5 km Prologue
A very weird set up as they found a dark little street somewhere in the middle of this town to run the race. The course itself was a bit strange as we started at this well lit spot, raced through a couple of dark corners and onto this new stretch of road which took us up this incline for a km, a hot-dog turn and a 500 m downhill finish. I couldn't really get into it and had a poor warm up. At the line up, with 80 sec to go, I noticed my front tyre had gone down. I didn't have time to panic so I asked a friend to get a pump, not a spare.
I managed to pump it to about 140 psi before I took off. Came back
3 min later with 80 psi. An interesting start of the Tour, I told myself. And 18th place.
Time:03:10.2; AvSpeed:47.5 km/h; MaxSpeed:50.1 km/h; AvHR:162 bpm; MaxHr:168 bpm

Night time Prologue, 18th
Saturday (am), Kenilworth - 68 km Road Race
I started this race well and fairly confident as the undulating terrain and 2 km climb suited me well. I was just a little concerned with the descent, which had some nasty corners and the forecast was for light rain. Six or seven riders crashed that morning, including the 3rd HPRW rider in our grade.
Unfortunately, I missed a break away of 6 or 7 riders on the second lap and cramped up trying to bridge the gap with one more rider. The good news is that I managed to hang on to a chasing group, recovered and finished 6th. Another good news was that a good friend, Adam Harrison (HPRW), was in the break and managed to win the stage, taking the leaders jersey.

Adam, in blue and white, winning the up hill sprint


Sunday (am), Montville - 7.8 km Hill Climb

This was the stage I had planned to do my best and with a bit of luck get a win and a few seconds on the big boys. The stage was all set up, I felt light, legs were good and I had fixed my 303 for the climb. The one thing that had changed was that my friend Adam, also a HPRW rider, had the leaders jersey now and the right thing to do was to become his domestique and try to get him to the top ahead of everyone else.

It turned out to be a role that I really enjoyed playing and one of the most exciting races I have been in. We did the whole climb as a groupetto of 7 riders, having dropped the peloton as soon as we started the 6 km up hill. The race was for the leaders jersey and in between HPRW and Ipswich Cycling clubs, and as far as I know, we achieved our goal!

Adam digs in to finish in 2nd place keeping the Yellow

On empty by this point, I managed to hang on for 3rd

Time:18:50; AvSpeed:25 km/h; AvHR:162 bpm; MaxHr:176 bpm

Sunday (pm), North Arm - 30 km Road Race

That was the hardest race, partially because it was short with only a couple of short hills making it ideal for the sprinters but also because the riders from Ipswich didn't think the 5 of them was going to be enough against the two of us and started making deals with riders from different clubs. Perhaps that is the reason people were coming to me at the start to ask if I was ready to take the beating...

And a beating it was. The attacks commenced from the word GO! with one rider after another going up the road. And one after another we chased and caught. Adam was going super strong, not missing anything, defending that jersey like a pro. I lost count on how many times we had to jump but did see that they were getting tired as much as we were. It did settle for the second lap but we did miss a move by Craig Taylor (the strongest guy in their team) and another rider in the beginning of the third.

They kept a 30 sec gap on us for most of the last lap. I think Adam and I felt a bit tired and made the mistake of thinking that someone else in the bunch could be interested in winning a bike race. No, they were all sitting in, waiting for us to do the chase. A move by us would have been useless as we still had 6 or more of Craig's team on our wheels. It would have been a case of bridging the gap just to be counter attacked by them again. That is what they had planned, and worked.

I still had a shot at it with 1.5 kms to go in an attempt to shake off the sprinters, reduce the gap and get a third place. Adam was on my wheel but and we dragged two of them to the last corner. They had the advantage of coming off our wheels and launched the counter attack with one rider getting a gap and finishing 3rd. I still had a go chasing him but faded with 30 m to go and got swamped by the fast approaching bunch, almost getting knocked down by a rider sprinting for 7th.

The jersey was gone but we did put up a fight and managed to stay in 2nd spot on the GC. In a way, another victory for the two of us.

Monday (am), Eumundi - 74 km Road Race

Having to do 4 laps of a tough course like Eumundi, racing against a team of 7 or more was going to be a very, very hard task. To win the Tour was going to be an impossible task, we knew that and they knew that. I was more than happy to keep helping Adam for his second place on the GC but got a bit dishearted with the alliances that were formed before the start. In particular for one rider who offered his service in exchange for a stage win. Sad for him, it was so obvious that I chose to spoil and chase him and beat him in a couple of sprints. Yeah, I told him too!

Different jersey, same team and no shame in trying to push me off the road

It was another great race, fairly difficult, also, because of the terrain and moments of heavy rain. Attacks still happened but I think a lot of us were in survival mode. The hills were hurting and the sprinters were very anxious, a different atmosphere. To make things a little more exciting, I contested a couple of intermediate sprints and managed to take a win and a second (pictured above).

For the end, I was just hanging there and saving my legs in case Adam's 2nd place on the GC was put in danger by any rider willing to take some abuse from me. The riders from Ipswich felt the same and the finish was contested by a few sprinters and back markers.

And we finished the 2008 Sunshine Coast Tour like this:

1st - Craig Taylor (Ipswich), 5:16:31.3

2nd - Adam Harrison (HPRW), 5:16:53.5

3rd - Bill Ayers (Ipswch), 5:16:59.3

6th - Alberto M Rego (HPRW), 5:17:38.0

A few links:

Next: Jon Brooks Memorial


Whitey said...

Great photos and a good read! You should be happy just being outside the Top 5!

One of these days we're going to have that pizza :-)

Sev said...

Awesome Alberto. Great write up.

What is happening in that photo with you pointing? I have seen the other half where the guy is gesturing with his hand?

Thanks for the read, Scott

AMRcyclist said...

Thanks Sev,
Thats what happens when you mix up with the sprinters (not that I am one!), a bit of pushing, a bit of shoving and... a bit of pointing the finger sometimes.
All to do with adrenaline, I think.
See you soon,

Chris said...

Great job on 6th. Only a minute separating 1st from 6th is tight racing. It sounds like you were just outgunned by a bigger team.

AMRcyclist said...

Hello Chris,
It was an amazing event. So much went on during the races. Hope we can learn a few lessons to be able to overcome the issue of racing against a bigger (and very strong)team.

AMRcyclist said...

Hi whitey,
I choose to look at it as "inside the top six"... :)

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