Race Date: 27-05-17
I’m way behind on writing up these races, so I’ll keep them short and sweet.
This was my first foray into VRS cycling. The Victorian Road Series, sponsored by a great initiative, Towards Zero, which has a goal of getting zero road deaths in a year.
The race was 2 laps of a 46km loop, I think, it was back in May, so memory is a bit hazy.
I was feeling pretty good going into this race. Back to graded racing after the open champs blowout. The race was on from the start, with attacks going straight away. I chased the initial solo break away, pulling the peloton along with me. Then after a bit of reprieve James and I started attacking off the front. I would go, then he would, then we’d both try and then we kind of gave up. We must have caused some pain in the bunch because for a while, we were sat on the front pushing a mere 100w (basically soft pedalling) and no one would come around us. You can’t really expect people to do any work if you’ve just caused them pain. That said, after multiple attacks very early on, I wasn’t going to work hard on the front. I was also hurting, but hopefully not as much as some. That’s the goal.
After a while and more attacks, lots more attacks, James and I finally got away. We rolled turns for a little bit, but before long the steaming peloton caught us. Then a guy went clear. And after a short period of time, another bridged over to him. I was pretty fatigued, so wasn’t going to chase it. In fact, nobody chased it. Those two managed to get a very decent gap as everyone looked at each other.
The next 20-30km were interesting. A few people would start to chase and then give up. A couple of people would attack, attempting to bridge the gap, but the bunch would be straight onto it. After all this I thought F it. I’ll try to pull it back. Or at the very least try to be selfless enough to encourage others to help pull back the break. Either way, James was looking good, and if I needed to burn myself out to give him a chance, I would. It was my first VRS race, so I was testing the water and wasn’t expecting a big result for myself.
This is where it all went pear shaped. I was sat on the front for a couple of km. I was still feeling okay though, but wasn’t sure where we were in terms of the route. We came up to a roundabout, and there was a marshal stopping traffic. I looked up and shouted “which way?” I wasn’t sure If it was left or straight. My instincts said left, but we were going around 40-45km/h and I had a guy coming up my inside. If I turned, there would definitely be a pile up. I didn’t fancy an injury. I tried to sit up and get the marshal’s attention, but he was not paying any attention to us, so I went straight on. Play it safe. Everyone turned left. Great. Ah well, I was alive and surely they’d sit up and wait for me after my huge turn on the front.
This is a bike race though. And I was probably looking strong. There was a bunch from a women’s race we’d just overtaken coming to the roundabout, to I had to manoeuvre around them and cars. I then had to chase hard.
So not only was I knackered from spending time on the front, I now had to go full gas to catch my bunch. It was also slightly uphill. Somehow I managed to squeeze everything I had into the chase and after about 5 minutes of hard work I made it. But then the road inclined even more. There was zero time to recover and before I knew it the pace quickened and I was spat out of the back.
Game over. Sigh. But no. Wait. Up ahead I saw James pull over. Was he waiting for me? Probably not. Maybe he had a flat. I decided to ride up and hope we could get something going together and catch the bunch. When I got to him his rear derailleur was caught in his wheel. Shit. No chance. So I offered him my bike. He still had a chance. He could probably solo to the bunch still. If I could do it, he could. And he’d be more likely to remain with them.
But after trying to fix his bike for a minute, we decided it was hopeless. And you can’t swap bikes anyway. The End. We went to the local pub, ate and went home. Both wondering if we could've won that race had we made it to the end.