Monday, 4 May 2009

Footscray CC Women's Crit

By the weekend, I was pretty much over coughing up the chest lurgy that plagued me all week. So on Sunday morning I ventured over to the other side of town for my first crit in over a year. Footscray CC is running a Women’s Crit on a regular basis over Winter, so my plan was to support that initiative by racing it. That was the plan! I started in the Women’s group and ended up in D Grade, lapping the Women and finishing several laps after them.

Lap one was a sedate get to know the group, and the track. In the middle of the dog leg section on Lap 2 Prime Real Estate decided to attack, scoring me my peak HR for the 55 minutes of racing at that point. It was a really weird place to attack (a short length in between corners) and a weird time to do it. It wasn’t successful, let’s put it that way. The next couple of laps were ok, but my cornering skills (or lack there of at speed) were making me waste energy catching up the few bike lengths I was losing out of each corner.

Lap 4 and D grade came through over us, as we came out of a corner. I had the double whammy of losing distance through the corner, then losing my group in the midst of D grade. I wasn’t going to miss the rest of the race after only four laps, so I rode up to one of the D grade mentors, and asked if I could join in. After a bit of a discussion between him and the other mentor, the ok was given. After a few laps watching me corner, Instructor Phil took me by the hand and coached me through the rest of the race, with particular attention on position through corners at speed. It was a brilliant experience, and I am very appreciative of the time Phil spent with me. Thanks Phil!!!

Riding D grade was a hell of a lot easier than riding in the women’s bunch (sorry girls): smoother, more consistent, steadier. When we lapped the women towards the end of the race, I was a bit surprised, because it hadn’t felt that we were going that fast. I suspect the girls blew themselves up, because they were truly crawling when we passed. Two laps to go, I pulled out as the ring-in of the group. I am planning now to make it a regular gig on Sundays: great venue, good bunch of people, nice vibe, excellent training.

Downloading the stats for the ride last night, I’m happy with the numbers; my fitness and speed were not limiters, just my cornering skills! After some poor performances in the last few months, it was great to see that my form is actually ok, and I have some reasonable strength in my legs, more than I thought I had. Next week I’m putting my corner-friendly race wheels on!

3 comments:

Nonie said...

No... no blow-ups, just tactics! There were lots of pace changes. We were really crawling in the last lap. Ms Prime Real Estate didn't want to lead-out and was waiting for someone else to attack. It was a really good race. And, yes, Drake Blvd is an awesome circuit!

Buttsy said...

Hey great report....my cornering sucks...I have been told when racing that if I cornered better, I could really hurt the group....meanwhile.....I cant even corner around a bend coming down Tawonga Gap.....

Great to get advice isnt it and it works when somebody can pinpoint what you are doing wrong, I need someone to help me with my crits too...

Lawrence said...

I'm not sure I'd call that tactics Nonie, sounds like negative riding to me. It's one of the major criticisms of women's racing, and there is a ruling against it, for obvious reasons. If that was your final lap, and I passed you, then technically I was the first woman across the line. There's also a ruling about jumping trains mid-race, so I can't claim it. :-)