Monday, 15 February 2010

Ladies' Diamond Stakes 2010

I am tired and am over it.

I am over the racing season, over training, over having a full bore, head on, rushed life. And it’s all my own fault. I chose to do it, chose to take things on, chose to enter a race or two or three. So, I gotta bite the bullet and tough out the hard bits of being a competitive cyclist who works full time, studies, participates in the sport on other levels, and has some kind of domestic life with its attendant responsibilities.

So on Saturday morning, I really didn’t want to go to Ararat, with an empty fridge, a dirty house, an overgrown weed filled garden, a lonely dog, a horse that needed clean rugs. You get the idea.

I felt an obligation to go, because 1) I told people I was going 2) I entered and the women’s entries were down on last year, and the year before, and the year before that 3) I need racing practice! So I tweeted: “gotta start thinking happy thoughts. Otherwise may as well stay home and get drunk before lunch”. Now the thought of staying home and drinking martinis for breakfast did have some appeal, but I always feel guilty drinking before 4 pm. It would have been a long wait of being in a blerh mood. So it was into the car and onto the long road to Ararat, with Mr Flowerpants as driver and prodder (as in: Get in the bloody car! You’re going!!)

It was great to see in the program, that Mr Handicapper Norris had managed to squeeze not two, but THREE grades of women out of the 17 entries. Usually, we get two, and I am just fodder for the A graders. So, despite my lack of keenness and motivation, I stood a chance of doing ok. Hmm well I also find when the ego is active, it’s asking for a caning. I got one.

I should have won the motorpace, with no disrespect to my competition. I didn’t. I was on the bike at 2.5 laps to go when it came off. I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t feel up to hammering 2.5 laps. 2 laps maybe just, 1.5 yeah no worries. So I rode off at about 80% and got a small gap on the girls. I kept that gap until about 100m to go, when it was shut down, and I was taken 5m on the line for being complacent. Maybe the breakfast martinis weren’t a bad idea after all.

I redeemed myself by scoring a fairly easy berth into the 1000m handicap final, with a calculated move onto a target wheel as she came by. I latched on for the ride (and surprised myself that I actually had the legs to go with her); and was later nearly taken out by the same wheel (with some quiet swearing on my behalf that was diplomatically ignored by the commissaire on that bend). I finished midfield in that final, again with some good team work, and some strong opposition, so not displeased with that.

The heats of THE race, the big one: the Ladies’ Diamond Stakes. Again, we got our train going, and held off the backmarkers until the final lap. When they hit us, I got the fright of my life. I must have dozed off, because I literally jumped when they came past. I stopped pedalling and that was it. I was 5,6,7 m off the back into the home straight. I looked at the wall of butts in front of me, thought I can launch a big attack and bury myself in there somewhere and make it through, or I can sit here, not hurt myself, and have a rest before the scratch. No points for guessing what I did. My heart just wasn't in it.

The programming meant the final of the 1000m handicap was 3 races before the Diamonds heats, with a 3 race gap to the final, with a larger gap to the final race of the night. To be honest, I was glad to be watching and not racing the Diamonds final. It’s a goal of mine to make the final, but not this year. I just wasn’t hungry for it. It was a thriller race to watch, with Apryl Eppinger off scratch, having to make up 200m to limit. 2 laps to go, having picked up Emy Huntsman off 100m earlier, it looked like she wasn’t going to make it. 1 lap to go, along the back straight and she made her move, coming around the bunch into the home straight, Emy hard on her wheel, and Danielle Nyikos launching out of the bunch with her ticket on the Eppinger express. Final results: 1. Eppinger 2. Nyikos 3. Huntsman. It was a great ride and a hard earned win from Apryl, who is now proving a few punters wrong. Danielle was stoked with her second place, as she was celebrating her 21st from the night before. A very sweet 21st birthday present. Emy rode a very smart race, and for that scored some bling for posterity. There were some very happy campers back at the Endurogirl  Gazebo, between first and third and their support crews.

The final scratch race was shortened from 3000m to 2000m, mainly as all bar me had just raced the Diamonds final. We rolled around for a few laps, and as I took the lead, I upped the pace from leisurely stroll to solid tempo to see where the others were at. They were right with me, and we maintained that pace until the other Maskill, Claire Campbell upped the pace again with a few laps to go. Bell lap and I sat and waited. The girls took off in the second half of the back straight, and I managed to jump with them, but a little behind their timing. They got a small gap on me, which I was slowly closing into the home straight. Another 100m and I would have caught them. My lack of action, my passivity cost me a win, and Tess and Claire fully deserved their 1st and 2nd. Lesson learnt and no points for not backing myself.

Some days you are on, and some days you’re not. I’m glad I went and raced. I needed those schoolings to remind me of a few things. But! I did manage to get Sam Miranda on the podium for the second time in a week. One job done!


Buttsy said...

Great race write up.....the writer in you strikes...excellent....the cycling and feeling flat thing is a phase and will get me I am in the middle of a huge flat phase at the moment, but it is not just cycling....there are a lot of other factors......but will be getting on the windtrainer in about 20 minutes when Shane gets home from work!

Lawrence said...

Thanks Judith, glad you enjoyed the read :-) I felt very flat writing it so glad you liked it :-) We all experience the downtimes, for whatever reasons, so there is no point in ignoring them or denying they exist. I like to acknowledge those times for what they are, survive them and move on! Have fun on the trainer! I'll be there later tonight.