Monday 5 November 2007

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:48 | 2 comments


After getting up at the crack of dawn (3:45) so that I could be in the car by 4:15 after doing my usual race day ritual (I won't go into details), the very least I expected was a nice easy ride and some easy points in the small country town of Bonnievale.

I should have known that this wasn't going to happen when I got in the car to discover that my wife was doing an experiment in seeing how close to the far end of the red line she could get the fuel gauge needle to go. After a moment of panic when I couldn't find my wallet to put fuel in, I was off to Botrivier to pick up Craig, so that he could do what he hoped would be his first league ride.

We got to Bonnievale at about 6:15, and had enough time to register, find the porta-potties, ready the bikes, and go for a half hearted warm up ride. At 7:00 we were lined up in the start chute waiting to go. There must have been about 25 riders in the SubVet bunch, so a good haul of points was looking good.

The race started at a good pace, and on the first hill I attacked - I had no idea what sort of legs I had, and wanted to get a feel of whether I had some form or not. The bunch let me dangle for a bit off the front, before they made an effort to reel me back in. As I was to discover, they were not going to let anyone get away today.

Another rider attacked, and I went with him, and we built up a gap of about 500 meters before the bunch responded and closed us down again. The points leaders were not going to take any chances by letting a couple of riders escape, but that didn't stop me from trying. I tried again once more, before settling into the routine of the ride. I didn't have great legs, but I felt comfortable and was able to hang one when we got put in the gutter with a nasty North Wester blowing.

After about an hour the race was going to change direction, go around a circle and cross some railway lines, and then ride with the wind. I was going to give it
another shot and try to get clear. As we approached the circle, another rider had similar ideas, and I was glad to know that I wouldn't be alone on the break. I gave him some time to get a nice gap on the bunch and then broke and chased after him. We worked well together, and built up a nice gap on the bunch - the tailwind helping us out a great deal. Once again the big guns decided to close us down after leaving us off the front for about 6 or 7 minutes.

A couple of the other riders tried to break free, and I thought I would have one last go, but the move went nowhere fast. Now it was time to just chill in the bunch, and recover before the rolling hills that awaited us.

To my surprise, the race winning move came before the hills, in a slight crosswind, with 5 riders simply riding off the front of the bunch. I could see a Maverick jersey there, so while I was suffering like crazy trying to hang on to the second bunch, I was quite happy that Christian had made the gap.

From here on in it was a time trial to try and catch the leaders, and I was paying the price for my earlier efforts. I still think that with a bit of teamwork we could have caught the leaders, but team tactics and fatigue prevented us from doing so. We eventually reeled in Christian after the 3 leaders dropped him and another rider up a hill. I didn't have much left, and no one was willing to help Russel de Jager with the chase, so I thought I would try to help him close the gap, so that Christian could sprint for 4th.

The end of the sprint - I was happy with last (or 10th)

It is amazing how scarce riders become when there is a bit of work to do. Suddenly they were nowhere to be found. Russell did the majority of the work, and I tried to help where I could. The gap was closing, but we were running out of road. One of the leaders punctured, and suddenly we were racing for 3rd. Christian started his sprint early, and ran out of legs about 50m short of the line. I never had legs to start with, and all the guys that we were towing came past me on the line.

My chance to sneak around Christian and get 9th :)

This was one tough ride (my nose starting bleeding again), and I was absolutely finished. In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have wasted all that energy up front, but it felt good at the time.

The league is now over (for me - I miss next week's ride because of Hell and Back) - I have 54 points, and finished in 13th position overall. Looking forward to the summer league


  1. dude
    this nose bleeding thing doesnt sound too good... my nose bleeds every now and then, but then i dont do any exercise while it bleeds, mostly just from the combination of allergex and sneezing, but when your nose bleeds cos you are doing hard exercise, that sounds worrying. maybe you should lay off the blow for a while...

  2. Yeah and have nurse Yo do a full diagNoses...tehee weak but at least I am trying...