QRTS Race 1 - Stage 1 Review

Race Action | Surprises, Spills and Speed

Friday night criterium Race 1 started at 4.30pm.  I arrived and the MBCC boys were joking around, nothing new although they had not ridden a tight technical night criterium before.  So there were probably some nerves too, as I had forgotten my rollers to warm up with.  So walking around I found Team Procella Sports. Tom Collier and his team were very accommodating in letting me use their rollers as I warmed up nice and close to the race start no to miss it.

Near Miss!

Here I was casually looking around when I noticed my race rolling away! So at this point I dismounted the rollers with much haste and, a little panicked I road through the crowd and screamed 'open the gates'!  The group was already around the corner and I had to sprint to get in front of the follow vehicle before the corner or I would have to slow right down.  They pulled over for me and around the first corner I flew.

The peloton was already at the next corner, with a second sprint I was on the back of them and with that, I went straight around and onto the front, very lucky break for me.  By the next lap the speed was on and I was in the top 10 places, where you do not really need to break (slow down) too much.  As you move back through the peloton the breaking becomes harder and this means in turn, you have to sprint out of the corners 50klms down to 35klms and then back up to 50klms 4 corners every lap.  Lap after lap the race was starting to spit guys out the back.

The Sprint to Race A Final

The prime sprint came up quickly, I got out of the way and let the top teams sprint but sat on the back of the one of the guys from team State of Matter Giant rider and then decided, if he kept riding I would too. Silly, as the bunch caught us half a lap later and my legs were not really talking to me at this point.  The next 10 mins went by very quickly when the bell rang for last lap I was glad to see then end of this race. I was however at the front and felt ok so sitting 4th wheel coming into the last corner I gave it a go and ended up in 2nd place not too bad for the first heat, I was now in the Race A final.

Race A Final

The A Race final was starting at 8.30pm, later than most of my training sessions and well, almost past this cyclists bed time.  It was dark and the course however, lit up by lights, had shadows everywhere and this made the pots holes just that bit harder to see and more surprising when you hit them.  It was just as fast as the first heat but my legs made it feel a little faster. This time all the guys who had made the first 28 places in both heats were in the final. So all the top teams had close to 6 guys.  MBCC had been a little unlucky with Brendan in a crash, Macca, Justin and Geoff were just in bad positions so I was doing it solo.

The first part of the race saw me return to the front where I was mostly sitting in and trying to cover any moves although it was fast and it looked like nothing could get away.  Just as I was thinking this however, a break went and they were gone. Three riders at 100 meters down the road. It does not seem much, but in a tight technical criterium, its huge and they stayed away for some time. Just before the 2nd prime sprint, we got them back.  When I say 'we', I mean the peloton, I was not really doing anything more than hanging on at this point.

Final Moments

The race was coming to a close but then in an instant, 4 riders got off the front.  I saw it, but a little too late. Okay, I said... "I’m going for the win here" and I looked to go across, putting down the power for half a lap and at this point I’m 50 meters off the back and need help to finish the job, I turn around only to see a McDonalds rider (who has a team mate in the break) smiling at me.  A shake of his head... he won’t be assisting me today.

Bugger!  I sit up and the small break I have going, dies a savage death next lap around.  We get the 2 laps to go... my legs are now cooked.  The peloton blows past and I am positioned 30 riders back, not really the outcome I had going into the race. I move up and sprint with the bunch maybe a top 20 but my legs are cooked!

Tomorrow, 130klm's in the hills this will be interesting … stay tuned for my next installment.