Bay Crits Stage 1
The shortest of the whole series was the very first stage. Always known for only having a few finishers in each race I knew it was going to be a hard one. I warmed up around the 800meter long hotdog circuit making sure that I could get as far forward as possible for the start because this is where you can make up many spots easily for the first 30 seconds and then from there it will be in one very long line stretched out for about 80 riders. From the start of the pack the tail end it is almost 25seconds and being on a circuit that takes about a minute that’s a long way. I managed to get on the second row of about five rows at the start line and was towards the inside and knew it could get a little hair with the first corner being only 50 meters from the line. I attacked early knowing that if I was off the front I wasn’t going to get dropped. The race was only 45min + 3 laps so it was a short race and very tight as there was so many corners. I stayed at the front not going past the top 20 riders and as the race when on the field got smaller and smaller until it was a small group finish. I Spent way too much energy early on but if I didn’t I may not have been there so I was a good learning curve. I finished in 16 out of 68 starters.
Bay Crits stage 2
The longest and the windiest crit course I have ever done with a lap starching 2.5km and the decent was into a block headwind that was so strong the sponsor signage around the course was not put out due to safety reasons. With another 70 odd strong field it was a warm and windy day of racing. I tried to be at the front for the start but today was not to be so I was stuck at the back and had a lot of work to do to try and see the front. For the first 15 mins I tried to hid and stay out of the wind when I could and use the natural slowing of the bunch to make up positions when I could. After doing this gaps had started to form as the unfit riders were starting to crack. I would try and let the fight down the headwind decent and then quickly sprint back to the group ahead no wasting energy. Soon enough things started to split and this time I actually had team mates up the road so I wasn’t the only one left. I was really feeling it from the day before and tried to salvage what I could and made it to the line in 25 towards the back of the group I was in knowing that I needed a good stretch and feed before I was to race tomorrows tight and punchy course around Portarlington.
Bay Crits Stage 3
Portarlington one of the hardest courses due to the technical nature. This short street circuit is a great course for me because you feel like you are always climbing. It was a fast start and I made my way toward the front end of the peloton straight away as there was a short sharp climb immediately. I floated around the top 20 trying to stay safe and not use any energy that I would need come later in the race. About 25 mins in and there were splits and attacks starting to go everywhere. I just conserved and then tried to have a go at crossing over to two VIS rider that were starting to get away at this stage there was only 25 riders left from the 70 that started and I had hit my max heart rate and was feeling the lactic acid in my legs as I started to climb over the back section of the course.
I was soon brought back by a few riders that pushed the pace and then there was a small group of about10 riders. Someone blew on the climb with just under 10 mins to go and this is what made the final slit of the group everyone was on their limit so we just rolled turns trying not to be at the front for two long knowing that we will have to sprint each other.
I started the sprint in last wheel which was about 5th in my group and managed to come around almost all the group except one on the line as I was an uphill drag to the finish. I Finished in 7th and was quite pleased with my result considering how only 14 riders finished the stage.
Bay Crits Stage 4
The final stage of the series and a simple course with only one technical corner. The start straight from the line was short to the first corner, only a 50 meters sprint until 70 riders jam on thir breaks to go single file around a old stone roundabout anticlockwise. I had a good long warm up going off and finding my own place to ride where i couldn’t get distracted or stopped. after about 45 minutes of turning the legs over and doing some short efforts to get the blood going i was moving up to the start line. I started of the front row next to the yellow jersey giving me the prime opportunity to ‘take the hole shot’ (cyclo cross terminology). the countdown was on and the the gun went off and i had a great start i got a good clip in and was away. i sprinted as hard as i cold to the first turn knowing that it would get blocked and the other riders weren’t expecting the race to start that fast. i spent the whole first lap on the front trying to split the bunch so that it was a bit of a smaller race. for the next five or so laps i floated around the top 6 wheels and rolled turns making sure that the pace stayed above 45kmph. this made it harder for those who started at the back and would work into my favor towards the end of the race when all the people at the back try to push foward when there is no room.
for the next 20 mins i floated around the top 20 wheels and even that was hard to move back up. you would make up a few spots here and there and then loose a few more a lap later with people doing what you just done. It was hard to move around as the speed never really dro[ed and there was no real breakaway. the bunch would split and a few rider would go off the back each time but i would just stay calm and let them try to make up ground nd the put in a short sharp effort to get back on.
With 3 laps to go on of the international riders from the Rapha JTL team crashed about two wheels in front on the only hard corner on the course. i had to break hard and lost allot of momentum and ground on the bunch i chased and almost got back on but by the time the laps had passed it was too late and the race was over and won.
All in all it was a good few days hit out to get the legs going and a kickstart to my training prep for MTB National Champs and the upcoming Cyclo Cross Season.