Winter riding antics

Wow...I have had some awesome fun of late.

We just had the Queens Birthday long weekend in Victoria and what better way to spend it than on a road bike for 4 stages over 3 days, in the cold and rain and wind! YAY.  Northern Combine 3DT

Claire and self headed up to sunny Lancefield and stayed in a room with a spa.
Claire in B grade women and me in A grade.  
Day 1: 85km Road Race
Day 2: 8km TT in the morning.  90km Road Race in the arvo.
Day 3: 90km Road Race and presentations.

Now I have participated in a few club road races and even a few open events now, so I am getting used to how these things are run.  They are far removed from the festival atmosphere of most MTB events.  Registration volunteers are very finicky about their system and can get very cranky should you batter your eyelid incorrectly.  If you say hello in a happy voice to other roadies, they look at you a little weird, like"what are you after?"  Everyone is very tight lipped and clicky in their groups.
I suppose its fair enough, Road Racing is like a chess game, or a poker game, and you sort of socialise relunctantly, but you are always hiding your game plan.

Anyway, I had a great time, got to know my fellow A graders and really enjoyed the whole event.  I have come to the conclusion - I LOVE STAGE RACES!  I got more confident, stronger and fitter towards the end of the event and felt like I could have done it all long as I could have got a massage and maybe 1 rest day!

Day 1 - I was tentative, stayed with the bunch of 11 and kept my ears and eyes open, watching who was doing what, what girls where working together, tactics, etc...So I spent a lot of time making sure I was never at the back in case a move was made and I could not respond quick.  Of course, KOM was where the big guns where always going to make their mark and they did.  So the rest of us got working and finished the day off.
Bad position at finish, I was at the front and had no legs to finish well.  Tomorrow will I learn?

After a day in the saddle and dealing with cold and wet conditions, Claire and I got in our spa and recaptured the days events until our core warmed up.  We went to bed a bit too late and talked far too much!

Day 2 - ITT.  No rain, but no sun either.  Cold and frosty morning.  Brrrrr!  Being that it was an 8km slight uphill TT I decided not to use by clip on TT bars and just go aero on my normal road bike set up.  Had a great ride and came 4th I think.  I still cannot confirm as results (2 weeks later) are still not up.  Either way it was a good form finder for me personally and I think I am beginning to really like time trials.

Back to the room for a quick bite to eat and freshen up...then off to stage 3. 90km Road Race.

The afternoon did not warm up one bit, and I think I underdressed or did not eat enough, or a mixture of both, but I was freezing the entire race, so chose to happily do a lot of the work at the front.  Some others were not so keen to work, but for me, it was not about the stage win, or position, it was about some tough Km's to be deposited in the training bank, and I am not going to get that sitting in a bunch all day am I?
3 Laps of a 30km circuit with 3 KOM's.  Boring to say the least but it goes so quick.  I was glad for today to be over and happy to give a lead out to another GIANT rider, Ingrid.  I think she got the bunch sprint that day.  Oh and of course the breakaway group, Jo, Jenny and Kendall were the podium finishers.

Ahh...did I need the spa tonight, it took AGES for my core to warm up and I was starving.  Thank goodness for great company and a nice meal and a glass of red to warm the inners!  Oh and a block of chocolate!  Cadbury Snack to be precise.  Claire and I both "dislike" Turkish Delight" but ate it anyway.

Day 3: Stage 4.  A later start of around 10am meant that the sun came out.  I was not however willing to risk being under dressed or under nourished today.  For breakfast I had muesli, fruit and yoghurt, a glass of pineapple juice, scrambled eggs on toast with baked beans and a piece of raisin toast with jam.  Carbs baby carbs.  Then I wore a long sleeve icebreaker woolen undergarment, and a long sleeve fleecy lined jersey.  I got warm later on, but was thankful not to be cold.

Another 90km today, 30 of it was to go over the same route of  the two days previous, so it was sort of like a controlled start, we all just played nice and got that distance out of the way.  The first KOM was not until 40 +km in, and thats when the first break was made by the same 3 girls.  The rest of us kept social, worked together and enjoyed the race.  The 2nd KOM, I was feeling good and kept pushing up and over lifting the pace.  When I saw the 10km to go sign, I just put in the big effort and Time trialed it for the next 8kms with the bunch strung out behind.  It was great, felt strong, felt fine, everything locked on and working, and we had a plan anyway.  So at 2km to go, I sat up, rolled off and did the planned block on a couple of girls.  Nic Whitburn started setting up the lead out and I continued to take wind and block in at the same time.  Somehow or other with only a couple of hundred meters to go, I had to push a bit harder as we approached some guys from other grades who were blocking the left hand side of the road.  This lead to me winning out bunch sprint and after a 10km ITT I was stoked to have the legs to do so.  We got what we wanted as a group, did the job at hand and I got a 5th General Classification finish, which got me $40 in the coffers! whoo hoo...;)

10km cool down ride back to the start, presos and drive home.
What a great weekend riding and racing and living it up with Claire.

My new roadie, the Rabobank Giant TCR Advanced,is so awesome, so fast, I had to get in the front of the bunch on all the downhills to just let it rip..this thing is so damn fast and really does not like you to touch the brakes EVER.  The Dura Ace wheels have the best freehweeling speed, they just keep rolling.  This bike is fast, responsive and seriously a true racing bike.  It felt like it was a part of me the entire race.

Ah...thankfully I got the week of training last week as a reward for all my hard work...and so I did not get sick.
It was like I was being looked after in many ways too, we had no real internet either, back to the good old days of DIAL UP.  What a week, no work(dial up too slow to get anything done) and no riding.

Next in line: Vic Inter Winter 3hr Enduro at Ballarat