Friday, January 8, 2010

National Criterium Champs – Ballarat VIC

I’ve discovered the problem with crits and I...I am not nearly fast enough! To be fair it was for a national jersey so everyone had brought their best form.

After an early start with a 6am flight from Brissy to Melbourne it was into the rental car and off on the Hume highway. Then a U-turn as I was supposed to be on a different highway and it’s already taken me 15 minutes just to get away from the airport. Luckily in races they have arrows...

Arriving in Ballarat I noticed something different; something missing. Oh yeah – water wasn’t pouring from the sky as it had been for the past many weeks in Brisbane. After my eyes adjusted to the long forgotten sunlight I settled into the cabins with the ASC (Australian Sport Commission) and put my bike together. Sharing with ASC members Sally Robbins and Laura Luxford we did the menial tasks of shopping and preparing for the Criterium that night.

I can now see why daylight savings is so popular down south. Our race started at 6.15pm and the streets were full of spectators having finished work. The circuit was run in the main drag of Ballarat and the support was fantastic. A straight forward course with a gradient and 2 tight corners it certainly took its toll with only 23 riders out of the 40 starters finishing. There was a crash at around the halfway mark that I was involved in but apart from a small graze on my elbow and some new scratches to the bike paintwork there was no real harm done. After a lap out about 10 of us jumped back in which is strangely difficult once the legs have spent a couple of minutes cooling down.

The sprints out of the corner were killing me and I fell off the back of the rapidly diminishing bunch with about 8 laps to go. To be honest I was pretty happy to stay on for that long in such illustrious company. Laying in bed it was hard to wind down after racing that late in the day and my heart was still thumping in my ears. Despite this I fell asleep fairly tired after a long day.

Rolling around this morning the legs felt, well, like they’d raced a crit 14 hours before! The three of us rode easily out to the road race course for a lap and then back for some feet up time. I am looking forward to tomorrow although the 36 degree forecast is sure to be challenging.

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