Our resident little rippa Rylan was kind enough to put a few addled, post Thursday morning pappas ride, words together describing the heroic deeds that took place at the first crit of the season put of by Northern Districts Cycle Club. For my part I’d like to congratulate the club for putting on a great race and also the boys for showing up and putting in a great effort.
Last Sunday the members of the Cycles Bespoke team (Angus Cole, Matt Miller, James Callahan, Paul Aubrey, Jason Chua, Mike Pardon and myself) ventured to Wangara to race the first criterium of the season hosted by Northern Districts Cycle Club (NDCC).
Our pre race plan was that today we must get someone on the podium. Being so early in the season and no one carrying any particular form the objective was to neutralize any breakaway attempts for the first half of the race and then try to initiate a move ourselves.
It was a perfect day, one straight out of the box, 26 degrees with light winds. However having B and C grade rolled together, 40+ starters lined up and consequently proved to be a deceivingly tough race.
Almost from the get go, a number of Cycle Mania, NDCC and WAIS whipper snappers were hitting out in the gutter putting pressure on the group. The bunch was not in the mood to let a break get away so early in the piece and together with Angus, Matt and myself kept any move in check.
After 25 minutes a sense of urgency from numerous riders to break the race up preventing a bunch sprint saw several attacks from the NDCC boys which started a riot of attacks. With 15 minutes left to race myself and Mike finally found ourselves in a move with 5 other riders. After burying myself with Sam Welsford (NDCC) at the front we had managed to establish a small lead of about 15-20 seconds.
The break worked well to maintain the advantage for the next 10 minutes but is was becoming evident that a few riders were really starting to feel the pinch. Sensing this Sam, his team mate Blake Smith and myself rode clear of the break in a bid to hold off the charging main group. For the last 4 laps we rode at our absolute limits knowing that this could be the winning move.
As we got the bell for the last lap our advantage was still holding at 15 seconds and I started thinking about getting myself into the best position to out fox my 2 other breakway compainions in the kick to the line. Blake pulled a huge turn on the final lap to give Sam the best possible lead out into the home straight. Sam hit out with a good 300m to go which took me by surprise and was instantly out of the saddle to get back onto his wheel. As the finish line rapidly approached I was giving it my all to come over the top of Sam and although I was closing I ran out of road and came second by half a wheel.
A super performance by the bespoke boys (especially Matt and Angus who closed a lot of gaps in the early stages of the race to keep it together) to carry out the pre race plan and help me get onto the podium. Although it was only B grade made for a good warm up prior to making the jump to A in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for further race reports on the Cycles Bespoke webpage and Facebook.