|This image is no way related to this post. But look at it. Just look at it. Artwork. If only I owned a house so I could mortgage it to buy this beautiful, beautiful machine.|
Garmin data is available here!
I was in Perth recently and I thought it would be nice to have a brief tipple of the local racing scene. The Peter Clarke Classic is run each by the Northern Districts Cycle Club. This race has a special place in my heart; it was the first I ever entered way back in 2010. Back then it was called the "The Hell of the North" because it was usually hot, windy and the road were in such bad condition I reckon you'd have a good chance of winning on a mountain bike. Alas! The course has changed since then; it has moved to the move scenic Chittering Brook where the roads are better, the weather more pleasant, and generally a lot less hell like.
I didn't really prepare well for the course. I knew it was some number of laps of a flat-ish course. I was racing in B grade because why not. Plus I was running a bit late - it was the siren of sleep that tempted me back to dreamland. With no team members racing with me, I wasn't quite sure on a strategy - maybe something like if there's a decent looking break latch onto it, otherwise sit in and have a crack towards the end.
So, it turns out the course wasn't as flat as I thought. It was Canberra flat, but Perth hilly, those sort of power climbs that the guys with giant flesh pistons for legs love. On the first lap I worked out the race was going to be 5 laps of 15kms or so, nice to have that sorted. The pace on the first lap was reasonably subdued, bit of a coffee ride really. I noticed there were 3 teams with a metric crapload of riders (1.26 metric crapload to 1 imperial), so I knew it was going to be a very team tactic dominated race. Great. Lots of break away attempts. I couldn't go with them all, was going to have to pick them carefully.
I moved up toward the front, but not at the front. The teams were watching each other, sending breakaways off. Their team members sat at the front and slowed everything down. No one in the peloton wanted to work, so I did a couple of stints hunting down breakaways. Bad idea, it wore me out quicker than I'd hope. After a while I stopped trying to hunt them down as hardly anyone was helping. One guy from South Perth and another from NDCC helped out for quite a while, but we all got fed up dragging the pack around. So I had no idea if there were breakaways out front or not.
The pace heated up on the 5th lap. If it hadn't, I would've been very worried. The pack caught a few breakaways, but there was still a big one out the front we could see, but not catch. The finish line was about 200m after a tight left hander coming off a hill, so it was quick and the sprint at the end felt a bit silly, but you have a have a crack. I think I finished in the second pack, toward the front of it, which was nice. One of the guys from one of the three teams won, who I happened to be parked next to in the car park. We got to chatting, they went in with a really good plan, but it must be said that it helps having 9 other team members.
All in all, a nice race. Very stop and go at times, quick and constant at others. I'll have to get better at those power climbs. I think that training starts soon. Ish. I hope.