The 'Cecil Shore Memorial handicap' was a 120 km handicap road race that started in Hamilton went through Macarthur then to Orford and did a U-turn and went back to Hamilton again.
The map and course profile
Luckily the race started at 12:30 in the afternoon, this meant for once I didn't have to wake up early  and rush around and I could actually warm up properly. I rode from where we were staying out along the course a bit and back to the start line and ended up doing 15 km. After this Mum and Dad met me at the start line so I could get ready and start to do a more serious warm up on the rollers.
I started the race in the 12 minute group (the middle out of six groups). When we started it was windy and it stayed like that  the whole race. Not long after the start it began pouring down with rain. Luckily on the way out our group worked well together in the wind, we formed an echelon and kept an average pace of 42 km/h for the first hour so we were going fairly hard and I didn't get to cold.  
An example of an echelon
After a while we started catching riders that had been dropped from the groups in front of us and then eventually we caught the group that started 4 minutes ahead of us. Even though we had caught one group we soon realised we didn't have much chance of catching the front group. As we went past spectators on the side of the road they would yell out the time gap to the front group. We weren't catching them, if anything they were getting further ahead of us. And then as we went around the turnaround we could see scratch (the fastest group) had caught the group in front of them and was almost upon us.

Because our group knew we were going to be caught everyone slowed down and waited for scratch to catch us. When they come past they were flying and we had to sprint to get on. When we did get on it was hard. The wind had picked up and there was a few teams on the front driving the pace.

It turns out that scratch and the 7 minute group was filled with riders from the semi profesional teams Target Trek, African Wildlife Safaris and the Victorian Institute of Sport team. So when they caught us they decided it would be a good idea to go as hard as they could on the front to get rid of us. It was especially hard because it was still a crosswind which meant I couldn't just sit on the back and have an easy ride.

The reason I couldn't just sit on the back is because the peloton, due to the wind was riding in an echelon. This meant we were riding in a diagonal line and because the group was so big there wasn't enough room for us to fit across the road. So therefore it was easier to take turns at the front than try and sit on the back. But after rolling turns at 50 km/h for 10 km I was struggling to roll through so all I could do was try and hang on the back. This didn't last long though and I got dropped with 40 km to go. 

I thought the rest of the race was going to be a long boring ride by myself but one of the African Wildlife Safari riders who had been dropped caught up to me so we talked and rode for 20 km together. At 20 km to go a small group of riders caught us so we all worked together to getback as a group. But after about 10 km it started poring rain again (at some point during the race it had stopped and I didn't realise) so a few riders began to go faster so we could get back and get out of the rain.

Eventually after 3 hours and 15 minutes we got to the finish. I have no idea how I went because they havent put up the full results but I felt happy with how I went and learnt some valuable lessons about riding in the wind.

That was not all for the weekend though. The next day was the Victorian 100 km championships which I will write about tomorrow or on Thursday.


07/09/2013 2:57pm

Tough ride Ryan. Hate the wind


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