Sunday, December 19, 2004

To the Club

I am reminded of a song by Spankox entitled, "To the Club". It goes something like:

Monday night, to the club
Tuesday night, to the club
Wednesday night, what a headache, but I the club
Thursday night, to the club
Friday night didn't wanna go, but my friend Michelle called me on the phone and so I the club!

Yes, there have been more outings this week, including another and more "in depth" visit to the Belgian Beer Café on Wednesday, and a rather late (or early, depending on how you look at it) excursion to a nightclub on Friday. Belgian beer is good stuff, but I was reminded on Thursday that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Thus, Friday evening after racing was spent drinking lite beer, which is a bit of a waste of money. You may as well alternate between a glass of real beer and one of water, because lite beer just doesn't quite have the flavour/alcohol/social ambience of the so-called real stuff.

Despite not hitting the turps too hard, getting to bed at 4am on Friday night was not really conducive to the Optimum Recovery from Racing PlanTM, especially as I had to get up at approximately in the vicinity of that hour on Sunday morning to race at West Head. It's all in the name of Fun and Fitness and is slightly better than banging your head against a wall.

I've been brushing up on a bit of Barry McKenzie too - classy stuff. Also, ma and I murdered Schubert's Fantasia in F minor duet on Saturday night. There should be a law against playing the piano when slightly pissed (we had one of mum's friends around for dinner). Maybe the Philosophers Song is appropriate at this juncture.

Racing (Greg)

Only one more race to go this year so I've been doing as much as poss in the last few weeks. Five times in the last nine days has been pretty full-on, especially combined with the Optimum Recovery from Racing PlanTM. However, it's been generally OK.

Last Tuesday at Heffron was our quickest yet, and I actually had good legs which was lucky, 'cos the FDJ-NSWIS boyz came down along with a few other hitters. We were lapping between 2'38 and 2'40 (a bit over 45 clicks an hour, utilising the metric system) and caught B grade with about four to go and C grade with just over one to go. The last lap and sprint was somewhat hairy, as they always are, but I managed to navigate my way through a bit of traffic to finish in the top 10 and well out of the money. But the sensations were good, as they say.

Just for a change I pedaled down to Sutherland for a Friday evening crit, and that was an enjoyably painful affair, with the emphasis on the painful side of things. At least it was only 24 km, so the pain was not too long lasting. Feeling suicidal, I attacked after about 10 mins and had a small gap when they blew the whistle for the first prime. My eyes lit up with the prospect of winning money, and I went flat out for the next lap to secure the princely sum of 10 bucks, which cancelled out my race entry money. Whoopee!

I hung out there for a few more laps until the hill started to take its toll and I was swallowed. The next two laps were rather painful but I just managed to hang on. At about 3.5 to go, a couple of guys attacked and - still feeling suicidal and not wanting to miss the fun - I got onto them at the bottom of the hill. It was a bit of a mistake as I couldn't even do one turn, and I was a little relieved when a couple of others bridged up. I hung on and finished fourth (they only paid top 3) and was a little annoyed that I was feeling so bad that I couldn't do any work. Thus, I vowed to drink lite beer that evening...

Sunday's Graham Jones Memorial Tour was a race I'd been looking forward to, because it was a change from the criteriums. We did an undulating 9.6km time trial, followed by a 45 km road race out to West Head and back, twice. I was happy with my TT, finishing in about 14'10 which was 15 secs quicker than two weeks ago. But for some reason, all (or a lot) of the times were out by roughly 30 seconds so I was given 13'45 for fifth place. Quickest was NSW State Champ Klayten Smith, who did 13'19, then David Rae (Easts, complete with shit hot TT bike) on 13'20, then NSW State runner up, Grafton and Tour of Bright winner Pete McDonald on 13'27, then another guy from Bicisport on 13'42, then moi.

With Klayten and Pete there, I knew there was approximately zero chance of me winning unless both of them crashed into each other. Klayten was a bit iffy 'cos his stem had a big crack in it, but we were all hoping that it wouldn't collapse on the way out to West Head.

The road race is always brutal. It starts with a 2 km climb and then goes up and down all the damn way, with climbs of between 500m-1km, dead roads and a nasty finish up a 300m/9% climb. Luckily there was no repeat of last year when the Tour leader attacked on the first climb and destroyed the bunch within two kilometres, with Robbie Cater and I hanging on for dear life. Robbie was actually with us today, but it was his first race back after a few months off so he just did one lap.

Given that David Rae was a TT specialist, it was really up to Pete to try to take the 8 seconds back from Klayten, which meant that he would have to win by 4 seconds as the time bonuses were 15-10-5 seconds for first three. On the first lap, Pete and David kept throwing in these little surges on all of the climbs and I kept yo-yoing off the back. Not good, as the group was still pretty large. But I didn't want to go into the red too much early on, and I was fairly confident I could rejoin on the downhills, which I managed to do each time. The group slowly got smaller and I thought about chucking it in on the way back on lap 1, until I saw David Rae crack. I chased back on and we were down to six riders, then on the finishing climb at the end of the lap, we dropped two of them and were finally down to four.

Lap 2 was a bit better as Pete's surges weren't as savage and Klayten was just keeping an eye on him. The other guy with us had beaten me in the TT by 3 seconds so all I needed to do was try to stay with him and grab the third place time bonus at the end.

Pete and Klayten finally cleared out with about 4 km to go and we really didn't have to chase them, even if we were able. On the finishing climb, the Bicisport dude sprinted hard from the bottom, which I thought was suicide. I was proved right as he expired halfway up so I secured third. Definitely happy with that, considering we had the top two guys in the State titles there.

I had better get some shut-eye. My body clock is just totally wrong.

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