Last weekend (19th-20th Sept) the National Capital Tour was run in Canberra, as I’m well into my Oceania’s preparation I decided to do the graded race as the NRS event would of involved a lot of K’s and distracted my track preparation.
Consisting of 3 stages for the A grade riders the first stage began on Saturday and involved a hard hill top finish atop of Corin national park.
With a solo break going off the front within the first 5km the peloton was more steady as we had a measure of our efforts. coming within about 20km to go the bunch started to panic as we’d left the break so long that they’d built a decent lead of about 2 minutes and without knowing how good they’re climbing skills are, we felt threatened.
After I managed to get halfway up the climb I started looking around wondering where everyone was, we’d dropped the bunch and were now about 30 seconds clear of the rest. As we pressed on we got to three-quarters the way up and Nicolas Wilson put in a bit of an acceleration and I got dropped but as I got dropped I managed to look down enough to look at my garmin displaying 108% of my max heart rate.
As I tried to lose as little time as possible between then and the finish I was still very much on my limits and managed to come in about 50 seconds adrift from stage winner Lewis Cressy.
From yesterdays efforts I was sitting in 3rd place on GC, theoretically all I had to do was sit wheels… Much easier said than done. With the bunch starting quite aggressively and putting down a pretty solid tempo up Mt Macdonald made it very difficult for any rider to get away (didn’t stop them trying).
A number of riders put in some pretty solid attacks going up to Condor Creek but all were monitored and kept on very short leashes.
When it came to the Three Sisters (the bigger climb of the day) I wasn’t feeling the goods and had to try and control the pace of the bunch up the climb. With about 10km left the bunch was travelling at a decent pace as I heard the touch of wheels behind me, looking back each of us observed the carnage with about 10 riders going down and 5 or so damaging their bikes. We decided to take it easy until the few riders that managed to avoid the crash got back onto the bunch.
Coming in to the crit track I knew well and truly which wheel I needed through the last corner, but rounding the corner ready to kick off the hip of the wheel I’d chosen the rider swiftly moved to the very edge of the track closing the door for my sprint and pushing me onto the grass. After about 20m or so riding on the dirt I managed to start my sprint but alas it was too late and I had to settle for second.
After narrowly missing the stage win I so desperately wanted in the last race I needed to make sure that no small breakaways got off the front as this is a course to favor them. With the racing being very aggressive from the start it was very hard to keep chasing them down and as I was a favorite to win the stage I was left to close many of the gaps.
Slowly the time ticked on and with 2 laps to go I was at the front preparing for the sprint, down to one lap and somehow I had been pushed back too far and needed to make up a lot of positions. Coming through a corner the bunch drifted wide leaving the door open enough to slip through to 5th wheel still needing to make a place or two, I moved up again on the inside of the next corner as a rider in front clipped a pedal on the famous stretch of Collarbone Corner, making sure I wasn’t boxed for the sprint was difficult but I had a good wheel and managed to take the victory.
Coming away from the weekend with a stage win
and a podium for every stage I was content with