I grew as a person this weekend, i lost and grieved for my cycling ego…the Pemberton Classic Criterium taught me a lesson.
John, Rich & I arrived in Pemberton, two hours prior to the crits, walked over to the registration table and started to spot people collecting the blue B grade numbers…
Are those guys in B grade, they are part of proper cycling teams… Eddy Hollands, KD cycles, Cyclemania…they cant be in my grade.
I saw the cones, I assumed they were for traffic, not for the race, I followed them, climbed the other half of the course, over the summit and peered down the other side..that cannot be the course, thats just hills intervals…
The course map doesn’t tell the full story… so ive placed an elevation map below as well.
I was wrong.
We started the race with ~twenty riders, we were pointed straight down the hill with a 180 degree turn at the bottom over potholled roads, right in front of the spectators at the pub, the other SPR guys had, quite smartly, decided not to contest the B grade race, so it was just me.
The first corner was sketchy, by the time we were all around safely, the front runners were back up past the start line just as the last guys cleared the cone…this wasn’t going to be good.
2 min in – Heart rate 95%
There is no way those guys should be able to ride with us, arent they a sponsored team, this is shit, why dont they control who enters what grade…sandbagging….all of them!
Another lap, another stack, i think someone dropped their bike each lap just in front or right behind me as we all rode through the bends a little faster than we ought to in an effort to keep in touch with the (diminishing) front bunch.
3 min in – Heart rate 98%
What sort of moron would would design a hotdog, hillclimb crit?..thats retarded, dont they know what crits are in the country??
4 min in – Heart rate 98%
This – is – horseshit!
Half the field had retired, if you were not with the first 5, you were not going to catch back on…most were deciding to withdraw rather than wear themselves out before the Sunday morning road race… good idea i decided
6 min, and 5 laps in – cooked
Retire – I pulled out, 5 laps was all i could manage, short & depressing strava log – http://app.strava.com/rides/4772974
Tomorrow should be better, the start will be slower and ill have a couple of SPR guys with me. Ben can tow me around all morning.
I hope i last longer than 6 minutes tomorrow, i don’t want to ride 70k’s by myself.
I thought i was riding well, I’ve been training, ive got Strava KOM’s….i couldnt even last 5 laps!
John looks worried, he’s not laughing now…he’s an adventure racer, if he’s worried, im dead.
The road race saw Ben, John & I line up for B grade (B had two and a half laps) after being told we couldn’t move down a grade (was worth a try John!). The start was much more sedate and we settled into a nice rythm.
If I can finish, I’ll be happy
Acceptance & Hope
Lap 1 – Ben spent much of the race on the front with most happy to let someone else work, (someone needs to explain to Ben the difference between a training ride, and a race!) there were a couple of surges and half hearted breakaways. The road out of town is rolling hills where the route gradually ascends enough to give a nice downhill roll back into town, the riders regrouped at the top of pump hill as some of the stronger riders slowed down for a rest.
Lap 2 – was nice and steady, we had one rider off the front and he spent most of that lap holding a good pace riding by himself. The second trip over pump hill saw us loose a few more riders and my heart rate really picked up, I spent a little time on the front leading to the…
Lap 2 1/2 – Third and final time up pump hill where the lone rider in the break was caught. John and Ben were riding really well up the climb sitting toward the front, the Eddy Hollands boys were yelling encouragement at them so they could continue to sit in.
The finish – involved a long downhill were we got stuck behind the tail car for C grade…. than a bunch sprint to the finish, which i
didn’t couldn’t contest, happy to reach my goal and roll across the line finishing with the front bunch.
Strava Log – http://app.strava.com/rides/4772976
The course was fantastic, smooth tarmac, quiet roads, lots of shade and well marshalled.
SPR did really well;
C Grade – 1st (wes) & 2nd (des)
B Grade – 10th, 11th 12th (i think)
A Grade – Jono finished with a strong sprint and Bonner crossed the line looking annoyingly fresh
It was great weekend down south, it was cheap and the racing (not the crit, stupid course) was great, hopefully there are more takers next year.
Picture’s courtesy of John Breed