Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HPRW Womens Series - Race 3

Hamilton Pine River Wheels ran an excellent women's series which I hope will be repeated next year.  Eighty-three women competed over the series, 10 of whom were new to the sport and encouraged to have a go in the rare women's only format.  What a great way to encourage people into the sport! Unfortunately I could only get to one race of the series, the final criterium.  I would like to try and complete the lot next year, mountain bike calendar willing!  Thanks to HPRW for making these races happen.

On the start line lined up front and centre, just like the mountain biker I am!
The uni girls decided it was time we lined up to have another go at working together and to see if we could come away with something better than Metros. Nicole, Dom, Anne and myself discussed our plans on the way out.  It was fairly simple, and straight out of the book of Jaman TM.  Attack. We were missing Miff, STEF, Georgie and Nerida but on the plus side this time I was in full health.  A last minute panic when Anne discovered a flat literally on the start line was solved by Koiled - with Shannon passing over a shiny Industry Nine wheel - bling bling!

With a mixed A and B race, I made Donna's wheel my priority.  I also knew if I was still here in the last lap I was going to lose as Donna has a great sprint.  My team was awesome!  Nic, the self confessed non-racer, absolutely monstered them with constant attacks.  Dom also went up the road a bunch of times to make them chase, while importantly keeping her cannons ready for the sprint.  Anne put aside first timer B grade nerves and showed us she can not only ride in, but also attack!  It was rare that there was not a uni girl off the front - and the rest of us raced smart making the other girls either let the Uni girl ride away or do the work to bridge.  Not surprisingly a large percentage of the bridging was done by the A Grade girls.  They even had words when Anne and I sat up on the front, letting Nic ride away.  Somewhere in there Nic got another flat on the far side of the course and had to run it back in!  Once again Koiled produced a wheel, this time from Matt Dog Powell's bike and she was back in within the one lap time slot.  Phew!

Around 33mins Nic launched an attack off the front that was chased down reasonably hard. I followed Donna and Jane as they did the work to catch it. As soon as they bridged I jumped knowing Nic would not chase and they would have to get around her to get my wheel.  I got away through the bends and as I rounded and came up the straight I had a quick look.  Wow!  I had managed to get around 150 metres.  As I came down the straight I saw the 2 laps to go held up. I received plenty of advice from the Koiled guys as I hammered past, mostly summarised as you have to 'smash yourself now or it is over'.

I have only ever seen a break win a crit once, and that was a 2-man involving Jim Whimpey from UniCC.  And here I was trying to do it by myself!  What was I thinking?!  I was thinking, if you want me, you are going to have to come and GET ME.  And actually, I felt ok.  The headwind on the straight was hard and I tried not to think of how much easier it was for the bunch and made myself as small as possible. I was going to do this.

Final lap and my legs were starting to burn, but I was still away and I knew I had more. Ok, I didn't do this much work for nothing. If they catch me now, it is over as sprinting off the back of a TT is ummm, challenging! Matt Dog reminded me 'you only get one CHANCE!!!' while TR and Shan cheered me on... With those words in my ears I told myself it was time to check into the hurtbox proper and make this stick.  I dropped some gears and smashed myself over the small rise and down into the chicanes.  A quick look showed me no-one. I might actually do this!  From there I didn't bother looking and simply finished hard.  In the end I had around 300 metres, having doubled the gap on the last lap according to my onlookers.

My Koiled buddies were disappointed that I opted for sprinting instead of doing some kind of victory dance across the line... apparently I need to work on my euro gloat.  Sounds like it requires skills - I am happy to work on my sprint!  The bunch rolled in and it was down to a sprint finish.  Dom positioned herself perfectly on Donnas wheel, letting her lead her out - and then out sprinted her for 2nd.  Nic sprinted in for 4th, and Anne rolled in with the bunch having completed her first B grade race!  So nearly a Uni clean sweep!

HPRW in a Uni Sandwich - Nicole Mulholland, Donna Fyfe, Dom Schuh, and Rach.

I absolutely love racing with these girls and trying our best to help each other.  Today it happened that it was my day to get away, but if it had failed I would have lead Dom out and done my best to see her win.  One way or another Uni was going to get it!

I am already looking forward to the State Team Time Trial.  I think the Uni girls will end up with not one but two teams in the hunt.  I might even buy one of those weird assed helmets!

Next up... too many choices... KWT Maxis 4 hour round 1, dusk2dawn, State Roads, State TTT.... so much racing, so little time.

* thanks to HPRW for the photos.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome Awesome work. Miff and Stef *Clown approved* ;-) "...like the MTBer you are.." love it!