Cycling Mecca

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Opportunity ~ Overalls ~ Work

The race started with a few attacks near the start again but the first main attack to stay away contained Matt Ryan and a Balmoral rider, they gained a reasonable gap, however the Ciocco rider who was only 8sec behind 3rd jumped across and this forced the bunch to start a serious attempt to bring the break back. However Matt being as race smart as he is, recognised the rider and would not continue working in the break, this upset the Ciocco rider and allowed Matt to attack taking the Balmoral rider with him and dropping the Ciocco rider. After a few K's the Ciocco rider came back to the bunch , however TDU was not interested in just bringing back the Ciocco rider and with all the riders continuing the chase to bring back the break.
This worked well for us as they took the next 20-30km to bring back the break and definitely eating into there strength as they lost two of the riders in doing so. After the break was caught the attacks kept coming. After some encouragement to " GET OFF THE FRONT" by some team mates I sat around 3rd or 4th wheel just managing moves, keeping them under control and didn't allow anything to get way. This stage became taxing over the hills and I found myself dropping off each lap over both of them and constantly working to catch the bunch on the descents and across the flats.

There were moments I saw expressions on faces that are not natural, I recall one of these, it was during an attack by another one of the teams, I looked across at Matt and his expression painted a dark picture, the hurt I was feeling was about to increase he wanted that attacked squashed so back to the front I go keeping the bunch all together.

Final lap, Matt and I knew what had to be done, but knowing and doing are sometimes polar opposites and with approx 10ks to go there was a hill that broke the bunch up, my main concern was two fold, Chris in 2nd and Steve in 3rd . We are approaching the final KOM both Matt and are pretty spent, I recall saying to Chris as he rolled past me " Sorry mate see ya at the end" Chris responded "keep pushing we need you guys there at the end". Well as the bunch splintered on the climb Matt and I were spat out the back, this is not good and Chris's comment is ringing around in my head. As we crest the climb we can see the bunch about 1k off in the distance, fortunately the downhill favours me alot better and Matt and I work hard to catch the vehicle convoy and start jumping from car to car and then eventually onto the back of the bunch, but we are so close to the finish line there is no time to recover. Matt goes straight to Chris and supports him while I head up to the front and slot in front of Steve to provide some cover for him.The pace is now heating up and individual attacks come thick and fast, its nearly over I just have to hold these wheel for another 1k and then give Steve a lead out.I manage somewhat of a lead out for Steve but it ends up being a little early and Steve gets caught just before the line, this gives him second for the stage.

Congrats to Chris capitalising on all opportunities and Team Mainline Racing

"Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

2nd and 3rd on GC for the overall tour - 1 stage win , 2 seconds , a number of sprint points and a great weekend away racing with the boys.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Stage 3... ITT

Well after having had time off the bike I was not in the best shape to smash a TT, especially when it turns out to be 5k UP hill.Needless to say I was rather content with the fact that I was domestic for the tour and just had to go thru the paces. Team Mainline had both Chris and Steve in contention, these guys were not going to enjoy this at all.

The gradient was not really that bad, but it continually stepped up as you reached the finish line.
We were all confident our Giant racing rigs supplied by Cyc'd for Bikes would serve us well..........

Steve was the first to approach the course from the Mainline squad, then I was another 2 riders back. Matt was Chris's minute man which worked out well, so Matt was able to back off the intensity slightly and Chris could use him as a target to chase down.

Net result Mainline Chris 2nd & Steve 3rd on GC.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

atTACKed by locals.....

Tour De Tablelands - Stage 2

Another road stage 80 something kms. And again we head out the same road as yesterday up the grinding, rolling, gruelling hill. Today’s plan was to get a couple of our guys away and early. However the bunch was onto us, the bunch was relentless and let nothing go.

Approx 18kms into the race we come across 2 large areas of tacks/pins that were spread all over the road by some not so happy locals and they were very effective in disrupting the event, we encountered a number of punctures all thru the peloton. The spares vehicles themselves are nearly cleaned out of wheels to hand around. They neutralized the race to make it fair for all after just rolling for about 5kms we are all back on and under race conditions once again. Matt and I kept up regular efforts off the front trying to break the field up but to no avail.

We are rolling around and Chris and Steve are sitting in saving their legs as best they can. We haven't seen Gerb’s for a while and don't know where he is. We are heading up the KOM for the final time and there are some pretty tired legs amongst us. I sat on the front with Josh a TDU representative just hoping to keep the pace fast enough to prevent any real attacks...... WRONG. They hit it and both Josh and I where off the back by the time the top is crested. I can see Matt ahead of me and then the bunch a few hundred meters ahead of him. We work our way back to the bunch only to find there is another guy that has broken off the front solo. While not in TDU uniform he is here working with them. This means TDU have no reason to chase him and so for us to protect our GC riders it was up to Matt and I to work on closing the gap. I was given instructions get on the front and bring him back.

Matt was also up there but we needed him to sit  in and save his legs as much as possible to lead out Chris and Steve at the finish. I'm looking and waiting for our reliable lead out man Gerbs but he is nowhere to be seen.....Oooh boy I hope my legs will hold up...

Anyway I'm driving the front of the bunch like there is not tomorrow, up some hills, down some hills across the flats into the wind, dragging a train of about 14 guys at this stage of the race and after about 8k the solo rider is just meters in front of me. Knowing we are just coming into the final rise and an uphill finish, Matt puts me out of my misery and now scoots past me and has control of the race, our boys are well positioned once again and I can see Matt working hard he pins his ears back leaving nothing in the tank, Stave managers to come off his wheel and aims up finish line managing to buffer anybody else’s brazen attacks he crosses the line with a victorious stage winning salute. Chris also rode strongly to hold position in the bunch an not loose any time against his GC position.

We gather ourselves and our composure to roll back to the township where we find Gerb’s....... He was very unlucky and was taken out of the race by none other than the spares Ute carrying all our spare race wheels etc. He's pretty beaten up and lost plenty of skin but fortunately nothing broken.
Adam had a better day today and held onto his group today to finish in the group at the finish.

We head back to our accommodation to prepare for the ITT, feeling well rewarded as a team with a solid stage win and Chris still secure in second place on GC.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The "BREAK" is over

I've been having some time off the bike but it's now time to get rolling again. Coming up is the Tour De Tablelands  just outside of Cairns and Mainline are sending 6 brave souls north to test our legs.
Adam is representing the squad in "B" while Chris,Matt, Gerbs,Steve and myself are lining up in "A" grade.

We turned up in Cairns and had to organize travel to Yungabarra. So we pile the bikes and luggage in with Adam while the rest squeeze into the other van. The journey to Yungabarra was interesting to say the least as our eyes were opened to some driving techniques that should never be repeated or experienced.
We arrive in 1 piece and get diner organized then early to bed for the next days racing.

Stage one.
The course takes us out of town around a few laps of a large circuit then out to a boat club and back to town for the finish.

As with most years up here the first stage heads up a 4 or 5 percent grind and there was an early attack. Chris and another bloke from TDU broke off the front. We were happy to let it extend and at one point it was out to 3 minutes.The occasional attack but nothing really that concerned us,  TDU and ourselves just sat back and covered any moves as we counted down the laps.

Chris has worked hard all day and the early break is still not in sight. On the way home there were a few more attacks on the rolling hills, most of us stay together and before we know it we 're rolling down the final decent for the day. The pace was on,we have our guys in the positions we need.I'm on the front trying to keep the pace up. My job is done with about 1.5km to go then Gerbs rolls past me to take his turn followed by Matt and Steve  as they aim for the finish line. They were just caught before the line which means Mainline finished the day with second, forth,fifth and a handful of sprint points.
Adam rode well in his race holding onto the bunch till the decisive climb on way home unfortunately his legs gave way and he rolled in behind the bunch.