What beautiful weather we were graced with. Clear skys, cool breeze and a warm sun. Perfect. Trail conditions was perfect too if not a little bit sandy still. The trail was cut short for the second club round but took you up more firetrail climbs which tended to work the legs without giving you space to recover as easily.
I didn’t ride a recon lap as the boys wanted to save their legs so warmed up i was not (must warm up next time). Straight from the get go it was messy. Myself and some others had to go around a tree on the outside of the course to stay up right at the start and subsequently i moved a couple of positions down. I would estimate that there was at least 10 people in front of me or so and to my learning experience that is absolutely not optimal if you are gunning for podium. I knew that i had to make up positions fast or i will be held back and the front runners will get away. Problem with this is everyone goes full out on the first lap. So to pass them, you have to go even more full out. This also made me ride super erratic.
I kept a memory of how many people were in front of me and started rounding them up. Some faster than others but i past them eventually. Near the mid 2nd lap i managed to get to the front of the pack and settled into a nice pace. From my memory i didn’t remember anyone else in front of me but as the results would tell you, that would not be the case. Apparently 3 people gapped the main group at the front and i did not know of this until i saw the results. Going from my memory i was sure i was at the front of the pack and was in pretty damn good position. Nub mistake again, do not ever assume you are at the front of a pack. Since i thought i was at the front of the pack i started slowing down. I noticed i opened a little gap from the guys behind me on the steep climbs every lap and decided that gap was enough to last me till the end of the lap. So i slowed down and made it my duty to get to the finish line not getting past which i did.
Checking on the results at home i was surprised to see a 4th. I was expecting a 2nd but that ought to teach me to assume and go off my crappy memory in a race situation. The guys in front of me was fast. I know that definitely but i think if the start was better for me i would have a good chance to get amongst them. If i was in the first 3 from the start line i would have saved a load of energy not having to overtake 8-9 guys in front of me or get slowed down. Every 1 of those seconds count and when the guys in front are having a clear run they are opening up the gap whilst still riding more conservatively than yourself.
So the two points i have learnt this round is to start at the fore front if possible. Not like 9-10 but 1-3. Another is to never assume you are 1st in a race.
As a positive though, looking at my results, i believe i should be leading the c-grade men’s points right now. That is mostly because the guys on top of me haven’t being turning up for both rounds or have moved up to B-grade. Still, i would like a podium sometime soon just for the fact that a podium sounds cool.
The Yeti performed great again. I got asked how the bike goes by a couple of guys and i answered that it is good enough to race on but i can turn up to stromlo the next day and have a crap load of fun on all the trails too and that i think is the compromise that i have made (even though the yeti has made it easier to live with the compromise). I turned on propedal this time and the bike was a little bit more snappy. Still, i know i don’t have the sharpest tool in the shed. A hardtail with proper race tyres front and rear would be an advantage for sure.
Can you say a test ride at yellomundee on a bike like this to check overall lap times?