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How to lose a race

by Dino Apolito last modified 2007-05-29 00:05
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I stuffed up my chance to win the D grade road race at Crib Point

I could see the finish line. I could feel it. I could taste victory.

There I was a mere 200 metres or so from the finish line at Crib Point on Saturday thinking I had it won. But it wasn't to be. I blew my chance due to a bad case of impetuosity. Or was it bad luck, bad timing or inexperience.

Basically I sprinted too early into a strong head wind and up an ever so slight hill. After all it was only a couple of hundred metres and I know I can sprint the last lap of the track at Blackburn and that's 330 metres. So where's the problem?

With about 400 metres to go I was third wheel and sitting pretty behind a guy and a girl driving strong. But then they both blow up simultaneously and I'm left on the front. What do I do now? Where's the coach in my earpiece when I need him? I was faced with a dilemma. Do I get off the front?  No. That would mean I drift too far back and with the finish so close I could get blocked or be caught by a late attack or early sprint.

So I look behind me. The guy and girl are no longer a threat and there's a small gap between me and the next bike...So I go for it. Head down and I start sprinting for the line. The gap widens. I think I've going to win. But my legs are burning (I shouldn't have raced DISC on Thursday night) and the headwind is killing me. I'm dying a rapid death but I will hang on. Then a guy goes past me... What the #$@#$@? Oh well second is not bad. But then 3 or 4 more riders go past me. Shit.Shit Shit. And on the line I'm hit by a bunch of 4 or 5 guys all now going faster than me. Crap. I've gone from thinking "I'm gonna win this" to "Oh well second is not so bad" to finishing somewhere between 5th and 10th within the space of 200 metres.

Where did I go wrong?

Well the legs were sore when I started courtesy of Thursday night racing but they did loosen up after about 10km so I'm not sure that's a valid excuse. I do know I didn't have the kick I normally have. Until the last lap (D grade was 6x 8km laps and about 30-40 riders) I had raced the perfect race. I had managed to hide in the bunch, do minimal work and just have a good time chatting up the Kathy Watt pink girls. On the last lap I thought I better move toward the front but go too close to the pointy end and ended up doing a turn into the wind and up the hill proper. Then a guy attacks and guess which fool chases him? I mangaed to catch him pretty quickly but I'm stuffed and drift to the back thinking my race is over.

So with half a lap to go I'm at the rear again but work my way back to a good position with 400 metres to go. I impressed myself with that fact alone. In other races, in other years I would have been totally blown and come in last but here I was able to finally contest a finish. So I should be happy.

But what might have been....

stuck on the front!

Posted by Carl Brewer at 2007-05-29 03:35
It happens, Dino, there's a few tricks, but generally, you were in the right place, but things didn't quite pan out for you. Unless you've gapped the bunch, driving with 300m to go is a leadout and you're doomed. Next time ... :)

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