Cam Woolcock Vic masters crit champion
ABOC rider crowned Victorian M1/2 Criterium Champion
by Cam Woolcock
In a nod to most State Champs days this season, I woke with a cold. Not the terrible "I'm-going-to-have-to-DNS" sort of colds, but enough to frustrate. I withdrew from this years State Madison titles with an awesome virus, and had not recovered for the following weeks State Scratch race. I could only watch in adject frustration as Robert Reid animated a race that, for all his efforts, ended in a bunch spint where I got third. I also had a cold for the Vic Open Points last December and, were I on form, would have been close to a medal. In summary, while 2010 was a break out year with three State titles, 2011 has been fairly forgetable with two bronzes.
The form leading in wasn't too flash either. Of the two A-grade Crits I've ridden this year, I was dropped, lapped and DNF'd both times.
What was in my favour today was;
With such poor recent form, no-one was watching me.
Instead everyone was watching Shane Miller. As reigning Australian M1 Pursuit and Time Trial champ, he was an unbackable favourite for the M1/2 win. Shane was heavily marked, and this ulitmately ensured a bunch sprint.
Having riden the same course last year, had the "street knowledge" that the position you come into the second to last corner is the position you finish in.
The race was shortened to 25 mins + 1 lap. Definitely far enough for a sick Points Racer. I've have been in big trouble if the race was an hour.
The race had everything: tactics, max outs, riders leaning on others, hooks, chopping up the inside on tight corners, riding off the course, riders yelling and pedigreed Masters riders like Miller, Cam Shaw, Robert Reid and others. Thankfully no crashes and no punctures (I think). In short, really good fun.
The race was on from the gun, led by Miller. In the periods of lull weaker riders (like me) moved forward to improve position. So there were periods of maximal effort, followed by periods of leaning on others and others leaning on me. It took about ten minutes to be dropped for the first time. Luckily I had strong riders like Andrew Hutchenson and a Broadford/Seymour rider (they're always strong) for company. It took about five or six minutes to get back on, coming up through other riders as they were dropped. Worked with most of these riders for a bit, then dropped them and moved up to the next set of riders. This was similar to last year: it's important to believe that you're getting back on and dose the effort. It appears the reason we got back on was everyone was watching Miller to attack, work, increase pace. When he refused to work, we got back on.
And as soon as we got on, Miller attacked. He said after the race that he didn't want me in the bunch, which could be considered a compliment. In any case, I couldn't respond, but neither could several others. Another five-ish minutes and we were back. This time it eased up, so to avoid being attacked again I chopped off the front. It didn't last long as I was pretty wrecked, but it was easier than absorbing another couple of accelerations. When I got caught, I sat in at second wheel and waited for others to come through. This wouldn't have made me any friends, but it was important to try and maintain position, and it dropped the pace and let me recover. A decent jump with about two or three to go had me swinging off the back. I look down at the computer and it's 25-00. Past the start finish with the bell ringing and I'm just getting back on. Terrible position. Up the hill, and strangely no attack. Turn the third to last corner and being a bit off the back isn't looking too bad. A hard acceleration from behind the bunch, hit the bunch at full speed, jam it up the inside of the bunch, ride close up on the side of an accelerating Miller and suddenly I'm half a bike length up on the bunch. This is pretty much the win, still worried about Miller, but fairly confident. I jam it through corner with two to go, ease up a bit on the penultimate down-hill straight (gets everyone to bunch up and get a poor line into the final corner). Accelerate with 50 meters to go to the corner. Smash through the corner. Hold it up. Only got 100 metres to go and it's near-impossible to come around. I hear the horrible sound of what was the guy in second wheel braking into the corner, getting in the way of every behind him and guaranteeing me the win. I exited the corner with about five bike lengths. Able to celebrate the win about 50 metres out. Didn't get fined for the two-armed salute.
Judging by the riders in the bunch, this is my best win ever. I was almost going to write off this season. Now it's salvaged.
1st Cam Woolcock
2nd Robert Reid
3rd Shane Miller
Thanks to Carl Brewer for the years of coaching advice, mentoring and protein-promotion.