Venturing to a race on a Tuesday evening is not something that the everyday individual does, but the we are not everyday individuals. After a full day of lectures, Mike Evans, Finn Fitzgerald and I trekked out to Velopark for a change in the race scenery, opting for the flatter and sprint orientated course in stark contrast to Hog Hill.
A brief rain shower before the race started was the only thing damping the motivation of the squad. As the race started, the pace rocketed, averaging 42kmph for the first 20 minutes despite a fairly strong wind. Hanging on in the bunch, we kept our cool, waiting for the moment to strike. After a series of probing moves, the first serious attack came, launched by Tom Percival. Mike, having caught the wheel, sprinted to join the break, but later returned to the bunch, deciding to wait for the sprint instead. Another equally strong rider soon joined Tom, and they would go on to take 1st and 2nd place.
After another few laps, race captain Finn launched an attack from the front that could only be described as ‘rude’. A gap was immediately created. As this happened, I was in the process of moving up the side of the bunch and noticing the attack, made an effort to bridge. Unfortunately, my sprint was not strong enough to create a gap from the bunch, and I essentially rode down my own teammate in what was an appalling display of tactics. After the series of attacks, the UCLUCC remained dormant. Patient. Another series of flyers occurred, none gaining significant gaps when I proceeded to launch into the headwind. The effort allowed me to take the series of hairpin bends at full effort and a gap was soon formed. Unfortunately, the legs were not there and after a few minutes, I was absorbed by the bunch. With only 15 minutes of racing left, a group of 4 managed to gain a small gap on the peloton. Noticing the danger, Finn valiantly made an effort to bridge. He made up ground quickly, but after spending nearly a full lap in limbo, dangling a mere 15m from the attackers, the bunch was upon him and again, the squad antics had failed.
With 5 laps to go, the game had switched from Finn and I making a nuisance to Mike going for his signature sprint. With only 4 laps to go, he made a powerful effort to position himself in the top 5, and even pulled the peloton along on the front for a seemingly absurd amount of time. As the time left dwindled, the pack became more and more anxious, taking dangerous lines around bends and fighting tooth and nail for position. Amidst the scrum, although Mike likely had the strongest legs, the peloton swarmed and he was unable to generate the max power he is known for.
Although we only finished in the bunch, we were definitely one of the most active teams, despite having only 3 riders.
Duration – 1hr 7min
Avg. Speed – 40.9kmph
Avg. Heart Rate – 174bpm