Masters Nationals TT & Crit

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Masters Nationals TT & Crit

Post by Fozzy » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:49 am

Here's a report on the Master Nationals TT & Crit.
All I can say is what a weekend of racing!!

The Friday evening saw very windy conditions for the TT, and the road conditions were pretty good considering the amount of construction going on in that area. The course spans between Mile "0" and St Charles Street and is 3 laps (16km). At the start area (Clover Point), the atmosphere was buzzing with activity including organizers milling about, racers coming back looking relieved, broken, or euphoric and swapping stories with spectators and families, racers brimming with nervous energy as they were about to start, and some light-hearted commentary from the compere tent.
The time had come for the 50-59 category, and a strong and serious looking competitors set off at 1:30 intervals.
A strong headwind from the West was proving to be challenging going towards Mile "0", but on the plus side going Eastbound means serious speed could be achieved.
My time to go. Bike checked and onto the start ramp for the countdown.
Clipped in and 5-4-3-2-1....GO!!!
Out of the start going as fast as I could up the hill and making the tight left turn onto Dallas Road, tuck in as much as possible and pedal!
Looking at the Garmin to see lofty speeds of 32kph into the headwind trying to be as aerodynamic as I could, hearing cheers from spectators and marshals on the first of 3 laps. With the turn at Mile "0" safely navigated, I got back up to speed.
Heading East on Dallas, my speed was increasing. On the descent down to the next turn point at St Charles I was hitting low 60's.
The next 2 laps were a blur of cheering spectators and marshals and my brain telling my legs to keep going. Crossing the finish line and nearly puking meant that I couldn't have done anymore and I felt happy with my performance. My time was 24:48 and put me in 15th.

Sunday morning came, the winds had subsided and conditions were ideal for racing.
I signed in and went to see the Masters 60-69 race for a while before warming up.
Again, the atmosphere was buzzing with a mix of racers, families, and spectators.
Warmed up and managed to see the end of the 60-69 race with Andrew Neale getting a well deserved 2nd place.
Looking at the racers in my category, everybody was looking strong and focussed. I knew that I had to give it everything even to stay in the pack.
Got out onto the course and did a few recon laps. Three out of the 4 corners were wide and easy to navigate, whereas corner 3 was a lot tighter.
Arrived at the starting line for the pre-race briefing and then the whistle went.
I struggled to get clipped in and just pedalled like mad to keep with the pack with 1 foot in. managed to get fully clipped in just after corner 2. From the start, the pace was high with a few guys trying to break away. Fortunately, the break didn't stick and the pack stayed together. Each corner was spent regulating speed and holding your line to avoid any issues. The pack was buzzing, everybody communicating with each other and letting each other know where they were. I was concentrating on staying in the middle of the pack and as hard as I tried, it was easy to hit the back. Three or four laps in, another solo break went, and I found myself at the front of the group trying to reel him in. I thought that it was a bad idea, so I went back to the middle.
Time flew by as the laps accumulated, then I saw the countdown for the last 5 laps. The race was on!
The pace went higher and higher and with 2 laps to go, I took at wider line into turn 3 and nearly hit the curb on the exit. By the time I composed myself, the pack was about 20 yards away. I tried to get back on, but the pace was so high I couldn't get within reach.
The bell went for the last lap, and as I was away from the pack, all I could do was pedal as hard as I could to make sure that nobody else come past and to prevent getting lapped. I'm not particularly worried about my result as it was a fantastic experience and I learned so much. Kudos to all of the racers on Sunday as it was a very fast race.

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Re: Masters Nationals TT & Crit

Post by POC » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:58 am

What a fantastic report Neil. You have summed up the weekend so well. It truly is an amazing experience competing in these events and you learn more in these Crits than you would in a months worth of riding. Neil, you prove that racing elevates your fitness and bike handling levels. It is a pleasure to ride against you and long may you continue on your path of improvement. Thanks to all the TS's for the support, shouts and marshalling. :D

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Re: Masters Nationals TT & Crit

Post by Bosie » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:52 am

Bravo Neil. Great report.

So much fun racing this weekend, perched somewhere between fatigue and terror. As you and Paul point out, you learn so much racing.

Look forward to doing it again next year:)

Craig B.

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