Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dunce of the Mountain

Last weekend I headed off to Gunnedah with my fellow DHBC clubmates to contest the Keegan Downes Memorial Sundowner Sundowner Handicap race and the following days Gunnedah to Tamworth graded scratch race. The first race was a killer with 169 competitors split between 9 bunches all sent off at different time handicaps. I had a really good ride in the 3rd bunch and we worked very well together catching both of the two bunches in front of us. Eventually we were caught 15km from Gunnedah then rode together in a much larger bunch for a few km. On the last major hill we were split in half and the leading group went on to take victory. I hurt like hell over the last 5km hoping to catch up to the leading bunch, but to no avail.

The most eventful part of the day happened much latter when I found out that I’d been fined for supposedly crossing the middle of the road when I tried to win the King of the Mountain. Thinking this could be my one ever moment of glory, I attacked early on the hill but was beaten by one other rider from the Eastern Suburbs club. At the end of the race I was told that I’d crossed the middle of the road when attacking on the hill. I was fined $50. This news left me completely gobsmacked but I didn’t put up a protest.

The following days Gunnedah to Tamworth graded scratch race was not the most enjoyable but certainly the most relaxing race I’d ever done. I was in agony just getting on the bike that morning. Luckly I was placed in the bottom grade “F” and had a very easy day of riding. We rolled out of town like a training ride and chatted away with only a few minor attempted breakaways that were all chased down. Eventually it came to a bunch sprint. The problem for me was I had no idea where it was. My odometer has broken the previous day and there were no signs telling us we where near the finish. Suddenly the sprint had had started on this empty patch of highway and I was in the worst position possible at the back left of the bunch. I tried to get through the chaos passing along the gravel edge of the road narrowly missing two other riders and almost hitting one onlooking race commissioner. I finished in 5th place and won $50. The truth was I'd bombed the sprint completely, but there seemed to be something almost zen-like about finishing in 5th place and receiving $50 to pay off the previous days debts.

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