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Archive for July, 2012

Racing the NRS Series and Elite NSW State ITT Champs

Posted by fenner on July 10, 2012

Having returned from the NRS Tour of Toowoomba and the Santos North West Tour it was time to focus on one of the goals I had set myself at the start of the season. The two tours had gone well for Torq/BSS and although we hadn’t come away with a stage win, Brenton Jones scored two 3rds and Tarmac Mick Troy the most aggressive at Toowoomba and a few sprints. Along with that we had been in second place after the first two stages in the team’s event at the North West Tour with Tarmac, Brenton and I in the top 20 after the prologue and criterium. When you consider our overall budget or lack of one against the teams we were competing against we were holding our own and mixing it in the stages.

Heading for a top 20 at SNWT prologue (Photography by Mark Gunter)

With the quality races in my legs the final week leading into the State ITT Champs was all about recovering and freshening up as well as focusing the shorter efforts at race intensity all on the TT bike. As the week progressed I was feeling better and better and a short TT test effort on the Thursday before the race showed I was bang on schedule and holding some great condition.

Having never actually ridden the full 43km State course at Calga before Tarmac and I travelled up Saturday morning to pre-ride the course and activate ready for the race on Sunday. It was clear from the start that it was going to be a tough race with over 500 vertical meters of climbing and exposed to a cross headwind on most of the outward leg. It was going to be about solid pacing and over-threshold efforts on the climbs and then saving as much while going as fast as possible on the descents. Wheel choice for the day was going to be a Zipp disc with a 90mm Easton front a good combo as long as the wind didn’t get up too much when the very flat and deep Easton can be a real handful to keep hold of. I have the option of a HED tri-spoke as well, but, figured the extra weight and slower nature of the course would not suit it as well as the Easton.

On the morning of the race the conditions were ideal, but, with a later start the Elite riders were going to be faced with an increasing headwind on the outward leg. On the start ramp, however, it was still not too bad and I mentally prepared for the effort. The pacing strategy was to try and hold 380 – 420 watts on all of the climbing efforts, this would represent between 105 – 115% of my current FTP which I had recently set at a conservative 360 watts after a 390 watt effort up Camby Mountain for 17 minutes. As I tend to when fresh have a large AWC capacity these shorter efforts tend to overestimate my actual 60 minute power a little if the usual 95% is used to estimate it.

Straight off the ramp and it was clear I was on a good day, you know the feeling of effortless power and constantly having to rein it in and hold back. The first 10 minutes was like this and I was constantly throttling back a little and trying to maintain speed in the flatter sections and downhills for as little expended energy as possible and then smacking the climbs full on and maintaining the 400+ watts I had set as the target. I knew from having ridden and won the Masters NWS Champs previously that my return leg would be about 29 mins and that meant the outward leg to the turn would need to be somewhere in the region of 29 – 30 mins to be in with a shout of winning the event. The course record held by Peter Milostic who was also competing during the weekend was a low 58 and last year’s winner also racing this year Jacob Kaufman won with a 58.50. On approach to the up ramp at the halfway point I had caught and passed about 4 riders in front of me and I instinctively knew I was going well, but, to see the timer show 28.30 at the halfway point was a real motivator. I must be there or thereabouts and once I knew I was going well I just refocused on all the controllable aspects of the race. Tuck the head, hunch the shoulders, maintain the power focus, focus and focus some more. The return was tough and I caught 2 riders on Bloody hill and just nailed myself holding 420+ and frothing at the nostrils. The final 1km was just full gas and I crossed the line with what my Garmin showed as a 58.40 (Official time of 58.44), I was pumped and really thought I was in with the chance to win the event. While sitting waiting in the hot seat Peter Milostic approached and missed the time by almost a minute, but, then 2 riders could be seen in the distance and the time was really close. First to cross the line was Brodie Talbot; Brodie had been riding amazingly well winning the first 140km stage at Toowoomba and holding the leader jersey. He was right up there in the NRS and it was going to be close. He flew across the line in a 58.29 and had just beaten me. Next up Kaufman flew across in a 58.40 and I was relegated to the Bronze medal.

Heading towards the finish

I could have done no more and with PB numbers being posted up Camby I was content in the knowledge that I had given the youngsters a good run for their money. Next year I will be back and that 15 second deficit will be gone ;o)

I would like to thanks all my sponsors Torq/BSS along with Monza, Cube Bikes and Sram for the best gear available to ride with. Thanks to Simon Jones and Powerstation for all the frothing at the nostrils intervals that knocked me into such good shape. I would also like to give a massive thanks to AusRiders and Aussie Butt Cream for the comfort of grips and chamois cream along with GO2 http://www.go2life.com.au/sport.html for keeping me healthy and firing under a heavy racing load.


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