Friday Morning. Thursday Night Report. 06/08/12
B-GROUP: JON MORENO WAXES PHILOSOPHICAL.
Welcome to another Friday morning Thursday night report. Due to a shortage of time, todays report will be made up of observations. From start to finish, this is what I saw.
+ A big group-sigh of relief when Scott said B group only had to do 3 laps.
+ A group was rolling slowly last night as we could see them ahead of us most of the night.
+ Matt Stetson was out last night. Good to see you Stets.
+ Tanya MacNeil was not out last night.
+ Javier is getting faster and stronger.
+ Arlen is getting faster and stronger.
+ Arlen chased down his brother Rhys. What’s up wit dat?
+ Patrick chased down his father Richard. What’s up wit dis?
+ B group rode well up the short, gravel section. Dirty Thursday next week!
+ Richard Daley is a very strong rider. He was often off the front on his own.
+ Hayes Line hills suck.
+ Echelons to not work well on hilly night.
+ Kris Lew on the side of the road reminiscing about his Pad Thai dinner he ate at 5:30pm.
+ The last 500 metres seems like it goes on and on and on . . .
+ Chris Jones, Patrick Daley and Dan Bartoli off the front in the last km.
+ B group trying to reel them in was too little too late.
+ Chris Jones was nipped at the end by Patrick. Awesome win Patrick! Congratulations!
+ B group stayed together fairly well and finished together quite well.
+ Cool to see B group riders stick around to see A group finish.
I didn’t like the look of the sky around 5pm yesterday evening. The rumble of thunder, a flash of lightning. My next door neighbour was outside smoking darts (Newports) and said “Storms rolling in”. He could feel it in his weathered bones.
I was half dressed, thinking we may be dealt a Get Out of Jail Free card and skip out on Hilly Night. “Maybe this storm will roll past . . . maybe it will roll in somewhere along Hayes Line and we’ll all be deep in the shit”. 50/50. I like those odds.
I also like when rides meet at The Silver Bean. Rolling into one my favourite cafe’s, the rider count looked low. ‘The instability of the sky isn’t going to help with numbers’, I thought to myself. After welcomed rounds of spandex-clad small talk, Noel called our attention. He was suited up in TT Booties and signaled that it was time to head out.
Hilly Night has a remarkable way of intimidating all. You know it’s going to hurt, you know what the profile looks like, you know your heart rate will be sky high and your legs lactic — but you still press on. Turning those pedals toward the “Start Line”
Scott Murison was talking about this route back in February . . . saying he had an idea that would put a nice spin on the usual Classic Hilly Route. We would cover some of the same roads, reverse the direction and add a bunch of finishing circuits into a true hilltop sprint toward glory. As an unexpected bonus: a hot stretch down Hooten Line — an unassumed 1.5km road, complete with road-wide puddles and deep, loose gravel.
Here is an absolute truth: Put this group of PCC riders on gravel, and things are about to hectic. Not in a fast, loose and out of control variety of hectic. Rather: Fast. Fast! There are some names to watch out for when the road turns to dirt. Zac Wheeler. Kieran Andrews. Scott Murison. Brayden MacGregor. To be sure, there are others — but these SOB’s will ratchet the pace well beyond any rational comfort level. Water bottles shook loose as bottoms of potholes were sought out, in earnest, over and over. Everyone stayed upright and kept it between the ditches.
The false flat leading into Mount Pleasant is almost exclusively unpleasant. It serves as the precursor to that nasty climb out of Mount Pleasant, just before Hayes Line. On a typical night, the pressure remains on the pedals. Though, perhaps after the Hooten Line shelling, the pace dipped slightly. It was slow enough that Kris Lew and I spoke casually about his new haircut and the volume of pre-ride Pad Thai he had ingested.
There were people off the front. Brayden seemed to be perpetually off the front, but specific details in my memory are scarce as we turned onto the first of three finishing circuits . . . I was thinking about it, and I want to believe all others were thinking about it as well: The first big climb on Meadowview Rd. The circuit had us scheduled to do 4 ascents of this hill. The pace stayed manageable the first time up. Whispers circulated through the pack; “That was downright civil”
Back to the Hayes Line side of the course and you just knew these hills would eventually start calling you names, wounding you emotionally and definitely questioning your physical ability. Rollers into a flat section into a stomach punch of a climb.
Tim Hadfield mentioned in an email to me this morning — and I don’t think he will mind me sharing it here:
Climbing up the last Hayes Line climb, while passing the sign that says “Fresh gravel” S. Wood turns to G. Cameron and says . . . Have you ever seen stale gravel . . . then they continued suffering . . .
The Fresh Gravel sign was placed at the beginning of something which became very terrible. Lap after lap, that sign was a message of inevitability — with each passing meant another trip to the top. and that climb hurt. Though, it is worth noting: there wasn’t any gravel, fresh or stale, on this part of the course. Old sign.
As I have been continuing to learn. Bike racing is a series of decisions often made within the narrowest sliver of time. 95% of the time, the decision I make is the wrong one. My wrong decision came on the third trip up Meadowview. Hadfield, Andrews and MacGregor put in a dig that carried them to the front. I stayed in touch as Brian DeLeapYear (’cause he is usually four years ahead of everyone!) came to the fore. The pace kept up. In the red. Way in the red. I let a gap go. Everything in me said, close that gap. Brain vs. the body — a classic bout if there ever was.
Hung out to dry — hinged, perfectly balanced in a distance between the break and the pack. I looked back and decided to wait for the pack. All of us were now racing bicycles. Wood and Murison and Tripp and Marret all took up the chase. Then, as if shot out of a cannon — like he always appears to have been — Zac Wheeler bridged the gap singlehandedly.
The break had been established and it wasn’t coming back. At one point on Hayes, I could have sworn that Brayden came out of the break. Others have confirmed this . . . which makes it all the more important to note: not only did Brayden catch back on to the break — but was also sprinting for the win!
The last time up Meadowview was everything you don’t want out of bike ride . . . and the gentlemen up front were still settling scores. DeLeapYear gave it everything he had (as if he has been storing up energy over the last four years), Andrews led them out. Hadfield and MacGregor contested for the line. Hadfield came out with the win.
By the time I rolled across the line, the remnants of the break looked exactly like riders who earned every inch of that race. Wheeler was fighting legs cramps that would steal the life of a younger man.
We rode back to town easy and free.
+ Rob Campbell! Where does he come from and how does he do it? Great ride last night, Rob!
+ I cannot overstate how many times Brayden was off the front last night.
+ Very cool to see B group riders stick around to see A group finish.
+ Text from Elcombe last night: “Hills are bogus”