Adelaide, Australia, January 17, 2006
Willo, the sprinter?
I stepped on a plane the other day to head to head to the Jayco Bay Series and realised the season has already begun. The down time, the offy, the pre-season and all the prep for the 2006 was complete or on its way there. Time had once again flown by. Since I last wrote in mid-November, way too long ago, Chrissy is over, the New Year has begun and I am another year older.
A lot of weekends stand out over the Christmas period, but one in particular was the trip to Shepparton in Victoria to go to Brett Lancaster and Ally Collins' wedding. The country folk really know how to throw on a shindig.
Thanks to the Tour of Queensland (mind you, I love that race) not being on, my season finished earlier and therefore started earlier. I got the chance to wind into training a little easier this year, rather than jumping straight into it, mixing km's with the gym and strength training. I started training two weeks earlier, I got a full eight weeks of gym in and got a quality two weeks of miles in over Christmas and therefore had a bit better form at the Bay Series. I had one race at Heffron Park late December to see how bad the form was, but was shocked to see it wasn't too bad. I even dusted the four years worth of cobwebs off my track bike and threw the leg over for a race.
After racing the Bay Series eight times, struggling to finish and never scoring a point (which required finishing in the top ten), I thought this year I might finish a few. Never in my mind did I think I'd be launching off the front riding like a man possessed. After the first crit I laughed, after the second I denied it, and after the third I just had to agree; I actually was travelling well in January, which I has never happened.
In Williamstown I was eighth, and a shocked result. I was attacking the whole race but just missed the winning move. Also, after nearly dropping it on the second last corner, I cornered the last corner like a hubbard, asking myself the question: "What's goin' on?", but realised after the finish I punctured my back wheel on the last lap, so that result could've been slightly better.
At Portarlington I went in motivated and confident I could win. I made the winning break and with a bit more hesitation from the boys when I attacked on the second last lap, who knows it could've paid off, but I was fifth.
In the Aussie Champs in Geelong it was a great win for Richard England while the leftovers in the bunch sprinted for fourth. I was eighth again and was asking questions like, "Why was I coming around the last corner of a crit on Robbie's wheel, what's goin on?" I don't usually get involved in bunch kicks and am actually already rolling in at the back after doing a lead out, this was totally new to me. To make things funnier I had now gained the lead in the sprint classification. Willo, the sprinter??
Day four and I had mates calling me up telling me there was a printing error on Cyclingnews.com, something about Willo in the sprint jersey, haha. The crit was around the Botanic Gardens in Geelong and is quite a hard circuit. Robbie got away with Will Walker and the bunch raced for third over the final few laps. I was starting to get marked a bit but was also happy to see the sprint points get taken by the others so I could keep the jersey. Once again, there was about 20 finishers to show how hard this year's crits were. I was 11th, outta the points.
The last day was around Melbourne Docklands and I was geed to keep the green jersey, but after 10mins I was on the ground after getting my rear derailleur caught in my back wheel, putting me in the barriers while my bike was in tatters. I couldn't get back out there. I had to watch the race go on, thinking I was going to lose the jersey. Luckily a break got away and took the last two sprints after Will Walker got second in the first sprint to move within one point.
So I came out of the Bay crits with the green jersey, three top tens, tenth overall, a broken bike, some skin off - but more importantly, confidence in the form for the nationals. I arrived in Adelaide today and am staying with my old sparring partner Russ for the next week.