It was my baptism of fire this morning when I headed down to do my first ever Crit race with the St. Kilda Cycling Club. I have done a number of crits with the Carneige Caulfield Club but only with the E grade kids. So this morning I must say I was a bit nervous as I rode through the city to South Melbourne and the crits.
Now at the SKCC Crits they do have what they call a mixed E grade race which is supposed to be a first time hit out racing crits. But from what I had been told, most of the riders were men and as I rolled up to the tent they all looked like very fast men! As I handed my membership across the desk I wasn’t really sure what to say, but luckily I didn’t have to say anything as the woman at the desk put me into the C Grade Women’s race. Both the E and C grades were racing at roughly the same time, but I felt much better that I would be starting out with the women, it didn’t seem as intimidating.
Stuart Tripp (one of my Para Cycling team mates) was the commissaire for the race, which was good, as he was able to talk me through a couple of the more challenging corners of the course. He also had one of the marshalls ride with me through the entire race which was fantastic.
The women’s C grade started out first for our 35 minutes plus 3 laps and we were advised before we headed off that if we were lapped then that was our race done. So my goal was to NOT be lapped! I was able to stay with the women for about the first 5-6 laps, which I was really happy about. But then they just took off. Stuart had been right about the 2nd and last corners, I just kept losing touch with the women on those corners (trikes really don’t like corners!) and would have to sprint to catch up. So when I was dropped I was okay with that, I then used the race as a Time Trial, with the marshall in front of me! I was able to catch one of the young girls and told her to jump behind me. So for the last 15 minutes she sat behind me and I was behind the marshall.
Coming in to the home straight the marshall peeled off and it was a sprint for the finish. Needless to say the young rider got the better of me as she had been sitting on the back and had a bit more energy for that last couple hundred of metres. I must say though, my last lap was my fastest with an average of just over 35 km/hr, not bad for a trike and those corners!
I was very happy with my race and even though I was right at the back I hadn’t been lapped by the women. That was the best outcome! I also realised that there was no need to be so nervous about taking part in the crit.
So I think I am hooked! I will certainly be back for more racing, it sure shows you what you have to work on and what may be working in training. Thanks SKCC for welcoming me to the fold, it was an awesome morning!