Two different perspectives on the same race. Some people are glass half full people and some are the glass half empty. What’s important is that you have fun…or have fun reminiscing?
When A Plan Falls Apart by Glenn Marriott
Without feeling cocky, it’s fair to say Warragul Cycling Club “B grade” team went into Sunday’s Southern Masters road race full of confidence. And why wouldn’t they, it was on local roads, they had plenty of riders and a well-balanced outfit consisting of breakaway specialists and sit on sprinters. How could it possibly go wrong you ask? Remarkably easily it would seem. Let me count the ways:
- Teamwork: In cycling, there are some pretty basic rules that should be adhered to. One of these is when you have a teammate up the road, you do not chase. Monk and his merry men seem to have conveniently forgotten this one, or else didn’t trust that their man Marriott had the minerals to pull off the win from 5 man break away. Needless to say that despite actively creating the break and holding it for more than half of the final lap, they needlessly chased it down.
- Sprinting: Some blokes just can’t sprint, it’s a fact. If you are one of these people you will not win if the race finishes in a large bunch sprint. If you are to have any chance of victory you must attack, either solo to victory or take a reduced bunch with you to improve your chances.
- Doing Turns: Don’t tow everyone around and then blow up if you were not helping your teammates. Baxter towed the whole bunch along with such a long and strong turn with 10km to go that he got himself dropped. Someone in the bunch asked, “Is he new to racing?” Fair question based on these tactics, but sadly not for this 10+ year veteran.
- Communication: When riding in a team it’s good to communicate, particularly coming into a sprint. With a designated sprinter in your team, you should do your bit in order to maximise the chances of your man getting the win. Ie. If you have fresh legs, try contributing to the lead out.
- Don’t lead out anyone but your team mates: When acting as lead-out rider for a sprint, I can concede that the final few hundred metres before the line can be quite frantic and there are a lot of things you need to consider, wind direction, gear selection and when to launch etc. However, if your designated sprinter is not on your wheel and you’ve got your main rival there instead, people and in particular teammates, may start to ask questions about not only about your sanity but your allegiances!
Needless to say, WCC finished with what some described as a commendable 2nd,3rd and 4th place. To others of more sound mind, this is a poor result especially given the numerical advantage we afforded over our competitors that was needlessly and so thoughtlessly squandered.
When a plan nearly comes together by Rob Monk
Warragul Cycling Club “B grade” team went into Sunday’s Southern Masters road race quietly confident. And why wouldn’t they, it was on local roads, they had plenty of riders and a well-balanced outfit consisting of breakaway specialists and sit on sprinters. In the end, it was only the top step of the podium that eluded them.
Everyone in the team had a role to play. Marriott, Tubnor and Baxter were designated to get in the breaks while Tambassis, Monk and Walker would measure their efforts to be fresh for the sprint if the breakaway men were not successful.
Road Captain, Monk instructed the lads to do nothing on lap one except cover moves and then try and shake things up on lap two. A third of the field was dropped on the first time over the Timms Rd rollers.
Marriott began to animate the race. He had the strength to get into a 5 man break but the other teams didn’t let them too far up the road. Marriott is a known “cramper” and rarely rides more than 46km at a time. This race was 80k and Marriott’s condition is such that the team could not rely on him alone. Monk would have let that break go if either Tubnor or Baxter were with Marriott but he wanted more than one man on the podium. The aim was a Warragul 1,2 3. He gave Baxter the OK to try and get across to the break, then sent Tubnor as well but eventually, the whole field came together.
A sprint looked inevitable at this point and Baxter did a Jens Voight like performance. He sat on the front and drove the pace meaning no other teams could possibly get away. A selfless act for the team.
Tubs was given the role of marking Aitken which he did perfectly. Aitken was a late breakaway threat and had to be watched. Tubs played his part as instructed.
Marriott launched a late death or glory attack which did little to soften the sprint trains of the other teams. He really needs to train a little more.
At this point, the Warragul sprint train took over. Monk was prepared to lead out Tambassis and Walker. Tex and GT had not felt the wind for the entire race and were ready to pounce. All was looking good. In the mess that is a bunch sprint in B grade Tambassis lost Monk’s wheel and this interrupted the lead-out. Monk hesitated momentarily looking for the little Greek man and that was all it took. Number 111 who had done even less than Tex and GT all race, launched from 400 meters out, catching the Warragul boys napping. GT was quick to respond, as was Tex and they managed to sprint well for 2nd and 3rd. Monk was fourth.
Leaving it to the sprint is always risky but the team should be pleased with 2nd 3rd and 4th on the day.
Well done all. The team rode well.
Next week team Warragul will try again at Cora Lynn.