With the past few weeks here in Australia a flurry of cycling activity, including the Nationals and the Tour Down Under I’d forgot to get this blog up and posted. This blogs is about the race series that kicks off a new year for a lot of cyclist.
The 1st of January for a large proportion of the world’s population is usually a day for recovering from a big night of celebrations. But if you’re a keen competitive cyclist in Australia and particularly the Victorian area, it’s a day where you’ve probably had an early night the day before, missed the big countdown and woke up hopefully feeling fresh legged.
The Mitcheton Bay Cycling Classic, what was once called the Jayco bay Crits is three days of fast and aggressive racing. They take place in and around where the 2010 world championships were held, Geelong, Williamston and Portarlington.
These critiriums have been referred to by some professionals as the hardest crits in the world. With two support races, an elite women’s race and an Elite/Pro race held, the action and spectacle is a great way to start the New Year.
I threw my hat in the ring and decided to enter the 2013 individual support race. Back in 2004 and 2007 I took part so knew what I was letting myself in for…. A suffer fest.
Not being a sprinter or a crit rider (or any good) I entered just due to the fact that I love the event.
I won’t go in to too much detail of my own performance; for starters it would be pretty short. Kick-in, crash, kick-in.
The atmosphere at the events is electric, locals popping out for a day of racing, picnicking and cheering the riders on. With several top name professionals riding the organizers pull out all the stops to make it a race worth starting the season at. Several of the Orica-GreenEDGE riders from the men’s and women’s teams attended, along with Greg Henderson, Koen de Kout, Jonathan Cantwell, Kristian House, Rochelle Gimore and many more. Phil Liggett gave his usual performance with letting the crowds know how the races panning out.
Each of the three circuits had something different, race one in Geelong was a 750m hot dog course, here you needed to be able to sprint every 25seconds. Acceleration out of the corners was a must, and good cornering skills were put to the test, with several spectacular crashes where banking the bike over a little too much ended in a series of tumbles. The neutral service team at this race had their work cut out.
Race 2 in Portarlington was a larger circuit at 1.3km, with a tough little hill and longer faster straights that made it possible to get a good break away. The downhill in to the “U” turn caught a few people out and I saw a few bikes tangled in the barriers. The two elite races saw breakaways stay clear and take the win.
The last circuit was a race around a 900m block next to the Williams town bay area. Three left hand corners and a mini roundabout with a slight uphill pull coming out of the home straight. This circuit was rapid and resulted in many riders getting dropped in the later stages of the races. Here it was hard to move up the peloton, only able to take a few places per lap, or at least that’s how I found it.
With my camera in hand I caught a bit of action from a few of the races, as they say a picture says a thousand words so I hope these moving pictures say a damn lot.