Turning the SA Champs into a long weekend of road racing was the obvious thing to do, in fact the organisers had counted on the country’s finest staying the extra day and taking part. Sure enough Cat1 was fully populated.
The weather wasn’t that good in fact it sucked, thunder and lightning conditions overnight and drizzle in the morning.
The start line was dry, and we got off OK to a fast paced roll along the beach front boulevard and taking a left turn that would take us out towards greenbushes. It was a mild uphill drag that was taken at 45km/h plus, I glanced in disbelief sometimes at the speedo tickling 50kmph. We sat in and held onto wheels until the top where we moved slightly further up to negate getting dropped as the riders sprinted over the 1st hotspot. The weather was deteriorating and a think mist was covering the pack, our movement through had now popped us out the front. I pumped the pedals and rode the wave downhill stretching my legs, two team mates of mine on the front with me and we rotated the work a few times and then pulled off as everyone was still present behind us.
The mist was bad and I was forced to remove my shades as we turned right up to Maitlands and hit the 1st climb, the pace was still raging and everyone stood. I migrated south through he field and Edward lent me a hand – a few times to keep me in touch – After a stormer of a ride the day before I was amazed he had legs left – once satisfied I was in touch he moved up and gave Rob a shunt too. We went over just in touch, but the wet weather, which had now turned to drizzle, slowed our progress in the tight turns. we fell back too much and had to chase. Edward and I taking turns to get back. After a few kilometers we rejoined and I could take a sip to drink.
Disaster. The bunch spooked and braked and the concertina effect saw me tangle my front wheel into a rider in fronts rear skewer, I was stuck. As the spoke popped I went down, on the same damn elbow as Killarney two weeks before. I quickly got up and looked for a replacement wheel from the convoy, but no-one was forthcoming and we didnt have our own backup.
I re-fitted the wheel and got going, adjusting my brakes but without enough slack, they touched on both sides on every rotation. Very annoying and not so good for the rolling resistance! I paced back the small group and we took turns, we caught more guys and were cruising along in the rain. We caught Edward, alone and looking terrible, he was spent and hungry, I fed him gels. I left the bunch and rode steady with Ed over the climb and easy until his legs came back a bit. I pulled Ed a while and eventually the Cat2 breakaway caught us and we jumped in behind them, we soon caught our previous bunch of stragglers.
We got paced home nicely and I enjoyed the rest of the race, I shouted encouragement to the riders on the front to will them home. I dropped off in the last km and let them have their day. Disappointing day for me in the end but our team had still had great results. Rob was the 2nd SV home and Carl had gotten in the to break away and collected 4th overall.
We done to all the Team RSAWEB boys, an awesome performance all round!