Nationals Race Diary
A perfect night in Ballarat made for great racing, the crowds are always sensational and it makes the atmosphere electric racing through the main street. I was on my own this year being the only Australian riding for the British Team JLT Condor. Earlier in the week I competed in one of my favorite events - the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. It was an intense three days and I raced well, with Caleb and I the only two top sprinters to finish all three races and be competitive at the pointy end in every one. My support crew was my family, brother Jarryd who works for Canyon Australia/NZ as my trusty mechanic and pit crew, on hand to help with any mechanical issues and look after my spare bike. The rest of my family was on the sidelines for support as well and I’m lucky to have them all. It’s the first year I am racing without team support and I feel almost naked without one. The positives are good though, I have no team meetings or schedules to follow, I can be independent and tackle my own preparation the way I know works best for me and I can relax more with low pressure environment. I know teammates would have been nice, but the race can be won without them as shown in previous years. The 44km Criterium race is always tough on Sturt Street, Ballarat. The course has a gradual uphill rise applying pressure on the pedals each lap. The race was fast with many attacks, including plenty from ISO WHEY/Swiss Wellness and from my ex-teammates in Nathan Earle, Travis Meyer and Sam Spokes. Although attentive, I kept quiet in the bunch to save what I had left on the night for the finish. The lead-out from ISO WHEY/Swiss Wellness was strong and the numbers they had (14) made significant impact coming into the finish. I made a move late on the back straight to give myself a chance on the run home, we all went through cleanly but it was tight, side-by-side. I wasn’t ideally positioned coming out but I did enough to come home in a close 3rd place, behind Caleb Ewan who took the win ahead of Scott Sunderland second, all of us finishing relatively close together on the line. I couldn’t fault my preparation. I warmed up on the Ergo, the same warm up for all of my time-trial and criterium races, my nutrition and fluid was good and my composure and focus in-race was spot on, keeping nice and relaxed. Coming into the National Criterium Championships I obviously wasn’t super fresh, but neither was Caleb. My sprint and power was reasonable, over 1,000w for the final 30seconds of the race but it wasn’t my best and I can sprint better than that. I may have been racing solo, but I made the most of the situation and did my best on the night to come away with a medal that I am proud of. It was another race that only adds to my portfolio of experience as a racer. I never loose, I learn. I’m a better rider than I was 12months ago and I’m aiming to show that in 2017.