Brisbane Circuit Race – Ronde Van Brisbeen
March 30, 2008
Category: Women Elite 4 (all ages)
This was my first road/circuit race, my previous racing experience limited to time trials and hill climbs. I did a training ride the previous Sunday with my cycling coaches Dmitriy and Vladimir that included 10 hard laps around this circuit and I had a very good result. With some trepidation, I decided to do this circuit race. I wasn’t sure that I was quite ready, but thought that, at a minimum, I would gain some experience.
The race course was a 1.7 mile circuit with a total elevation gain of 100 feet per lap and some interesting corners. While a circuit race has some characteristics of a criterium, it is less technical and for a specific time duration. This was a 50 minute circuit race. The race directors time the peleton for the first couple laps and then determine the total number of laps. There was a screen over the start/finish line to inform the racers the number of laps remaining.
The circuit course
The Women Cat 4 went off at 9 AM after the Cat 5 men. The morning was chilly, but overall pleasant. Hermes (my bike slave) and I arrived early and I got a pretty good warm up on the trainer. I had one Webcor team mate who is an experienced racer. I had heard that the W Cat 4s often start off rather slow and chatty until a group decides to attack. Not so in this race. The course starts with a curving downhill with a left turn to a straightaway, sharp right curving to a long moderate uphill climb. It was a fast pace from the get go.
Lap 1 on the downhill approaching the left turn
I kept with the pack on the first lap, but was initially too conservative on the downhills and turns. Chalk it up to lack of experience and confidence. The lead group dropped me at the start of the second lap on the downhill. There was a splinter group of three women close behind me, and I could see my Webcor team mate and another racer not far ahead of me.
Velodiva after the sharp right turn with the hay bales set up in case of a “bad” turn. We were coming down the straightaway at 35 mph into this turn.
With each successive lap, I gained some ground on the climb, as well as becoming more proficient on the turns.
Velodiva bridging the gap, taking the turns at full speed - my team mate is in the center of the picture and I am in pursuit.
With three laps to go, I caught up with my team mate and the other racer. It was mentally and physically easier having my team mate there and I appreciated her words of encouragement! She pushed me hard at the end to pass the woman ahead of us and we had a great sprint to the finish, but I had nothing left. My team mate crossed the finish line a couple second ahead of me (22nd place).
One more lap to go!! (Velodiva on the right with my team mate on the left)
It was never clear how many racers were behind us and it was only after we finished that I realized there were groups behind us, some that had another lap to go. It was great experience for my first race and I am glad I did it. My coach was there on the side lines timing my laps and that of the main pack shouting “good job”.
Velodiva near the beginning of the climb on lap 3 (leading this splinter group) with coach Dmitrij standing on the side line encouraging me!
He informed me that for laps 3 through 5, I was time trialing 5 seconds faster per lap than the lead group. It was great having the support of Hermes and friends cheering me on. That meant a lot, especially when I looked up and saw 5 more laps to go – that was a critical point for me. After that, I seemed to settle in and it all came together for a good outcome. First and foremost it was safe race and all the women did a great job, no crashes! I did a 30 mile ride with Hermes afterwards on the tandem – this was the first time I have to admit he did most of the work! Thanks for reading.