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Capital Punished

Another Capital Punishment has been raced for 2012 and Aroc Sport have again demonstrated that a potential logistical nightmare can be toppled in the quest for an amazing event which caters for all abilities.

The postponement of the event from March’s hell weather was well worth it, with perfect conditions and more morning light making it all better. It was a crisp morning, but only the first few moments on the start line were cold…

Capital Punishment

…then the race hotted up. From the outset, it was clear the race was going to be tactical. Without a warm up, I had to hold back on the early sections to make sure the lactic didn’t build up too much. The problem with this was getting stuck behind slower riders who tend to leave gaps in single tracks. But there was just enough technical stuff in Kowen to close those gaps without using energy. Those early trails split up the groups enough to form the main lead group of about 10 of us. Once that was set we basically tapped the fire trails and made sure the pressure was on in the rougher or tighter sections, to ensure riders who were dropped didn’t get back on.

With a lack of power and endurance I knew I had to keep efficient and work less than others in the technical sections. So I focussed on that and ensuring I ate and drank enough (unlike last week) and saved energy for Stromlo, where I knew there’d be a showdown. Coming out of Majura I started cramping, showing my lack of fatigue resistance and form, but I managed to get to the top of the KOM behind Lewis, Hatton and Jackson without losing too much time. But to be honest I was lucky we got a break after that.

After some Endura drink and bars, plus salt tablets, I was fine again and ready to hit the second stage of the race from Black Mountain to Stromlo. Not many riders were willing to work, until we caught our mate Flemmo, who drove it for a few Ks leasing into the base of Stromlo. That helped ensure nobody would make time on us while also getting a breather.

On the single track climbs up Stromlo, as there was last year, we hit traffic from the 50km race field. This was a huge problem. Last year Hatton and I lead the race and lost a lot of time on this part of the course. This year was worse, due to timing and the fact the race was closer and there was more pressure on, racing for mere seconds. My plan was to hang back a bit and let other riders ‘clear’ the traffic, then pop around them near the top and hopefully gaining time on the downhill into the finish. This was all going to plan until one of our group cut me off on the trail, taking me out and putting me back where I was more exposed to 50km riders. As it turned out I was then taken out by a 50km rider who ended up on top of me and his bars jammed into my front wheel. This took a while to get out and Hatton had to wait behind me, both of us losing precious time. We killed ourselves to get back on, but by the time we made the 45 seconds or so back up it was the top of the hill with no overtaking opportunities left. That was the race.

In the end Blair lead it out down the hill, followed by Lewis and I. We made time on the others, who probably also got blocked by traffic. By the time we hit the bottom I was cramping again (more from not pedalling than from pedalling), so I couldn’t really sprint to the line. But rolling in with some time advantage (behind Lewis and ahead of Blair) got me enough for 2nd place. Not as good as last year, but solid nonetheless.

Capital Punishment

Rehydrating and discussing the challenges of the race.

Capital Punishment

The podium, minus Peter Hatton, who had to catch a plane back to Perth.

Read more on cyclenation.com.au

*Side note: Second place by 3 seconds isn’t too bad I guess, but the reality is that you think back to what could’ve, should’ve been. Seinfeld wraps it up nicely:

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