Race Day Recap: Balmoral Metropolitan Championships 2019

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Photo Credit: Bear Liange, Veloshotz

Hello my friends!

I’m back with another race day recap! The Balmoral Metropolitan Championships was on last weekend, and it was my first time competing in it. Last year, I had entered with every intention of showing up to the start line(s), but as we all know last year was not the year for me. Moving on…

Balmoral Cycling Club, one of the most active racing clubs in Brisbane (and also chief of the hallowed Muzz – read about that here) hold a 2 day series every year called The Metropolitan Championships. This year the series took the form of a criterium on one day (held at hallowed Muzz) and a road race on a well known loop out at Kalbar the next day.

Metros marked my second and third Cycling Queensland races for the year, since I was only able to compete in Round 1 of the Sizzling Summer crit series in January/February. In the lead up to Metros, I had been able to perform 4 weeks of consistent training, thanks to Tim’s infinite wisdom, so I was pretty excited to see how I was going to go in both the crit and the road race.

Stage One: The Crit

Photo credit: Bear Liange, Veloshotz

The crit for Women’s C grade was 25 minutes + 2 laps which is actually a bit shorter than the regular C Grade women’s crits which are normally 30/35 minutes + 2 laps. This had left me less than hopeful for a result in the crit since 25 minutes is an easy time frame for sprinters to last the mile with very little ability for any attacks to stick (not that 30/35 minutes is any better in terms of these timings but you know when you’re scraping the barrel every minute counts hehe).

Photo Credit: Bear Liange, Veloshotz

The crit was relatively uneventful, with my faux pas coming in the second last lap. I lost my position and therefore was in a very bad spot for the sprint, which I tried for nonetheless. I was close to managing a sneaky fourth but alas found myself on the grass to try and avoid an erratic sprinter and came in at 6th or or something similar. Battling for position for a sprint is something I really struggle with – I just don’t have the balls of steel required. I’ll get there though, I’m sure.

Stage Two: The Road Race

The day of the road race started earlier for me a whole hour earlier than anticipated. I had a very drunken and very stinking Tim roll into bed at 3am – exactly one hour before my alarm was due to go off to start the drive out to the race.

We stopped at Maccas on the way there.

The road race is a particularly hilly and lumpy course that forms a loop and the distance you were racing dictated the number of loops of the course you performed. C Grade women was 1 loop only, or 31.5km.

It’s a hard course – from the get go you’ve got 3 lumps to get over before encountering a particularly long, steep ramp. It was on this long steep ramp that I missed the attack that occurred. I chased hard to try and catch, but ended up spending 10kms by myself in no-mans land before the main group finally caught me.

As much as it sucked being alone for 10kms of the race, I also really enjoyed sitting in that threshold zone with a decent rhythm just ticking along. I lost the rhythm once the group caught me, but there wasn’t another chance available of me getting away and staying away.

Leading into the sprint we had a car in front of us that wasn’t sure what it wanted to do and so by the time it got out of the way, I had panicked and thought I needed to start the sprint. So I started it from a bit too far back considering there was a headwind, and it was a slight uphill into the finish. About 15m from the line I was gassed, and only managed to cross the line to achieve 4th place. I was extraordinarily gutted with myself. At the time, I didn’t realise Cycling Queensland road race gave points down to 6th place so I thought I had missed out on points all because I couldn’t hold an extra 15m to get third place.

As it turns out, however, the girl who got 3rd place was disqualified for crossing the middle road line too many times in the race and I got to stand on the podium. Not exactly a glorious reason to be on the podium, but I’ll take it anyway haha.

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The Metros Road Race wasn’t just the final stage of the Metros Series, but it was also Round 1 of the inaugural Queensland Classic Road Series, which is an aggregation of all the classic road races across Queensland brought together under one series. I’m currently sitting in third place on 12 points for GC. The next round is Tyalgum Cup, which is on 7 June. I raced that last year, and placed fourth – let’s hope I can do better this year!

The Wrap Up

Metros highlighted some significant gaps in my fitness. Particularly in my ability to respond to attacks, and also my gearing during crucial parts of a race. I’ve been working on both of these things over the past couple of weeks, and will continue to do so in the lead up to Tyalgum so I do not get caught out again.

But it was still a great weekend of some very fun racing!

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