Elimbah Road Race Handicap 3/6/23
Hosted by Hamilton Wheelers Cycle Club
Distance: 56kms - two laps of a flat & undulating course
Bike of choice: Giant Propel, high speed and plenty of flat sections to get aero gains.
Tyre set up: Cadex Race Tyres 25mm, 80psi rear, 73psi front
Race team riders: Mark Westerman
Being just a 30 minute drive to the south end of the Glass House Mountains, this race was a must do.
It was a handicap race, which means you are racing against everyone who has entered. The idea is the slower riders leave first, with riders of a similar level to work together to stay at the front of the race. Each group behind, is a bit quicker, all trying to get to the front of the race for a chance to win. There were about 10 groups leaving at separate times, with each group containing 5-8 people.
I entered the 2nd last group to leave, which had 5 people in total. This group left the start line 26 minutes after the first riders left. The group in front of us had a 4 minute head start, and we had a 4 minute head start on the fasted group.
With only 5 riders to work with, the idea is to do short time-trial turns. Each rider does 30-60 second turns at the front, peels off to get a draft and recovers for when they do a turn again in a couple minutes. This keeps the speed high.
The group worked well, with one of the riders directing the group when to ease up to make sure we didn’t lose anyone. If we dropped riders we would potentially lose speed.
The roads were rough with a few potholes here and there. When we got close to the turn around point on the first lap, we saw groups going the other way. We still had a lot of work to go to catch them and a few groups at the front had already caught each other. Larger groups means they will ride faster and harder making it more difficult for us to catch. We kept working doing time-trial turns into the second lap. At the start of the 2nd lap a few riders in our group started to feel the pain (myself included), one so much we dropped him aa he couldn’t keep up. Keeping it steady on the climbs we stayed as a group of 4.
On the final turnaround point, we could see the guys behind slowly gaining on us. There were only 2 of them. At this stage we still hadn’t caught anyone and we only had 13km to go. This meant we needed to keep working hard for a chance to win.
At the 5km mark, 2 guys from the group behind caught us. A head crosswind in the last few kms, gave a good opportunity for the bigger stronger riders to keep pushing hard.
I should note, this race pays out 1st, 2nd, 3rd and fastest time. Now we had the fastest riders catch us and we hadn’t seen the front of the race, my group was racing for nothing as we knew we weren’t going to catch anyone. So this is where the fastest rider lights it up, as they are still in for a chance of winning some money and bragging rights for fastest time of the day.
The last km saw it get a bit spicy and a couple of guys broke away from me and a couple of other riders. I rolled in just after them, about 10 seconds or so.
The race had already had its winners by this stage, as the 60 odd other riders had already finished. Teun, a friend and a local sunny coast rider from Done and Dusted managed to snag 2nd. Which was great to see, well done to him.
I was truly done by the end. 56kms covered over 1hr 23minutes. An average speed of 40.5kms/h, an average heart rate of 172bpm and an average power of 341watts.
The TCR went well, I could have dropped the tyre pressure 10psi each tyre to help with the rough roads but still ticked along nicely and handed the course well especially on the climbs.