So, going into this years Jayco Bay Crtierium Series i had little expectation and little pressure coming from the coaches to perform. It was intended as 5 days where i could ride myself back into form and bring my km's up leading into my training period for the National Track Titles in Feb. Little did I know that i would walk away with the biggest win of my career.
On Friday, I rolled out of the hotel at 9am with a big bunch. We covered 80km with a coffee stop in the middle in the beach side town of Torque. I spent 20km of this ride having a chat with Robbie McEwen, had to introduce myself and give him a scence of who i was and what i was about.
Some 6hrs later i rode a perfectly constructed race and found myself in the race winning break with Bayden Cooke and Greg Henderson. So far the race had gone to plan, but i never really wanted to get away with 2 of the fastest men in the world of cycling. So.....what to do.....how can i beat these guys? Thats it.....i got it......the tyres.....that why im using these crummy high pressure wheels......the best crit tyres Ive ever known. I noticed during the course of this break away that i was putting a good 2 meters into each of my companions out of each corner, thanks to the extra grip. So the plan became to get to the last corner with a small advantage and leave it with 5 or so meters and see if they could mow me down......well......i did and they couldnt. I could not believe it, but i had just won my first National Road Title, not only that, i had out smarted and out sprinted one of the quickest men in the world.
The moment i realised i had it!!!!!
Up above you can see me being presented in the national championship jersey, which i will be able to wear for the next 12 months in every criterium i do. Not a bad one to win for a guy who rides probably more crits than most if not all Australians. Its going to be a fun year.
I got taken down a notch or two, when i was bought down in a crash in Sunday's final crit. I recovered to finish in 4th behind Mark Renshaw.
So after entering with small expectations, i have earnt the right to call myself a National Criterium Champion for the 2006 season and i ended up finishing my 2nd Bay Criterium series in 5th place behind some pretty big names.
1. Hilton Clarke Jnr.
2. Greg Henderson
3. Mark Renshaw
4. Robbie McEwen
5. Richard England
Not bad. Leaving for Adelaide on Thursday this week to compete in the National Road Title. Again im entering with little expectation, more there as a helper, but who knows at the moment, id prefer to save my next victory for the National Track Races, dont want to burn all the good luck and form.