A little bit of a late write up for the Mudgee race last weekend, however better than never I guess. So the Mudgee Open was my return to Cycling NSW Open calendar following my broken wrist. Having never raced Mudgee before I wasn’t too sure what to expect apart from knowing it would be very cold.
Nikos and I drove up on the Saturday morning, it was a fairly easy 3 hour journey up to Mudgee via Bells Line and we got there at around 10am and checked into the hotel. To say it was cold in Mudgee would be an understatement, with the wind coming in it felt less than 5c, even though my car was telling me it was 15c.
Bearing in mind this is my first year with a Cycling NSW licence, I was starting in Group 7 for the Handicap and Div 3 for the Graded Scratch race on Sunday. Nikos and I headed down to AREC and got registered and caught up with the rest of the NSCC boys. Out at the AREC, the wind was blowing pretty hard and the course meant we would be riding into Crosswinds and Headwinds all day long. I rolled out with Group 7 and almost immediately the group was pushing 40kmh and within 5 mins people were not rolling through to do turns on the front and half the group got dropped before the first climb, I tried to stay on and pull turns for as long as possible, however the ridiculous pace, the testing conditions and the lack of people pulling turns meant our group was decimated within 5 mins of the start. I seriously think Cycling NSW had stuffed up the grading, there were some seriously strong guys in our group which should have been in further up the grade imo.
I managed to ride with Group 5 for a while and with what had become Scratch/Block and Groups 3 and 4. I got to just shy of Gulgong, around about the 60km mark and threw in the towel and hoped Sam’s car, as he came round to check on the NSCC riders.
Saturday night was good fun, we grabbed some wine, cheese and then went out for the dinner which was great. Had a few beers and a decent feed from one of the pubs in town.
Sunday weather wise was even worse than Saturday, the winds had got stronger and it was definitely colder, on Saturday I hadn’t worn a jacket. On Sunday I had 4 layers on, including a jacket, 2 pairs of socks and was still freezing cold. I rolled out in Div 3, the first few K’s were fairly cruisy, however soon the pace lifted and people started dropping wheels. I got dropped, however got back on at the top of the first climb, however I couldn’t hold on in the decent as I was isolated in the wind.
Eventually I got into a small 3 man group including Nikos and we rode turns to complete one lap of the 40km loop, again with the race gone, we rolled around to Petersons Winery and did some wine tasting before heading back to the hotel to head home to Sydney.
To sum up the weekend, it was great to get to an away race with the boys, although it was a tough weekend on the bike I was pleased I hung in as long as I did on the Saturday as a lot of guys in other grades were riding home within the 10km mark on both Saturday and Sunday. It was a tough re-introduction to racing for me, however it will make me stronger for sure. Coota is coming up in about 6 weeks, so pending me moving house I am hoping to get down there.