Autumn Series Finale 2014

During the autumn season in the Tarn (district #31) the FSGT, Federation Sportive et Gymnique du Travail, puts on a cycling road-criterium series.
There are five races in the series each with a race distance of approximately 60km, for my category #5 anyway, with laps between 2 and 10km in length.
Due to my travels and visitors, I had so far only been able to race two out of four.

The final race in the series was in Villaries on the 5th September, again near Toulouse, and I managed to get myself there to ride and Brooke to come along to be bottle-bitch and general support along the side-lines.
At the previous 2 races I attended, I finished in a 1st and a 2nd place, which had moved me up into 3rd overall in the general classification of the series with 25 points, 3 points below the shared 1st & 2nd spots.

Luckily for me the two guys, Gerard & Serge, who beat me in the previous race had not raced before so were starting with fresh scores and a bit of catching up to do.
For me to get the series win I had to finish on the podium today and neither of the guys that had 28 points were allowed to finish in front of me.

I realised during warm-up that both the faster (and older) guys, Gerard & Serge, were there, so I had to make sure I’d keep an eye on them and get into a break with either or both of them.
Then when we were lining up on the start-line, I noticed the winner from the previous race, Gerard, had been put up a grade into category #4, so there was only one guy in my category (that I knew of) who was stronger than me, especially on the climbs.

Lucky for me the climbs were less severe than last weekend, and a couple of laps in I knew it was really only Serge and a couple of others who had the legs to attack the climbs, and after neutralising some early break attempts, I ended up chasing some prime-sprinters to the line and ended up in front, which was a perfect sign for three fast guys, including Serge, to jump across to me and we started a break.
All four of us worked hard to get away from the bunch and a couple of laps later it was clear to me that Serge was still stronger on the climbs than all three others in the break and true to form he managed to loose us on the 2nd final lap climb.
I could not chase him and knew I didn’t have to for the series points, so sat in and worked with the other two to stay away from the bunch.

Of course this meant my side-line support gave me hell, heckling and calling me all sorts of names, and loosing interest a little… just kidding Brooke.

Making sure I didn’t attack too much and didn’t just stay on the front, with some very strategically placed “pretending” that I was completely bugger during the beginning of the last lap, I couldn’t have planned it better, as on the final climb the next fastest guy attacked thinking I was toasted, with the third guy chasing and I sucking hard on their wheels.
On the final run in to the line, it was a fairly flat/down run-in, they started winding it up and I made sure I wasn’t on the front. Wedging myself into second wheel until the very last 200 meters, then winding it up and crossing the finish line in 2nd place behind Serge who was probably already relaxing in the cafe 🙂

Anyway, as only Serge got more points on the day and it didn’t matter who finished behind me, it meant that I had enough points accumulated to get 1st spot in the overall series classification.

It does mean they moved me up a grade for any future races, not that there are anymore road events, I may end up racing some cyclocross.