Noosa Grand Prix
Images courtesy of pelotonImages.com except where noted
On Saturday evening was the annual Noosa Grand Prix. The massive 7500 competitor triathlon was the main drawcard for Noosa this weekend, but the criterium featuring some of the best Aussie PROs was definitely a highlight. A top field of riders always shows up to this event and the crowds are huge. It’s basically the last race of the season for all these guys so they always race hard and have a good time throughout the weekend.
This was my 4th time racing this event and I have to say it’s one of my favorite events on the calendar. We usually arrive in Noosa a few days ahead of time, join in with the local bunch rides, sit on the beach and take in the atmosphere. If you’ve never been to Noosa during this time of the year I’d highly recommend it – even if you’re not competing. The riding, the weather, the beaches, the ambiance…it’s absolutely amazing. I don’t know how many more races of this level I have in me, but I’ll definitely put this weekend in my calendar for many more years to come regardless if I’m racing or not. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a crack at the triathlon one day for a challenge! There are lots of great events in the Noosa Multisport Festival that even the most serious of bike racers have some fun with. Even Jez Hunt and Matty Wilson took on each other with a heated competition in the Eyeline 1000m Ocean Swim. You would never have guessed a Pom beating an Aussie in a race through the water, but Jez convincingly too the win with a time of 16:37 (versus Wilson’s 22:12).
The Noosa Grand Prix criterium is an absolute killer. It’s only 45min long and rolls around a 1km hot dog circuit. It’s great for the thousands of spectators to watch as the field starts to get obliterated within the first 5 minutes. I wish I could give you some helpful tips on how to race hot dog circuits, but I’m the last person to be giving advice on this one based on my track record. I’ve written about it here but trust me, it’s much easier said than done.
Only about 25 of the 70 riders end up finishing the race which is typical for circuits like this. No matter how good the field is, its simply the nature of hot dog circuits. Position means everything and sitting in the top 20 is where the sweet spot is. The concertina effect is worse the further back you sit. If you’re outside that top 20 you actually need to be hitting faster speeds than the riders at the front. There’s no such thing as sitting in and there’s nowhere to recover if you’ve gone into the red.
One of the biggest challenges in a race like this is the fact that there are guys who just raced the TdF, World Champions and Commonwealth games medalists and there’s a bit of a mental barrier with constantly overtaking them and stealing the wheel they’re sitting on. I make no mistake, I’m just packfill in races like this and it’s a challenge just hanging on. It’s great fun though and I’m always honored to have the opportunity to line up against PROs of this calibre and have a crack.
Michael Matthews – U23 World Champion and really great bloke.
CJ covering Bobridge who was constantly on the attack.
Koen de Kort bridging up to Hayman and Bobridge | Image courtesy of Steven Heseltine
Allan Davis still had some good form left after just coming in 3rd in the World Championships and won Gold at the Commonwealth games. He broke away from Bobridge and Hayman in the last lap and took the solo win. He sure knows how to throw an exciting victory salute too!
Rob Eva (middle) heads up the SRAM push in Australia and has generously helped us out with all our groupsets and Zipp wheels. We’ll be on SRAM again with our new bikes this season as well as we’re switching over to the new Zipp 404 carbon clinchers. Can’t wait to give them a try…
A race like this puts a huge demand one particular aspect of fitness – power. Power is basically defined as ‘maximum force for a short period of time’. When strength and speed are combined at a high lever, power is produced. The race consists of a maximum sprint out of every corner, accelerates to 55km/hr, then you slow down, take the corner, and do it all again. You can see from the summary below, my heartrate never had a chance to recover below 170bpm, but my power was either in the Supra Max zone, or in the endurance/recovery zone. The race doesn’t look too difficult if you’re to look at average wattage, however when you push over 1000 watts coming out of every single corner without much time to recover it’s absolutely excruciating (especially for the bigger guys). This is an excellent example of the difference of average vs normalized power.
See data on Strava here.
The majority of the images in this post were provided by Beau Chenery. He has a vision of creating a space where cycling photographers can go to upload their images from the events they attend. Just like a lot of people enjoy taking photos of aircraft and uploading to plane-spotting websites like airliners.net and jetphotos.net, Beau is nearly ready to release his new website www.pelotonimages.com. I think it’s a fantastic idea and look forward to seeing all his hard work come to fruition when his website gets up and running in the very near future.