Hooning around the Gran Prix Circuit

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The Vic Crit Titles – People’s dash

I got the stitches out of my thumb Friday.  After a month of non-existent training due to numerous injuries I was finally ready to RIDE!  There was an event which popped up, which was one of my original bucket list rides.  I rarely get into the city & have always wanted to ride around the Gran Prix circuit.  But have never managed to find the time.

The St Kilda cycling club were hosting the Albert Park Grand Prix Criterium titles.  They were offering non-racers the opportunity for a gold donation to have a hot lap around the circuit before hand which would be fully closed off to cars.  You needed to be there at 6:30 am which for me would mean leaving home at 5:00 am.

So much for sleep.


It was muggy, cold & overcast and not the nicest of conditions to ride in.  With a tailwind into the city I smashed myself on North Road, pretty much beating all of my PB’s along the way.  I may have been enjoying myself so much that I forgot that I was planning of doing a hot lap of Albert Park.

There weren’t too many at the start line and as 7:00 am a group of us took off & I was off solo.  Straight from the outset my legs were feeling dead, but I was able to set a good tempo with a tail wind behind.

The Albert Park Gran Prix Circuit is only a few kilometres south of the CBD and is 5.3 km in distance.  The circuit uses everyday sections of the road that circle Albert Park Lake.  In recent times the Gran Prix has been hosted in Melbourne in 1996 after we stole it from Adelaide.

Michael Schumacher holds the lap record in a Ferrari at 1:24.125 on 7th March 2004.

There was no worry that I would even get close to that on my hot lap.  As I approach corner three I could see a couple of riders in the distance on flat bars.  I keep a steady tempo and slowly reeled them in by corner 5.

I enjoyed a brief respite sitting in their wheel & looks like they were doing rolling turns.  When it was my turn I hit the front on the back straight where there was a slight headwind which made for harder work.  I was happy to get out the front & upped the tempo and was pushing some serious watts into corner 7.  I sat at the front for a k, moved over & waved the elbow for the next guy to go through.  Nothing happened.  I was still on the front, and wondered whether I had been pushing too hard.  They had nothing to move so I kept pushing for another half a k and the legs started to scream at me.

Waving my elbow again & nothing.  Not happy Jan!

My legs protested at my 23 km TT into the city & started screaming.  I dropped a few km/h & things weren’t looking good.  After 500 more metres I had enough & swung really wide & dropped the pace which forced the others to go to the front.  Of course they took off & with dead legs I was a little behind and thought it was game over.  I tapped out a rhythm, which is all I could do.  Keeping them in my sights & eventually caught them into corner 13 just as we were getting out of the headwind.  I was desperately trying to get some life back into my legs.  They quickly swapped spots at the front & motioned for me to go to the front, but fuck ya’s.  If you ween’t willing to pull a turn for me, there was no way I was going to get screwed again.

On the final straight one of the guys died & I sat in the others wheel.  With about 300 metres to go I pulled out of his slip stream and tried to give it some gas.  My legs immediately screamed in pain and I told them to shut up.  I came alongside the guy & he looked at me & dropped the hammer.  Forcing me to accelerate more.  I kept pace but had nothing left in the tank & knew if he had something then it was his.

You could almost hear the crack as he died and suddenly I took off on him to the finish line.  No fan fare.  No jubilation.  Just “you’re a dick!”

38 km/h average over the 5.3 km circuit.  Not that fast, but given that I’m out of form I’ll take it.

With a head wind to contend with I pushed hard down North Road & TT’s it all the way home, scoring pb’s all the way home.

Given this was the first ride I’ve done which I haven’t been hampered by injury I’m over the moon.

My legs.  They tell a different story…..

Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:

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