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  • Hi, I'm Daniel Oakman, senior curator at the National Museum of Australia

  • and welcome to my cycling adventures.

  • Today I'll be riding this carbon fibre road bike

  • in a race with the Canberra Veterans Cycling Club.

  • That's me in the red and white jersey.

  • The kind of racing I'm riding in here is called the criterium.

  • We race for a certain amount of time - in this case 20 minutes -

  • then a bell is rung and riders know

  • they have two laps to race before the finish line.

  • We're moving off steadily here with each rider finding a comfortable position.

  • The key to this kind of racing is conserving energy by drafting behind your competitors.

  • By staying out of the wind a rider can move easier

  • than if they are on the front facing into the wind.

  • Typically, riders will try to stay together,

  • but sometimes a rider may surge forward in what is known as an attack

  • and try to move away from the group.

  • Riders however who attack too early might run out of steam

  • and be forced back into the bunch.

  • I have drifted a bit far back

  • and I am now attempting to move towards the front of the race.

  • This bike is perfectly designed for this kind of racing.

  • It's light, durable and responsive, ideal for weaving in close to other riders.

  • Sitting in an upright position however

  • does mean that you're not in a particularly aerodynamic position,

  • hence the need to draft behind others becomes even more important in a race situation.

  • Today is pretty windy so I'm looking to gain as much shelter

  • riding behind my competitors,

  • that way I'll hopefully be able to save enough energy to finish.

  • Now the pace is really increasing here

  • and you can see the riders strung out into a long line.

  • I'm being forced to ride a lot harder

  • as the wind cuts across the group and big gaps are formed.

  • I'm struggling to hold the wheel of the rider in front of me

  • especially around these corners.

  • The smaller group off the front have stayed together

  • and they will do so until the finish.

  • I'm just hopping from group to group until the end racing for the minor placings.

  • This kind of competition was really the first style of cycle racing

  • that captivated Australian sports lovers.

  • As popular as football and cricket

  • thousands attended venues to watch short criterium races like this one

  • and longer endurance rides, some going up to six days.

  • It's been great to come here today to get a feel for what it's like to compete

  • and get a sense of the many factors that decide the criterium race -

  • the bike, the fitness, race tactics, the weather, and of course the decisions and strengths of other riders.

  • I can really see why many cyclists get hooked by this kind of racing.

  • Thanks for watching and I'll see you on my next cycling adventure.

Hi, I'm Daniel Oakman, senior curator at the National Museum of Australia

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