>Race day

>Normally on a Tuesday I’d go down the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit first thing and get in about 35 miles with the ‘lads’. However, today is the first of the Tuesday evening criterium series, so I’m saving myself. I’m useless at crits – I’ll be dropped by the peloton within the first couple of laps and have to solo until a) the end or b) they pull me out of the race. Why bother? Because it’s good speed training and I’m a slow person. Because Sunday’s race was called off with the snow and I need a race. Because one day I might stay in the bunch and today might be that day. Because people are expecting me to be there and I dislike letting people down.

I now have a racing season mapped out until September. It’s very strange – potentially the first full season since the early 1980s. What I’m discovering is that I don’t recover so quickly from race efforts, that I’ve forgotten how to race and that I’ve got a lot of improving to do. I hope I can keep going.