And so it begins again.
It’s only been a few weeks since the last race of last season, but I felt very rusty preparing for today’s race. Training seems to be draining me even though the miles are down and the big efforts are off the schedule. I suspect the cold weather is hitting everyone hard. At least I get to ride a proper racing bike – it feels like a magic carpet after a few weeks on the ‘mudguard machine’.
The race started off at an easy-ish pace – which was good as it seems to take me longer and longer to get my bloody foot clipped in. It was a big bunch and space was tight. There was an early crash in which Willesden CC team-mate Tom was brought down. I hope he’s okay and recovers quickly. There were plenty of WCC spectators – I was asked at one point if I had my own fan club.
The race was running on the circuit at the same time as the 3rd category event. As their large field caught our large field it split, which led to an extended overtaking manoeuvre (over a lap). The increase in pace and elongation of the field (each race is supposed to keep to its side of the track) led to gaps opening and… several riders, including me, were shelled out of the back. We, as the slower race, are supposed to neutralise the action as they pass, but the temptation to steal a sneaky march on other riders is too much for some. Perhaps, if I was at the business end of the field, I’d have been tempted too.
I rode a few laps solo and then dropped out to savour the sprint action. Unfortunately the 4th cat’s final acceleration pushed them into the back of the 3rd cat race on the last lap leading to a confusing finale. It’s very difficult to manage two large races of fairly similar ability on such a small circuit.
The stats for the bit of the race I rode were:
Race stats: Race distance: 14.29 miles, time: 36:30 (23.5mph average speed). DNF. Top speed: 31.0mph. Fastest mile: 2:19 (25.9mph – mile 11), slowest mile: 2:55 (20.6mph – mile 14). Average HR: 154bpm, maximum HR: 168bpm. Winner: ?
Heart rate is a bit down – I had an ‘almost a cold’ earlier in the week and this might be the cause. Pat now has a full blown cold, so we’ll see if I can catch it and get out of next week’s race.