I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after a big week of training, you expect the body to be tired after 20 hours of cycling (twice my usual training hours) – actually I felt fine!
This was essentially my first ever road race, having crashed during my last one after 5 miles. I’d decided beforehand to just have fun, sit and relax in the bunch; if the race ended in a sprint I’d be in a good position to finish in the top 10. The course was relatively demanding and the field large, a mix of first timers to seasoned racers – we’d only gone 5 miles before riders started dropping off the peloton – I was feeling good and was finding the pace relatively easy. Having already ridden the course I knew that the only obstacle was a set of short climbs (Rothley Craggs) about mid way, it was at this point I moved up the bunch to place myself in the top 20 – I didn’t want to get trapped behind riders who can’t climb! I was gliding up the hills, almost being pulled along by the riders infront – I just kept it easy and followed the bunch.
After the climbing the bunch was reduced, down to about 30 riders. Once we turned for home the wind was on our backs, we were rarely below 25mph and things became slightly more nervous, with riders moving up the bunch just in case a meaningful attack occured. Nothing happened and I could see it was going to end in a sprint – not something I’d consider myself decent at, as I’m quite a small rider. I hadn’t really planned what I would do in the sprint and as a result it was all over before I even knew it happened. 1km, 200m, finish line. It felt like I had no time to think, I wasn’t concentrating hard enough. I crossed the line somewhere between 4-6th (depending on who you ask!) – with my mate Nick right beside me; a good return for our club, two riders in the top 10, it’s great that we can support each other through these races!
So what do I take away from this? I can sprint OK, I opened it up far too late, if the finish had been a further 100 metres I may have won – I certainly felt like I was finishing faster than everyone else. So if you remove the naivety I could be a decent finisher. I came in the top 5 after a big training week – I can recover well. Actually all the signs are positive, if you can sleep walk your way through a race and finish in a good position it can only bode well for the future – I feel pretty confident I can move up to 3rd category this year.
Garmin Data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/166374676
Race Report: Not available yet.