13 February, 2012

Perf’s pedal road race – how was it for you?

On Saturday night I was excited for my first road race of the season. I find that I can never get a really decent night’s sleep before a race but I woke up feeling pretty good in the morning. The drive to the race was just over an hour, so I took my portable music device (my laptop people, I don’t have one of these mp3 fandangoes) and listened to some chilled tunes on the way there. Some people like to get pumped up before racing but I find I’m the opposite – I need to relax and calm myself, because as soon as I get a number on I seem to get over-excited.

It was quite a cold day so I did a twenty-five minute spin on the turbo in the car park to get the blood flowing. The race started off steadily with a large contingent of UK Youth riders amassed at the front, which was to become more and more familiar as the race went on. It was naturally jumpy racing, with everyone trying to remember how to ride in a bunch and several people managing to hit the tarmac unfortunately. I hovered around the front of the bunch though and stayed out of trouble, and in most of the breakaways. These were doomed breaks of course! Despite seemingly every split having several UK Youth riders in it none of them were sticking, so I resigned myself to it being a sprint at the end. With a lap to go the boys in white got into formation at the front and everyone else decided that that was just fine! There was a straight, fast section on the course followed by a left hander and some twisty corners, then up a short climb to the finish. I knew that Chris Opie was the man who the lead out train was for: I stayed with him in Holland a few years ago so I know what he’s capable of in the final few hundred metres. The short answer is – a lot more than I’m capable of! Waiting for a sprint against Chris, Marcin and any other unknowns was unlikely to be fruitful for me so I took a flyer just before the sharp left-hander. I got a reasonable gap through the twists, but looking back was a daunting experience with Magnus Backstedt and co. furiously snapping at my heels.

It was not to be, and I was caught on the short climb about one kilometre out from the finish. I’d managed to split the bunch though and hung onto the back of the nine man group (more or less anyway) to get tenth. It was a pretty disappointing finish for me. I felt like I had a lot more to give but the way the race panned out didn’t allow it. 

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