04 March, 2013

A win and a loss

I'm struggling to write an entry this afternoon after hearing about the news of Junior's death at Severn Bridge road race yesterday. I didn't know the guy well, but I did know him and when I heard the news on Sunday I was shocked. There are no words from me that will help his friends or family get over the loss but I feel it is important to acknowledge the tragic event that happened. When I raced against him in the South West he always had a presence at the head of the bunch and was a good rider.

Onto happier thoughts. I won the race on Saturday, with what is becoming a trademark show of stupidity/strength. After a rapid first 100km where no breaks were formed, one finally stuck once we were on the first lap of the finishing circuit. I wasn't in it, but I felt amazing, so I jumped off the front and took chase. A few minutes later and as I glanced behind I saw the welcome sight of my teammate Sam Allen riding up to me. I soft tapped for a bit and when he caught me we went full gas to catch the breakaway. 

The Brits show them how to play hard ball.

We were going great guns and did so within about 10km, leap-frogging a few stragglers from the break on the way there. When we joined the group we were just going through the finish up a small drag and as I drifted to the front I held my speed and got a little gap. I thought about it (for all of about two seconds) and then I just thought: 'Ahhh why not'!

This is just after my 'attack' from the break.

And that was it, either four or five 4km laps later (I lost count) and I had it in the bag. I held my lead of about 25 seconds over two chasers for the entire time and had plenty of time at the finish to enjoy myself.

I think it was starting to smart a bit at this point.

Testers eh?!

I was out front for so long I even grew a beard...

After plenty of faffing about on the podium, broken sentences in French and receiving gender ambiguous 'Parfum' for a prize I began the long journey home. It was a late night and I couldn't sleep. I think I knew then that I was going down with something, and in the morning sure enough, I was ill. I could feel it earlier in the week in the form of a tickley throat and coupling the cold weather and a big effort with little sleep meant it was inevitable. I started the race on Sunday but I was flapping about at the rear end of the bunch and after an hour or so I knew it was pointless. I climbed off and wrapped up. It's important to know when not to fight, and yesterday was one of those times. Nobody remembers the hero: they remember the winner.

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