Having ridden 2 near-perfect races in the last 2 weeks you’d think I’d have gone into this feeling good but Belgium last Sunday knocked the sh*t out of me and my legs were tired in training all week.
Still, mtfu they say don’t they?
So, this morning I lined up for a 50 mile race against 99 riders on a wide racing circuit which, to my surprise, had 4 ‘lumps’ in a row on the back straight on each of the 25 laps.
100 little hills, joy.
It was 6 degrees and I really don’t get on with the cold so that’s 3 excuses in as many paragraphs however I rode near the front and went with 3 attacks, jumping across the gap on each occasion. The third of these momentarily became a ‘working breakaway’ but our group, like all the others, never got very far on a circuit with no corners requiring any braking and 100 riders chasing everything down.
That last attack really took it out of me and with about 10 miles to go I dropped back a little to ‘rest’. It was a completely different race back there! I was surprised just how many people were ‘sitting in’ and how big a group of 100 riders looked! The problem was I was now stuck at the back and the miles were counting down so on the tailwind home straight I made a huge effort with 4 miles to go and got myself back into the top 10.
Now, with most of the field till there and with 75% having done nothing all race this wide straight finish was going to be chaos and I have to say, I wasn’t sure whether at this stage I was prepared to take too many risks for what wasn’t the bleeding National Championships after all!
All of a sudden my mind was made up for me as everyone sat up (what is with racers sitting up?!) and us riders at the front were all swamped, losing any gains we had made.
We were well into the last lap (the last 2 miles) now and I was picking my way back through but was getting tired and nervous about the 100-up sprint we were about to subject ourselves to when… CRASH….I don’t know how many came down but I braked hard, just missed it and it didn’t look pretty.
Race over, I rolled across the line, pleased to have another 50 miles of racing in my legs but not pleased about much else.
“Come on summer?!”