On Friday I got the train to Loughborough to stay the night with my team mate Hamish, before the OVB EMRRL road race the following morning. Whilst watching some Game of Thrones with his housemates before turning in, the house next door erupted with shouting and music. After some inquiry, we found a large party of Asian’s playing stare-off contests and karaoke. This was going to be a long night. No surprises, I slept badly. It was very warm, and I was crunched up on a tiny sofa listening to the wild Friday night ensuing next door. I was up before my alarm, and went straight for the aeropress. With some caffeine in me, fatigue seemed to dwindle.
It was warm at the race, and Hamish & I warmed up on the road after signing on and dropping our bags at the HQ. A splattering of rain fell as the bunch rolled out, but after about a lap the sun came out and the briefly-wet tarmac dried in the heat. Nothing was sticking in the first few laps but I was determined to be aggressive in order to try to make the successful break that would no doubt evade me.
As well as Hamish, I had a second teammate – Daniel Neito. We were all working well to attack in succession and send riders up the road. And after Hamish set a forceful pace up the steep headwind drag that made up the only climb in the circuit, I gave it the beans in the gutter along the cross/tailwind section down the top of the course. After about 15 minutes of churning around in the 12 sprocket, I was pulled back and felt a bit cooked. I turned to a caffeine gel for help. Sensations then improved somewhat.
On the last lap, a group of about five got away. And when Daniel attacked with a similar-sized bridging group, I wanted to follow as I saw it contained some strong riders. However, I didn’t want to drag the bunch with me, so curbed my desire to press on.
A warm and windy day- check out those trees
As we turned into the long headwind climb, Hamish again was setting the pace. I was second wheel and pulled through. After a few moments, I glanced round- and to my surprise, I had a gap. The next riders up the road were about 200m away, working together against the headwind. I grinded up the berg to catch them, agonisingly slowly against the gale and gradient. After sitting on in an attempt to recover, I attacked on the steepest section, just 400m before the line. This was a mistake as soon all three were past me again. Eyeballs up with lactate, I willed myself onto the wheel of the last rider and somehow found the strength to pip him on the line. For 16th place. Fortunately there were points down to 15th.
lunging for nothing
To improve my temperament, upon returning to the HQ I found that my trainers had disappeared. It seemed that someone else had taken a shine to them. As fair repayment for a night’s lodging and chaos, Hamish lent me his to travel home in, cooked me lunch and dropped me at the station. Top man
Overall legs were good, results were not. For me at least; Daniel got 6th so maybe letting him go was a good move.
Race savegery rating: 6.5/10
Learned: don’t race for nothing