One of the most important parts of racing, tactics. In something like a ‘cross race you’ll be wanting to conserve energy where you can – sheltering out of the wind, getting in front of anyone you’re having a close battle with before any sections you’re not too good on, saving a bit of energy for the frenetic last lap. Always thinking.
Except for yesterday. Yesterday I wanted to get up to threshold and stay there. That was my tactic. Flat out. Admittedly (and unsurprisingly) my start was unspectacular. Slow, even – I glanced up seconds after the start gun went to see a sea, nay, an ocean of riders in front of me, despite trying to put the hammer down. But that didn’t matter too much. I got up to “out of breath” mode and set about chasing everyone in front of me down.
A strong wind was blowing across the more exposed parts of course, with riders trying to shelter behind each other whenever possible. Not me though. I just hammered it up to the any group in front of me, then set my sights on the next group. No let up. No interest in anyone trying to jump on my wheel. Chase down everyone, overtake, let everyone behind get dropped. Repeat.
Budge took the pic
30 minutes in: No let up, no pacing, no keeping anything back for the last couple of laps.
40 minutes in: Still no let up. Almost brainless, flat out chasing, catching, dropping.
50 minutes in: Last lap. You can probably guess the tactic.
I crossed the line for the last time feeling like the race had gone well. I’d made up somewhere in the region of (according to Budge, who had spent the race shouting encouragement) 30 places (I actually finished 6th, which is my best finish in a ‘cross race to date!). Perhaps tacticless (brainless?!) racing is the future
Budge took the pic
(I even threw in some ‘proper’ flat out cyclocross remounts – skillz!)