Won a race once. AND DON'T YOU EVER FORGET IT

  • No blaze of glory…

    Final round of the NW league last weekend. Another new venue (loving all the new courses this season, great work race organisers!) and a new set of ground conditions to deal with: mostly frozen rock solid, but with a constantly changing, melted, muddy layer on top. Hereafter know as semifreddo…

    I’ll openly admit that I’d started the off season early and had spent the week eating terrible (delicious, usually biscuit based) food while barely riding a bike. Never mind, the sun was shining on the snow (slightly melting it…), the youth and vets races seemed to be going well and everyone seemed to have the “last day of school” feeling going on, me included. I couldn’t be faffed doing a proper warm up, I just wanted to get stuck in a bit and have some fun for one final time before stripping the bikes down for their summer hibernation.

    Off the start I didn’t do too badly. Rob got another lightning start but I got up into 2nd place and began working my way back up to him before my race was rudely interrupted by some hidden ice under one of the fast corners. I went down like a sack of spuds and watched several people get past me as i flailed about under the course tape.
    Back up as quickly as possible and back into the race, now down in 5th, I tried to close the gaps but a combination of the season-old drivechains of the bikes starting to give up (if you want to test your concentration levels, try racing cx on a tight, twisty course, covered in ice and off camber while simultaneously ‘feeling’ your drivehchain and backing off/back pedalling each time the chain tries to jam itself up into the frame with chansuck. Skills required 🙂 ), stupidly crashing out on the same patch of ice a 2nd time and then getting all wound up with myself for messing up…which (of course) lead to more mistakes (and a couple of slightly embarrassing crashes that really shouldn’t have happened… meant I only made it back up as far as 4th.
    On the plus side, during my final lap or two I was able to mentally get a grip, despite the setbacks and refocus on racing – I didn’t quite have the power to get back on terms with Rob, Matt and Martin but I was able to close the gap right down where I may have previously remained disheartened.

    Several lessons were learned – about the bikes and their set up and about how to manage my head during the race. Good stuff.

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    Binned it! Pic by Ellen

    And that, as the saying goes, was that. Season over. On crossing the finish line I allowed myself a bit of an indulgent look around at the group of riders who had finished in front of me – hearty, heartfelt handshakes were being passed around between them as I rolled over. I know I spend quite a bit of time on these blogs thanking the people who support me in the pits, but equally I should thank everyone I’ve got to race against. I shook hands and offered thanks and congratulations and genuinely meant every word, every race has been close, hard, exciting, full on and yet always fair and good natured. I have nothing but utter respect for everyone who I’ve raced with this season, it’s been bloody brilliant.

    Next season, it’s all change. Plans are very much afoot. I’m moving up a category, to V40 and fully intend to get myself to as many National Trophy races as possible. The NW league is just too good right now to avoid so I’ll be there as much as possible – racing the (fast!) v40s and, whenever practical, sticking my nose in with the seniors to keep myself nice and keen.
    I won’t be doing it alone, I know I’ll have back up in the pits from the ever awesome (some would say “long suffering”…) Horwich team and for the first time ever I won’t just be getting into shape for the season based on guesswork… (dot dot dot 🙂 )

    A Power Meter? With my reputation?! But who will be analysing the data it provides and tailoring my training based on the information it provides…

     

    5:11 pm on February 4, 2019 | No Comments | # |

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