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

  • Pedal Dead Hard

    Pretty much sums up the good bits of any sort of bike race, that phrase. One of the great things about cyclocross is that the phrase sums up the entire thing: Someone says “go” (or blows a whistle, sounds a hooter, or whatever) and those three words should sum up all you try to do until someone waves a chequered flag at you. Little is required in the way of tactics, there’s not much point in pacing yourself (and, quite frankly, if you try and “pace” the first minute of a cyclocross race you’ll get a good view of everyone else disappearing off – so get stuck in!), just stay upright and keep telling yourself to pedal dead hard.

    I did. It seemed to work. Off the start line at the last NW round I’d picked a slightly bigger gear than normal and, for a second or two, I could feel the rest of the V40 pack starting to surge around me. Pedal Dead Hard and hold your position in to the first corner as you get on top of that big gear was the plan and it seemed to pay off. Frantic gear changes around me were left behind through the second and third corners as 4 or 5 of us opened a slight gap. Bill Nickson was hanging off the front by a few bike lengths. Pedal Dead Hard and get on his wheel. Sorted. We start to stretch the gap back to 3rd as we climb past the pits and begin the “still have to pedal dead hard because of the mud” descent.

    I decide discretion is the better part of valour through the wall of sound (a great atmosphere created by the hecklers at the top of a steep slope) that encompasses the bombhole climb and Run Dead Hard out of the dip – it still counts the same in ‘cross.

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    We don’t use file treads very often in the NW league…

    By lap 2 we’ve got a decent little gap so, as we start the horrible dragging climb back from the bottom of the course towards the pits, I decide to push on hard, in case anyone behind makes a move to get back on terms with us. Head down (as much as possible when you have to keep an eye out for the constantly changing ‘good line’ through the ever present mud!) and, yep, Pedal Dead Hard.
    Through the pits I open a gap on 2nd and there’s only one thing to do when that happens – keep going. Focus on picking the right lines through the tricky sections and always get the power down as early as possible.

    40 minutes of that and, hey presto, someone hands you a beer on the finish line as you roll over the timing mat for the win. Lots of training, lots of time spend making sure the bikes work, lots of support in the pits (on this occasion not needed, but to know they’re all there for you makes a huge difference) and encouragement from marshals/spectators round the course all hidden behind a muddy grin earned by simply pedalling dead hard. Job’s a good ‘un.

     

    9:04 am on October 14, 2019 | Comments Off on Pedal Dead Hard | # |