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

  • Hand Shakes

    One of the best parts of Cx racing (Ok, it’s not limited to just cyclocross, or indeed the sport of cycling alone) is that few moments after crossing the finish line, gathering in the wheezing cacophony of sweat and rising steam in the chilled air as heart rate slowly begin to drop, snot is wiped from faces and heartfelt handshakes/high fives/fistbumps/manhugs are flung around with endorphin fuelled enthusiasm.
    The person who, just a few moments earlier, was your wholehearted enemy who must be caught and passed/dropped instantaneously becomes you best mate for a while as you trade stories, congratulate brilliant saves, apologise for mid race mistakes and generally all agree that a jolly good time was had by all.
    I love those minutes, the flip change from agressive racing to agreeable giggling, the mutual respect and admiration, no matter where you’ve finished, they’re brilliant.

    Sunday just gone I didn’t get a chance for any of it though. Deciding to “double up” and race in the Senior/Junior category immediately after the V40s was a GREAT idea at midday, with the sun shining and nothing but a few sighting laps in my legs. Reality though…

    The V 40 race started typically…by which I mean from being ranked #1 and having the pick of the spots on the front row I managed to end up back in about 10th place by the first corner, my backwards sprint in full effect. So i had some work to do. I watched Tom Pidcock race the day before, working his way back from about 10th up onto the podium in a Superprestige race and decided I’d have a go at doing that. No panicked sprinting and crashin, just ride up through the field as calmly as I could (“calm” at way above threshold, obviously!).

    DSC_9298.jpg
    Pic by Ellen

    What I got, not for the first time this season, was 40 minutes of truly brilliant racing. I kept my cool on the corners and exercised caution over bravado and unleashed as much power as I could in between and, well, managed to get to the front and get clear. Purposefully forgetting that I needed to save some energy, just giving it the beans whenever possible while ensuring I stayed upright. Happy days and a bit of a ‘punch the air in delight’ as I crossed the finish line as the winner. Lovely stuff. 🙂

    DSC_9733.jpg
    Pic by Ellen

    The only downer on the win was having to immediately bugger off from the finish line. No revelry, no heart handshakes or chances to catch those mid-race stories as everyone crossed the line, just a rush back to the pits to swap race numbers, get a clean bike and get back to the start line.

    I poured a can of cola down my neck and stuffed a gel up the leg of my shorts to guzzle mid race, expecting the last 40 odd minutes of full on effort to hit me at some point during the next 50 minutes of effort and lined up once again.
    2nd start seemed to go better than the first – maybe I was better warmed up (well, the muscles definitely had enough blood going through them by that point in the day!) – I;d not placed myself too far foward but maade up quite a few places in the first series of corners. I felt fine so, ignoring the discussion I’d had with Dave Haygarth about pacing strategies, I pushed on as hard as I could and kept fighting for every place.

    By about 4 laps in I’d got myself up to the top ten, just passing Paul Upton as I passed the pits and joked to Angela and Cam who were pitting for me about it starting to get tough. Those words almost instantly became prophetic as, within half a lap, the ‘pop’ my legs had out of each corner faded. Paul retook his place and I started to lose the strength to hold his wheel. Another half a lap and I was dropping gears at most parts of the course as my body finished off the sugar from the can of cola. suddenly I was really fighting to make it up the slopes and even hold concentration on the tricky sections.

    DSC_9917.jpg
    Pic by Ellen

    I remembered the gel stuffed up my shorts leg and tried to get it into my mough on a fast, straight section at the back of the course, but by that point my hands were actually shivering with the lack of energy and all I succeeded in doing was burst the wrapped and squeeze it across my chin! I muttered a few swear words and hunkered down for the last two laps as best I could. To everyone behind me I was a sitting duck. Unable to offer any resistance as riders I sprinted away from earlier on caught and dropped me, my pace falling away almost hilariously.
    I’d just crossed the line for the last lap as Giles took the win, so I had the small consolation of knowing I’d not lose any more places, but by that point the metaphorical wheels were well and truly off my wagon.
    Someone I was lapping (really sorry, I wasn’t paying attention by this point so forget who it was – but thankyou!) took pity on me as I imploded right alongside them, allowing me to shelter on their wheel until we got to the finish line, where I promptly missed the whole handshake/chatting moment for a second time to go and find something to eat/drink before I fell over!

    Here’s hoping for the ‘supercompensation’ by my legs in time for next week’s National Trophy up at Irvine Beach Park. Last year it was utterly brilliant and I’ve all my fingers and toes crossed for another sunny, dry, fast, swoopy race with stunning views. 🙂

     

    4:48 pm on October 21, 2019 | 2 Comments | # |

Comments

  • Dave Haygarth 11:20 pm on October 21, 2019 | #

    Handshake gesture. Bravo. ?

  • Dave Haygarth 8:25 am on October 22, 2019 | #

    That handshake emoji didn’t work out up there. Dang.

Leave a Comment