In the heat, I knew my legs would be tired after yesterday, but rather than wimping out like I normally do, and go for a smaller gear, I decided to be give the regular gear a go, and suck it and see. Despite Madam Hour’s claim I didn’t have a schedule, I actually did, but it was broken down into lap times, rather than accumulated time. In training I’ve discovered I work better physically and mentally on knowing exactly what my lap times are, and ride lap by lap working to achieve a set lap time, rather than to the big picture of the total race time. I find walking the line, and its hand signal equivalent irritating and meaningless. Down by two, up by one – unless I know my schedule by rote, it’s meaningless to me. My brain is too occupied with monitoring cadence, pace, breathing, holding the line, body position and nerves/enthusiasm to also retain a schedule and calculate what down by two actually means.
Poor Mr Legs was a bit overwhelmed by my new signal system. Yelling out lap times to me in training he could handle, but converting that to hand signals gave him stage fright. Fortunately Mdm Hr stepped in, picking up on what I wanted immediately (pursuiter’s brain and knowledge). I am very grateful for her timing, knowing she was still feeling unwell, and hoping she wouldn’t have a dizzy spell on my halfway through! So with a timer and signaller trackside, and my regular nemesis Julie Coller on the other side of the track, I was ready to go.
Last year Julie and I were evenly pegged, and I know Julie has spent some time away from focussed pursuit training over the last year, but how much so I really didn’t know. So she was an unknown quantity this year. My job in the heat was to stick to the plan, that’s all I had to do to qualify, as it would get the time I needed to be in the final four. After the heat I would worry about how to ride the final, based on our results in the heat.
Once the gate opened I rolled out, concentrating on not hitting out too hard. Lap 1, a second slower than planned, so I upped it a little and did a sub 20 second lap 2. That was also definitely not in the plan. Lap 3 I settled and coming up for Lap 4, I looked down my home straight and saw Julie. This was a bit of a surprise, although Julie likes to wind it up over the final laps. I really didn’t want to catch and then have to pass her, because I was worried that 1) I would get stuck on her hip and not be able to pass and 2) lose time if I did manage to get around her. Lap 5 I was on schedule and Julie as still in sight. Knowing I had 4 “fast” laps under my belt. I concentrated on keeping to lap times, knowing doing so would get me into the final. The last 4 laps hit target and it was job done. As I rolled off the track, I actually felt ok – a bit woozy, jellied legged and head spinning, but no nausea, no serious risk of fainting – none of the stuff I had felt last time I rode a pursuit at DISC. As I came off the boards I looked up at the times. Julie’s was first and thinking it was mine, was momentarily disappointed, but then realising my mistake and looking down the scoreboard, I saw that I’d PBed, making for one happy pursuiter.