After an exciting week of World’s racing, it’s back to the comfortable format of Thursday night racing, where my current challenge is finding good real estate in the race: position, position, position. Last night, I managed to do that, but only once, despite my best efforts.
Race 1: There are about 11 of us lined up on the fence ready to race, a bag of mixed lollies, ranging from the regular hardened, crafty old guys, to a couple of juniors, 2 women and a bunch of mixed ages. The bunch starts off a little slow, and I find myself rolling above the red line, heading towards the front at my own pace. I’m not too bothered, as I wasn’t happy with my place in the bunch, which would have had me down the back in the final laps. Finally the pace increases, I slot onto the back and with some quick calculations realise I’ll be leading the bunch out on lap 3. That’s ok, I make a plan of action, and sit and wait, vewy vewy patiently. It’s rabbit hunting season. Lap 4 comes and go and I’m ready for my turn on the front, ready to implement my little plan, ready and waiting for the old guy in front to come off. He doesn’t. I sit and wait, rather than getting impatient, enjoying the free ride. Lap 2 comes and there is an attack. The old guy in front goes with it, and I go with him. The three of us are away, and into the final lap I’m expecting to get rolled, waiting to be boxed in. I keep checking over my shoulder, waiting to see someone’s wheel on my hip, but there is nothing but empty space. I think I can get around the guy in front, but not quite, realising I’m going to get stuck on his hip, so I tuck in behind him, stick his wheel, and hope I don’t get boxed in. In the home straight for the finish and we’re still clear. How can that be?? There are a few good guys in the bunch who should have easily caught us up. Then I realise, one of the other old guys was behind me, holding back the traffic enough to allow us enough of a gap to stay away. Everyone has their day, as they say, and I think the old guys helped me with mine in that race.
Race 2: I recovered well after the scratch, and think I might have a good ride in the points. My legs feel strong, and I was able to turn the gear over in the first race without too much hassle. The bunch rolls out well in the first few laps, and as the whistle blows for the first sprint, I’m in a reasonable position near the front and am able to ride forward for a very close 3rd, backpedalling like mad to avoid running into 1st and 2nd place as we cross the line (told you we were close!). The next few laps we’ve bunched up a little, and I’m up near the blue line above the bunch, not happy with the slowness of the ride, and waiting to launch an attack somewhere. As I pass over the top of a rider rolling back in corner 2, I realise how much energy I’ve used just sitting there. Game over for me. I push my way back into the line (that's novel for me!) and I finish with the main bunch in the second sprint, and finish at the back of the bunch for the final sprint. My legs are shot and burning up with whatever thing causes muscle burn these days. I think Marty’s session the night before just kicked in!
Race 3: I’m looking forward to this race, and want to put myself behind one of the old guys, as they always finish up front of the motor pace. As it was, I end up on the wheel of another old hand, one whom I thought would be competent. Hard lesson learnt. The race is very surgey as inexperienced people simply bail off the back of the bike, and the guy whose wheel I'm on keeps flicking up and down the track, and rolling on and off his son in front. It's a painful, annoying ride. By the time the bike came off the track, my legs are shot from the start/stopping and I have only enough left to get myself home at the back of the pack. Disappointing to say the least. At least I know whose wheel to avoid next time, and I can feel my race brain growing some more cells, as I keep making mistakes and realising my errors. Sweet!
2am this morning, I woke up feeling like I’d been steam rollered. Ah the sweet pain of gym work and hard racing kicking in. Well, hello! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had that pleasure. Back to being a cyclist in training again! Bring it on!!