Race 2 – Hillingdon

17 Dec

This week has been an eventful one, I’ve had less time on the bike than I should have done really. Commuting early in the week, I had a great chaingang ride on the Tuesday setting some new personal best times on the course which is always nice.

Sadly Thursday evening in the gym saw me trap a nerve or pull a muscle in my neck, which I’ve done before, doing the same exercises (dumbbell shoulder press) so I think I’ll stay away from that in future as it was bloody painful and until I got on the bike today (first time since Weds) it was probably to painful to do anything! Anyway, the important thing is that I felt ok, and had rested legs, but had not managed to get a spin in yesterday which is not the norm, and upon getting on my bike it showed, 18 mph felt hard to maintain on the flat…just what I need then, a 12 mile cycle to Hillingdon followed by a race at a level I’ve never ridden at before.

Cycled up with another couple of guys from KW, we had about 15 riders riding today, so a great show for the club, most of which were in the 4ths race, but there was two others riding with me in the 3rds. So it was a nice mixed day for the club and its growing at such a rate that I think by March and our club race I reckon we’ll have a field totally made up of KW members.

There was 40 riders pre-signed to race, so I imagine by the time we got to the startline we probably had filled up, or at least had between 40-50 racing. I was nervous as obviously winning a Cat 4 race is good, but I didn’t know whether I was up to the task of 3rds, especially given my time off the bike! Still, too late now, as they say, and I jostle my way into the starting pack.

The pace was fine as it turns out, similar to the 4ths really, the wind was a little higher than last week, which is always a pain. It was fairly un-eventful for the first 30 mins, I mean, a couple of people had tried to get away, I often pondered following, but more often than not opted to sit back, knowing we would probably catch them. At 30 mins in a few guys went off hard, I chased and got on, and that then seemed to fizzle out, mainly due to people slowing down so much on the ‘hilly’ part of the circuit, there was a few shouty moments where people obviously wanting to stay away clashed with those that wanted to do bugger all…

Fast forward to the last lap, pace is up, and a Redhill chap goes on his own, I was seriously deliberating following, but thought I’d have nothing left if we did get caught, so again sat in. Round the last corner onto the straight by the clubhouse, the pace was high, over 30 mph, I was in an ok position, probably top 15-20, nearer 20 than 15, though… We go round the last corner, and I can see my Redhill is still up the road, I think to myself that he’s got it in the bag, and concentrate on my own race.

A few guys go, I follow the man on the Felt (flashiest bike there, must be a good wheel right?) and he did go well, to his credit, at this point I’m probably 8 back, and have already got over the fact I am not going to win. So I keep digging and notice I’m gaining on everyone, a bit like last week, but not quite as dramatic, and Redhill is actually looking like he will get caught after all…Then something wonderful happens, my Cav moment if you like, at 35 mph 4 riders back,  I break off Mr Felt, and a lovely gap opens up between two riders, I think to myself that I’ve seen people go through these gaps at full chat, I’ve got confidence in my bike handling, so I go, and I pass through it without incident, or anyone shouting at me (it wasn’t dangerous move, but people love a shout) nothing is ahead but the line, I’m really pedaling hard and my cheap bike is flexing around like its made of cheese. We pass Redhill probably 15 meters from the line, a chap to my left is neck and neck with me, I dig in a bit more and feel myself edging away from him, I lunge for the line and take what I think is the win by about half a bike… A quick Murray style fist pump and a few congratulations from other riders and there we have it. I’ve won my second race (I think, can never be sure till the pics 😉 ) at Cat 3 level!

Three pics here show the gap closed, I do feel sorry for Mr Redhill though, was winning till the last 10 foot!

Over the moon with the result, and now looking forward to having a week or so off before having a couple more cold jaunts to Hillingdon before I prepare for the actual season, and my clubs road race!!

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