First Road Race – Kingston Wheelers 3rds

11 Mar

My first road race! So I thought I’d write about it while I kill some time and have it vaguely fresh in my mind.

As you may know I bought a new bike last week so this week has been spent making sure it runs properly, and everything works out as the last thing I needed was a broken bike for the race. So with the last minute stuf finally done midweek (indexing, standard woe) I was ready to roll.

I’d done both chain-gang rides last week, and only commuted 3 times, also notably I didn’t play any football, I feel this helped keep my legs pretty fresh as I was going well on both the chain-gang sessions. I also hit an all time low weight of 81.9 kg (or 12.12 in on money), so it was looking positive for this weekend. Had to get up pretty early as although I’ve cycled to Dunsfold a few times, its actually quite a way from here, 30 miles or so.

Got down there with plenty of time to spare, made sure everything was ok, met all the guys from the club etc etc. The weather was absoloutley perfect, and at 1pm or so, its about as nice as I’ve seen it for cycling.

A sold out field started off, and the pace was pretty hot right from the get go. Obviously I have not raced on the road before and although I preferred it, there were still moments when you kind of wish the cars could be banned from the roads for a day 😉 but the marshals on the bikes and in the cars did a great job, really good.

So it was fairly nicely paced for the first 5 laps or so, a few people went, and I wasn’t well positioned to be honest, I couldn’t see how many were up the road, or even who they were. I noticed a few attempts by riders to bridge, both from my club and others. It got to about 2.5 laps to go, or around 15 miles to go, we’d ben racing for just over and hour and a half and I caught the odd glimpse of the group up the road, it had gotten quite large. I was pretty sure non of my team were in it, and I’ve overheard a few riders say that we wouldn’t catch them over the next half an hour, so that was it, I’d made my mind up that I was going to bridge the gap…

I went off the front hard not long before one of the slight downhill sections, I gained a gap straight away, then proceeded to go about getting over, now I knew this was going to be hard, but my HR data shows just how hard it was, I have a max of 194 according to my data, and for 7 minutes my HR was above 180, and for 6 of those it was above 185. So without using all these fancy online training tools, you can see that it was a BIG effort, and along the way I passed a few others, one of which got my wheel and I dragged him over too.

When I had got over to the bunch the bunch behind were out of sight most of the time, so I thought that most of the hard work had been done. I tried to work with some of the guys, and one of the La Fuga riders was helping out, but in the main I have to say I didn’t think most riders were interested in helping. I sat on the front for a bit, waved through, and nobody came, so I carried on, looked round and the bunch were in sight. So I think we stayed away for a total of 20-25 minutes, I have no doubts that if we had worked better together, or at all, we would have been a lot harder to catch.

So when we were caught I was conscious to stay near the front as I think it was on the last lap with about 5 miles to go. Jason came through and I got his wheel, we were probably in the top 12-15. We rode fast, and there were moments when I thought it could all go wrong. I lent on a guy that came into me at probably nearly 40 mph, its not as easy as Cav makes it look. Still, we got through ok, came down the fast section toward the hill, flying at this point, well over 30 mph…

We hit the hill and all I had in my mind was not to go too hard, as there was 200 meters or so on the top after the hill, I was spinning away, and then got boxed in as there were two cars on the other side of the road (annoying), I got to the top of the hill in probably the high teens, realized I’d done a bit more than I should have as my HR was already nearing the 190 mark again, so started sprinting, went past a few people, and lunged for the line!

Jason had come 2nd, a massive coup for him, as he had been riding well most of the day position wise, and obviously had done the hill perfectly, I came 9th, which I’m happy with given my race efforts, and another wheeler also came in the top 5. So I think we did really well. I’m looking forward to the next one already, sadly its not quite as flat, but the slopes today felt fine, and I was spinning away nicely, so I am interested to do a hilly course, its a 2/3 though, so I might be riding on my own 😉

Race stats –

51 miles – Avg HR of 165/ max 190 (shame I couldn’t eek out the other 4/5)  – avg sped 24 mph – max sped 41 mph

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