Brighton Mitre 2/3

15 Jul

firstly, let me apologies for any grammatical errors or typos. I do write these ASAP so I can try and get stuff accurate, but as my partner was only to happy to point out (finally putting that English Lit degree to good use) it’s a far cry from Wordsworth, and does have a few errors here and there!

At last a sun appeared on the ever pessimistic iPhone weather app, and as luck would have it, it was for Sunday! I was still skeptical as when I first saw the prospect of riding in the dry, it was Wednesday…! However, true to its word, today was much more pleasant than most of the last 3 weeks. Dry, sunny at times, and plenty warm enough. No Complaints from me!

Week leading up to has been fairly normal really, just commuting due to the weather, made arrangements at work to allow me to ride the club 10 on Wednesday. After all the effort of making it happen, I got down there and the heavens opened, hail the size of gravel, rain like I’ve not seen it, and thunder. Not TT weather IMO (plus I’d just cleaned my bike :P)

After last weeks race I was feeling quite confident, I knew last week was a hard race in terms of the course, not to mention the weather. So having asked around the club, I was told that the circuit for today was fairly easy, flat pretty much. With the obligatory SL uphill drag then flat to the line. Not got a problem with these, but there are some issues, which I’ll come onto. There were 3 other wheelers riding today, Seamus, and Steve, who were present last week, and Colin too. So although we were heavily outnumbered by Dulwich who had around 10 I think, I was pleased to have some support.

We were told that the course was fine, no holes etc, just a couple of large puddles which had not quite dried out from the weeks rain. No issues however, I was still enjoying riding without getting mud fired into my face by the wheel in front! We rolled off and the pace was quite high, but it wasn’t hard to maintain, the course was pretty flat, and with the exception of the finish, and a couple of tiny rollers there wasn’t much to speak of. Quite a few left turns, most were fine, a couple were quite tight however.

We were rolling along then, and nothing much was happening, people were attacking every now and again, pace was up and down. The first main event came I think on the 2nd lap, I was behind a rider, we were approaching the huge puddle and a car was coming the other way (a common theme today, part of the pitfall of racing at midday) everyone bunched in, this chap panicked I think, pulled his brakes, and his wheel locked up, he went down right in front of me, I narrowly missed it by going through the deep puddle. It was an eye opener as the roads today were very narrow and you rarely could see much more than 200m down the road, yet people were still firing up the outside like we had closed roads! Mad.

I tried to get into a break on the 3rd or 4th lap, I motored hard to make the bridge on my own, and as soon as I got there everyone sat up. Seems to be a bit of a theme with the breaks I try to join. A couple more breaks were going and coming back, Seamus was in probably the best one of the day, they stayed away for a lap maybe, but it all came back together. Into the last lap I was feeling fine, if not a little thirsty, I was on the front for a lot of it, at a medium pace, I was waiting for a group to come by, and they eventually did, I was planning to get into position for the last hill quite a way before we were approaching as I knew it would be bloody tough to get up if I wasn’t in the first 10 riders. However quickly I found myself swamped by all the seemingly fresh riders that had been sat in all day, I was panicking a bit, I was probably 30 riders back, I managed to get my way towards the front, but still come the bottom of the final climb I was probably just in the top 20. As we turn up the pace, I put some power in and start moving up, then the first of 3 moves that mean I have to perform massive evasive actions to not go down, this did happen 2 or three times, and meant that I had to stop, then get back on the power, and repeat that, it was hard work. I think there was one Dynamo off the front who was the bait for the bunch, I heard someone go down behind me (later saw him lying in the road, poor bloke, had a proper wound on his arm, think he was OK though) and I tried to keep it together and go forward, but it was just so tight, so many people, so many risks were being taken. The issue with these finishes I think are that riders go full gas and look good, but die half way up, they then become yet another obstacle to go round, so I was in and out of these blown riders making my way over the top. It flattens out and I am probably at this point lying back at 15th or something, but I remember its a fairly long drag to the line, so I hammer it, I’m passing plenty of people, but the next bunch have just got too far clear. I think I might have grabbed a top 10 just, although wouldn’t be surprised if its another 11th!

So things today that I’ve learned, POSITIONING!!! there’s just not enough room on some of these courses to make your move any later than half way through the last lap I think, so I must get this sorted, as looking at my power numbers I was going very well up the hill and over the top, so must make it count.

Other than that, pleased that I’m still in the mix, nothing was too hard today, nobody was too strong that I couldn’t pull back, or hold wheel, it does bode well, and with around 8 of these races left, I think I can get some proper results.

Race numbers then :

Distance 70 miles
Avg Speed 25.2 mph
Avg/NP power/Max – 241 watts / 282 watts / 1369 watts

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