John Walker E123

9 Sep

This race was one I had done a variation of last year, it was run on the Drift Road circuit which is a pretty much flat fast course with minimal technicality. When I raced it last year for the Python RR I was still pretty new to cycling and managed to get round, so this year given I’ve improved a bit I was hoping to try and make it count as it had a sprint finish which suited me.

The race had attracted a good field, but notable teams were Felt and Pedalheaven who had plenty of riders representing. We got off to a start after the earlier 3/4 race had finished (couple of KW riders had been caught up in a crash which is never good) and straight away the pace was high, and it remained so for the first few miles! Where previously I had always been caught napping at the early stages, this time I was keen to try and make sure I was in the right place to go with it. The upshot of that was that I chased quite a few early moves to little avail. I then slipped back in to the first 3rd of the group and sat about waiting for the right one. We had probably done 20 of the 75 miles now, and a small group had formed and were just off the front for a while, I was then keen to get into the bridge group which I knew was going to form sooner or later – notably Pedalheaven were looking to get something together perhaps they had missed the first move, I followed the first few and nothing doing, slipped back a bit and managed to be in the wrong place when they went and it looked like it might stick…

Quite irritated with myself by this point I looked around and saw that most of the people who were likely to be up there had already gone up the road, I saw Tony Gibb was still in the bunch so there was some hope he would try to get over given the finish probably was perfect for him too. A lap or so passed and we had reach halfway point at least, and Tony and 2 others chipped off the front on the long straight drag up to the finish, its so long and straight that actually to get out of sight probably requires a pretty large gap upwards of 2 mins, and as such I could see beyond Tony’s group the two breakaways which looked like they were close to merging. My legs had felt really good all day so I thought now was the time to make it count, I jumped off the front of the group and set about catching Gibb’s group, however when I approached them I still felt good and they were going slowly, so instead of joining them I rode straight by them and carried on, I was gaining on the break and thought I may be able to get over, what I had not really banked on was the way in in which it drags up to the line and the headwind we had, I got within maybe 50m of the group and felt my legs start to fade, a quick check back confirmed that the pack had caught Gibb’s group, I was blowing hard, having shown everyone what the definition of ‘blowing up’ was, and was quickly back in the group (I looked at the data after and had done 500w for 3 mins or so which is a bit above what I would normally do)…

Now it was a case of having missed the moves, people were trying to chip off the front to save some face, lots of things went nothing stuck, with a lap and a half to go I went on my own and stayed away for half a lap before being dragged back, nothing was doing. On the last lap most people were happy to let Gibb lead everyone in. Given we had managed to split our group again there were not many of us, maybe 20, I wasn’t totally sure how many were up the road so made sure I won the mini gallop of our group, but I later learned there were 24 up the road haha!!

Stuff to learn of course as ever, but was pretty pissed off as its becoming a habit now, and I wonder sometimes how I keep missing things given I’m not exactly hanging off the back. 1 more race this season which is to be the Handicap Champs – 60 miles of handicap racing fun!, and then of course the true season closer is the Kingston Wheelers club champs at Hillingdon, with 30 already entered it should be good fun.

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