After holding onto the bunch for 10 minutes two weeks ago, my goal this race was to last a bit longer. Lately I’ve been struggling to get good quality sleep and it’s been hard to wake up early to train, so both my sleep and training have been poor. The race was 30 minutes + 3 laps and I hoped to hold onto the bunch for 20 of them. The weather was cool and fairly windy, on the ride over it started to rain a little bit and I wasn’t keen on racing in the rain. I was riding my new wheelset for only the 3rd time and I hadn’t had too much of an opportunity to figure out handling quirks, so I planned on being cautious.
Staring the race the rain had died down, the bunch was fairly small, maybe 15-20 riders in total. The start of the race was very quiet, the pace felt very slow to me and I thought everyone was just being very lazy, in retrospect our lap times were fairly reasonable, I think I may have just underestimated my current fitness level. A couple of times in the first 10 minutes a rider went off the front but they didn’t last too long. As the bunch was fairly compact hanging out at the back wasn’t too bad. The yo-yoing around the corner was very minimal and I was able to leave more space around the hairpin and corner faster to ease my effort up the climb, also down the back straight I could also rest a bit.
After 10 minutes we had a rider go off the front and another soon after to chase, I made an effort to grab onto the chasing rider, but after half a lap into the wind I was done, I wasn’t going to last much longer like that, the bunch caught me quickly and I sat in to rest. My timing was quite poor as the sprint lap was immediately after which made it very difficult as I still needed some time to recover.
Twenty minutes passed, and I had achieved my goal, anything after that was a bonus I thought, but I felt good, still hanging around the back. My form was pretty poor, there were times where I was sitting too far off the rider in front and had to work in the wind, but surprisingly I felt strong. The new wheels also were a bit less forgiving than my other pair over the bumps, a couple of times I got a bit sideways while shifting to a harder gear and putting the power down over the same bump.
I dreaded the three laps to go sign as I thought i’d get dropped immediately but I was able to hold on. Unfortunately A grade weren’t too far ahead so our pace repeatedly picked up and then slowed down as we neared the bunch in front. On the last lap I felt good and so started moving up, our bunch was strung out more due to the fast pace, which it made it difficult to make progress. At the top of the climb going into the corner I had passed around half of the riders and was sitting on the inside; on the back straight I made a run up the inside. I managed to get to the corner first but A grade was so vey close. We were in two lines and I noticed the rider on the outside sit up, I was annoyed as I thought that was the end of the race and started freewheeling. A rider came up my inside which meant that I was cornering slower than I would have liked. Immediately the rider on the outside and the one behind him made a jump. A grade moved to the right thankfully so the sprint uphill was on. I pushed as hard as I could and overtook the rider on my inside but the two on the outside that jumped were out of reach. I was gaining on 2nd place but the line came too soon.
I can’t express how happy I am with third place tonight. I went into the race hoping to last 20 minutes. After the race I thought the bunch wasn’t very strong and it was just a slow race, but looking at the lap times now I think i’ve simply just underestimated my current level. This was my second placing in C grade, so hopefully i’ll be moving up to B grade soon :)
|Average Speed:||38.62 km/h|