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Race 4 of the year and a Win!

JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
edited May 2017 in Amateur race
Race 1 – cancelled due to fog/visibility, literally couldn’t see more than 50 yards in front of you which was sketchy to say the least on open roads!

Race 2 – Scratch Road race on a 7 lap course that has some longish drags, in fact the second half of the lap always seems to be going uphill till you turn the corner to the finishing line, I got excited on lap 4 and attacked on the approach to the climb, got caught halfway up and spat out of the back very quickly!

Race 3 – Handicap Road race of 2 laps of a very testing course, start and finish line is open and exposed, the race only has 3 climbs which are all taken at full tilt and with the worst climb nearing 26-27% at the top. My division was caught with 8km to go by the top division and I managed to hang on for 13th, I had worked hard for the whole race on the front to try to keep us away from the chasers and it almost worked, however I had taken myself into the red too often and had nothing left for the sprint as I found when I got into 6th wheel on the approach, got out of the saddle to launch and went backwards!! :lol:

So on to Race 4, it was a divisional race on the same circuit as the one I had been dropped on in race 2, I had unfinished business here and was determined to be there at the end. Luckily this race was not handicapped or scratch so I was racing against guys of a similar ability to me so fancied my chances a bit, I had worked hard on my climbing and power over the winter and as the climb is not a hard one I knew I could sit in and hang on till the top each lap, then as it flattened use my power to force the pace a bit.

My club mates and I had hatched a strategy, I am a quick finisher and can usually win a sprint if I am fresh (ish), so as the best chance of a win for the club I was to sit in for the first 6 laps of an 8 lap race, I had 3 other team mates in the race who would sit in and cover the breaks for the first 4-5 laps and make sure one of them was in everything that went, lets force everyone else to chase so we get an easy ride.

7.15am and the race starts, there is a big field for this race of 23 riders, the course has been risk assessed as the max is 44 riders and there were 3 divisions riding today, the top boys being Island Games riders and very fast, and then the division 3 guys below us who are new to racing. I settle in to the bunch around half way down and just keep out of trouble, we take the first left hand bend and start to descend to the start of the climb, it’s a long fast descent with a shallow left followed by a sharp right at the bottom which goes straight into the climb, it’s a power climb so can be quite fast and positioning on the bend is key. First time up and no problems, sit in and wait for the attacks at the top as it flattens out, and on que as we hit the top, riders start pinging off but not getting far and are chased down, we are all together as we continue round. The road is undulating here and a couple of riders try their luck and stretch us out a bit, but as we all finish lap 1 we are all together.

It stays this way until the top of the climb on Lap 3 when one of my team mates attacks hard on the climb way before anyone else was expecting it, he opened up 200m very quickly before the other teams got organised and started to chase, now my team mate is a very strong rider and in his day raced in France quite a bit so knows how to suffer, his lead stayed for the rest of the lap as the other kept chasing only bringing him back at the bottom of the climb on lap 4. As we approached the top of the climb this time round, I found myself towards the front of the race and one rider from a rival team had gone off the front and had around 50m, I knew he was a strong rider and thought I can’t let him go so accelerated to close the gap thinking I would bring everyone with me, as I caught him I glanced around and nobody was chasing, so I went straight to the front and said “let’s go we have the gap”, and that was it both of put our heads down and went!

By the end of lap 5 we had 30 seconds and were working well together, sharing turns to try and stay away, I was very conscious to not do too much work as I knew he was a very strong rider and if I started to flag would drop me, so I led the climbs at my pace and did my share on the flat trying to gauge when we had a slight tailwind, I thought tactics were best employed to conserve energy as much as possible.,

At the end of lap 6 we had 40 seconds and were out of sight, at the end of lap 7 at the bell we had 45 seconds and we both started to feel tired but were still working well, surely we must have it in the bag now, we started to watch each other closely.

On lap 8 on the descent to the corner to start the climb the motorbike outrider leading us round was around 75m in front of us, but as (bad) luck would have it a car pulled out in-between us and the bike, he saw this and pulled to the left so she could overtake which she duly did and we were behind the bike again, however the old dear in the car then slowed down to around 20mph on the approach to the right hand corner forcing the motor bike and both of us in the break to lose all momentum into the corner as we were on her back bumper, we slowed to around 10mph and were fuming, a couple of quick revs from the motorbike (it was a R1 and made a hell of a noise) and she glanced in her mirror and realised we were there and she sped up and off we went again, I guess we lost around 20 seconds to the bunch at that point so they were 25 seconds behind us now and could see us again.

We continued to work past the top of the climb and to the corner by the church which was around 3.5km from the finish as we rounded the bend I was in front and heard the clicking of Di2 and my breakaway companion attacked and he managed to get 10m on me quickly, I responded and didn’t panic and managed to ride back up to his wheel, there was no way I was coming past him now! He kept working towards the final corner with me on his wheel when we (and the lead motorbike) were overtaken by a car who then stopped to let a car out of a junction, we all came to a complete standstill with the bunch only 20 seconds behind us and travelling at speed! The car went and the bike sped off, we picked it back up with me in the wheel, still was no way I was coming past. As we hit the final left into the finish straight the bunch were literally 10m off my wheel, there was still 350m to go and too far for me to sprint but I had no choice, I could feel the rest of them closing, so I clicking into 52 x 11 and went, head down and leave everything on the road, as I was approaching the line I was sure I was going to be passed, my legs were on fire and I was slowing quickly, I glanced down through my legs and realised I had extended my lead away from everyone and had at least 10m if not more, so I sat up and raised one arm as a kind of victory salute, it’s all I could muster.

It turns out from speaking to my team mates that after we went in the break, my team and his team just sat up as was planned, but for some reason the others just didn’t get organised, there were a few attempts at bridging the gap, but the moves were covered for the best part or just fizzled out. The pace only picked up on the last lap and if it wasn’t for the fact we lost momentum on 2 separate occasions due to traffic we would have finished 30 seconds ahead of the field. One of my team mates also just got pipped for second, so we ended up with a first and third.

It was a good day out and the bacon and egg rolls were well deserved afterwards!
Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!


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