|Magic KT Tape!|
Saturday morning arrived, and there was a slight improvement in the leg, so I figured I'd chance it, taking the camera just in case I had to pull out. The drive down went well, with minimal traffic, and a crossing of the impressive Dartford bridge (although I've always been crap at structural engineering, I still marvel at such structures!), and we arrived in plenty of time. Sign on done, peanut butter and banana bagels consumed, we set out to check out the track with the womens race in progress. Having watched a few YouTube videos, the track looked a lot narrower, and the hairpins a lot tighter! Being on the Dart estuary it was also windy...really bloody windy!
Getting cold, we decided to go and warm up. I'd foolishly not brought the rollers, as I couldn't be bothered lugging them out of the shed. Resistance rollers are great, but a lot bulkier than regular. A few laps of the car park it was. The first few pedal strokes were hesitant, but something magical had happened with the advent of my new old saddle! Everything felt right, better than 6 weeks of faffing with the new one!
|Cyclopark - Top left is the exposed twisty section|
The race was off, and immediately strung out as we tentatively approached the first hairpin, regrouping on the downhill straight. A series of tight right-angles corners at the bottom of the circuit made for tricky riding, as we entered them from behind an earth banking, the full force of the wind hitting us halfway round the first! It also made for a big effort to get on a wheel on leaving the corner. Still, I managed to keep a half decent position. The final straight was nice, with a slight incline and a tailwind, the place to make up ground I thought.
As the laps wore on, there were some...let's say interesting...manoeuvres, with people darting up the inside, into non existent gaps, and a fair bit of resulting cyclocross! After about 5 laps, I decided to try and move up, taking the opportunity on the straight. This went well for the most part, until I got stuck on the inside approaching the first hairpin, having to slow right down and take the inside line. I lost a few places, but overall had gained. I stayed about mid field for a lap or two,or so I thought, until I looked back, to see a distinct lack of people behind! I thought I'd lost places, but it turned out about 20 had dropped off! I'd made a move at a good time.
|I'm sure mine was this impressive...|
I was a bit disheartened, as I was feeling good, and riding a lot better than the other week, but I figured it wasn't the end of the world. I considered dropping out, but decided getting a position was better, and who knows, a pileup might even mean I could get back on! This didn't happen, but I did pass probably another 10 - 15 other riders, which was a good mental boost, as my endurance was looking better. In the end, it turned out to be 50 odd minutes riding at over threshold HR (avg 179), so turned out to be a decent workout if nothing else!
|Race day socks (short of pictures...)|
34th after a similar push round. Interestingly, over 20 people dropped out of the race, and comments bounding round on Twitter and Strava suggested the wind had made it a really tough day. In summary plenty of positives!
Not too sure yet. Possibly a Crit at Tameside if I head North for a few days, otherwise a month of training and a return to racing in May!