A follow up on how the race went…

As Emma said, the course was 200m long with two hairpin bends – essentially this was the bike testing track for eBikes at the show, not the dedicated course available last year. For a crit it will be about 15 sprinting pedal strokes followed by coasting round a bend – repeat for 30+ minutes. No time for recovery. Some sighting laps to warm up and 25 PSI let out of the tyres meant I was finding my line and gear changes OK (I’d swapped tyres to some very grippy Mavics the night before). A fair number of people crashed just practicing, and even more slipped off line as the corners were treacherous in places.

About 25 of us lined up for the start, including Ahmed Nur (in his first race). I asked for a neutralized first lap to avoid carnage at the first corner and we were off. Tim and I taking the pace up along the back straight, past the Commisaire and I attack at the start of lap 2. Knowing that cornering will decide this race and passing will be difficult, we start to pull away immediately.

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I manage to stay on the front for 6-7 minutes and the peloton strings out. Tim and another rider come past. I’ve worked too hard (again) and struggle to hold their pace as they pull away on the straights. Third.

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A couple of minutes later I’m passed by another rider in the same team as Tim’s new friend. Fourth and time to start battling for position. 15 minutes in and I’m pulling back and finally grab his wheel. We start lapping riders. There I sit for the next 10 minutes, tight behind, and forcing the rider wide out of every bend and back onto the front. My plan is recover and attack on one of the bends with five laps called. He doesn’t look impressed with this tactic, but we have a big gap on fifth and this is for third/fourth so no need to work together. At 25 minutes Tim and his opponent lap me, and my podium rival overcooks a bend. The front wheel slide forces him wider, but he stays up. I sense he’s lost his nerve and I pull away at every subsequent corner.

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Five laps called and third is secure. Tim takes a fantastic second – particularly given his success earlier that morning. My first BC points of the season, two TCC riders on the Imperial Racing podium and one more rider in Cat3.

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The course was short, slippery and technical. My AVERAGE heart rate was a mere 181 bpm, NP 294 Watts, and the cadence trace looks like a particularly bad turbo session. It was immensely good fun and I’m obviously better suited to races where sprinting is not the deciding factor. The long train ride home and ride back from Feltham (no trains and roads still closed) was uneventful, save me carrying my precious wheels over the last remaining flood water into the village.

Kind regards,

Daren

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