Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My First Race Day this Year

My first race this year was a criterium race held at Barkstone Heath R.A.F air strip by Spalding CC. My dad even came along to show support and take photos for this post - Thanks Dad :D

So the race consisted of 2/3/4th Cat riders which meant this race would be pretty similar to a lot of the races I did last year and boy did it turn out that way. For the first couple of laps I felt really good, I was following wheels well and riding more comfortably than expected, considering the amount of training I had done leading upto this event. This was only a minor race for me so I didn't allow my self much recovery before the race.

There was two hairpin bends on the course and by the 3rd lap I could feel the lactic acid burning every time I accelerated out of those corners which took me by surprise because I was accelerating a whole lot quicker than everyone else and I wasn't even trying. My main thought at this point was to hang on and go for a sprint at the end, unfortunately on the 4th lap people started falling off the back of the pack. I had my work cut out for me because I had been sat at the back most of the time trying to dodge any trouble that may happen in the 1st lap.

Gaps kept opening as people were blowing up and getting shelled out the back, I knew I had made a dumb move sitting at the back. I had to keep bridging gaps and sprinting to catch up with the pack, finally I managed to get back on, it was no use though I had spent all my energy closing gaps and chasing the pack down. So on the 5th lap it was my turn to get shelled :(

I was gutted but I kept riding round as I knew at some point towards the end we would get lapped and I might be able to gain some more pack riding experience for my big race next weekend. There were four riders behind me now who had all been beaten up by the brutal speed of the main group so I decided to sit up and join them in the hope we might recover and possibly even get back on to the main group again. Some other guy dressed in red (I didn't see any writing on his kit) and me gave a few big efforts to catch back on but we got spent pretty quickly and the 3 other guys didn't look like they had left much in them. So we all worked a little to  keep us moving until we got lapped 3 laps before the end (about 8-9 minutes from the end of the race).

We were now back with the pack again and trying desperately to hang on, we all made the mistake of staying at the back once again and the 2 slower guys got spat out really quickly I am not sure what happened to the 3rd guy but he wasn't with us when we joined the pack.

On this course there was 2 hairpin bends at opposite ends of the course and a 90 degree bend that set you up to shoot up a hill and into a really wide 20ft  corner marked off by a cone and then into a long straight for the finish.

After only one lap with the pack I found my self getting pinned in on the really wide 20ft bend marked off by a cone at the back of the pack. I took the inside line on a corner and some idiot who was sitting almost shoulder to shoulder with me accelerated and came across my front wheel. There was almost no time for me to react and I was down before I knew what the hell had just happened. I rolled to a stop, realised that I had just crashed and the disappointment set in instantly. I wasn't hurt, but I looked at my lovely TCR and my brand new Ultegra levers and saw it had taken a battering, my carbon wheels looked ok however. After lying on the grass for a few minutes my dad had wandered over from his photo spot and asked me if I was ok.

When I got up to wander back to the car I noticed a nice new crack in my top tube from where the handle bars had spun round and smashed the pretty carbon frame :(

I am really disappointed with the outcome of the race but I have to say that I had a lot of fun bombing round that track and I wouldn't hesitate to go back and try again with more rest.
As for the the TCR, well I shall have my attempt at repairing her and see how it goes... I WILL NOT GIVE IN! :D

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