The first race of the season is always a tough one. Your legs normally feel like they've been pummelled with a hammer by the end, and it leaves you mentally mixed up too.
Today was no exception. I suffered like a dog at times, felt good at others, and was reminded by a big crash at the end, that you need to be on your toes at every single moment during a race.
Luckily for me, the crash was a few bike lengths back from me, and I rode away untouched. I really hope the guys that weren't so lucky are OK and heal fast; it's everyone's nightmare and very sobering, especially at the start of the season.
E.1.2 circuit races are a mix of flat out attacks, and lulls of moderate (25-30mph) speeds. If you're a punchy rider you can jump on the attacks and hopefully one gets away. If you're a diesel engine (like me) you tend to motor around holding onto as many attacks as you can and hoping the bunch splits with the pace.
Today was very much like that. I was towards the front of the bunch for most of the race; I got on several breaks, but none came good. I even tried a solo break off the front in the hope that someone might join it, but it wasn't going to be. The really apparent thing was my lack of top end power though; the real oomph that only comes with more racing. It was a very good block of training at least.
After one hour of jumping heart rates and a lot of over-threshold efforts, it looked like it would come down to a bunch sprint (although a group of four apparently got a lap up - I have no idea when that happened?!).
The crash happened on the last lap, so the bunch sprint was very much a half hearted push, with the realisation that there was a rider was on the ground a few metres past the finish line. I eased off and I think crossed the line in around 15th.
Anyway, first race down, and a bit of a wake up call to get my head screwed on better and find the breaks that will work. Racing in a pack was a bit of a reawakening too; 45 riders on that circuit is a close knit group, and it took a while to feel comfortable.
It's done now though, and time to move onto the next one, keep training and take things up a level as the season really begins to start.
Sunday, 9 March 2014
Saturday, 8 March 2014
We're getting there, all of a sudden things are coming together to start racing this season.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, 2014 sees me changing teams from Wightlink RT to Team Wiggle. This move is to tie in with my "new" (now over 6 months in) role in the marketing team at Wiggle, and I'm proud to represent the brand out on the racing circuit.
I still regularly ride with the Wightlink boys, and I'm sure we'll work with each other at races. They continue to be great mates.
Anyway, onto progress...
A few weeks ago it wasn't looking great from a preparation perspective; I didn't have a licence, I didn't have a race bike, and I didn't have any races entered. Bring that forward to now and I have a race bike, a licence and my first race is tomorrow afternoon! Relief and excitement are there in equal measure!
Later in the year, hopefully in a month or so, Team Wiggle will all be on matching Felt Bikes (probably the F2 or the AR2), but rather than racing on the Planet X for the first few months of the year (it's taken a bit of a battering this past winter), I decided that I needed (rather desperately) a fresh race bike.
Most of you will have spotted that I've been testing a Mekk Poggio 1.5 for the past few weeks, and I've been very impressed by it. It's a superb value bike, with a great carbon frame and durable components (see my review on the Wiggle Blog).
The brand is a great new name to the industry, and producing some super bike packages. I decided that I would love to try a Mekk Primo (their race orientated frame) out on the race circuit; so now seemed a great chance to do so.
I'll write a full review on the Wiggle Blog soon, but the Mekk Primo is a great bike; an aero frame, with Shimano Ultegra components and a set of Saturae 50mm carbon clinchers (new brand under the same founders as Mekk). I took it for a first spin today, so I'm looking forward to getting more feedback at the race tomorrow.
There will be a new design Wiggle kit coming in a month or so, but for now we're in last year's black and orange. I just need to find some orange sunglasses and helmet to match now!
Tomorrow is the first of the Mountbatten circuits, and I'll be aiming to do as many as I can this year. As well as closed circuit racing I'm aiming to do several stage races including the Tour of the Milburys and the Ras de Cymru. On top of that there will hopefully be numerous other smaller races around the South of England.
Time to go and prepare the bike and kit for tomorrow. Look out for a race report tomorrow evening!
Friday, 28 February 2014
- Just over 1000 miles, that's still a bit down on the norm, but then February is a short month right?!
- Average speed kept low by a lot of commuting, but things are starting to accelerate on the training front
- Things are gradually coming together for the 2014 season, which starts next weekend! Boom! Just in time!