Nervous doesn’t quite come close to be honest. I don’t know whether it’s just because I’m always quite vocal with how nervous I get with these kind of things but it doesn’t seem that nerves effect others like it does me! I’m beside myself, can’t think straight and my tummy depletes into a frenzied conglomerate of mush.
If I’d wrote this post another 10 minutes ago it would have been a heavily disheartened post but since I’ve just found out that despite my crash I’ve still be awarded my 7th place! Ecstatic doesn’t even come close.
It began with 3 warm up laps just steady away… I couldn’t really get a feel for the course as I had absolutely no idea what pace would be set so it was nothing but a tense sally round… All I knew is I wanted to be at the front.
There had been lots of talk about tactics and where people wanted to be during the race, what they were going to try and do, if they were going to do any work at the front.
Whether it was the right thing to do or not, I wanted to be at the front. I knew it was a 30 minute race and that I had the physical ability to push hard for that length of time and that’s what I was going to do.
Being in the middle meant a bulky group with added sketchy riding, something I wasn’t willing to bother with. Whether it was actually like that I’m not too sure and can’t really pass judgement as for much of the race I was in the top 5.
I felt strong pretty much the whole way through the race. There was attacks every now and then, but I found I pretty much had to push my way into the main line some times…
After we were told 10 laps left the pressure was soon put on… I wanted to keep to the front so even though the pack seemed to spread to two I still maintained my line… After doing 2 laps on the front a gent beside said “You’re playing games here aren’t you!”
I knew he was talking about the speed I was pushing as I didn’t let up, I replied in a jokey tone; “Just want to keep everyone’s heart rate pacing that’s all! Anyway, isn’t it about time you do some work aye”
“Yeah fair play! Next lap” He replied, so I finished my lap and let him take the lead. This is what happened next…
Pot luck that the second corner he took his tub came off. It looks like it’s pedal strike that actually initiates the crash but in honesty I’m not too sure how you could manage that on such a corner. Either way it took me out good, in a kind of ‘ Jamaican Bob Slay TEAM’ mind set (yes it actually went through my head hahaha).
I really wanted to finished the race. I knew there was absolutely no way I’d catch them up as they were already half a lap ahead of me before I put my chain back on and joined the circuit again. I got back to the finish line and asked if I could join the peloton again as to which I was told yes I could. It was a rather uncertain/unsure yes as I don’t think they knew whether my lap out could be allowed or disallowed. Either way, I just wanted to finish and do my best, push as hard as possible so I didn’t feel like I’d not put in 100%.
I joined the peloton right at the back. Sounds a little amateur but it was a completely different experience being at the back than it was being at the front. I mean obviously it was, but I really struggled ‘within the pack’ as opposed to at the front. It was so difficult to find a line, a safe line to push forward on. At that point I had absolutely no idea how many laps were left but I knew it was now or never.
I felt a mix of emotions in the final few laps, mainly being rage and disappointment. I made some rather foolish and adrenaline fuelled manoeuvres to try and gain places but it just resulted in either sketchy (as in making an attempt at pushing forward and then suddenly realising it was super dangerous) or coming off on the grass which did nothing but slow me down. It was on the second to last lap I saw a small line right to the front. Their wasn’t a great seal of space from the track to the grass side but I knew this was my last chance.
2/3 clicks up I had to put everything in to get within the top 10. If I remember right by this point we were at the 2nd to last bend, the hairpin. The final sprint was brutal.
I gave everything, every last ounce of breath in my lungs, pushed past a fellow Alba Rosa and had 1 other gent in front to the right. He was my ‘brake point’ I can’t think of a better way to describe it to be honest. Getting in front of him was my last goal, I had nothing to loose and in some sense at that point I was a mix of emotion unsure as to whether my efforts were all to waste or actually worth something. In honesty I was purely thinking from a respect point of view. OKAY I’d missed a lap but I’d come off pretty bad and lost my original place which wasn’t going to be easy to get back, 7th place is where I finished. But at the time I was under the impression it was disallowed.
After the race I was told that it was just unlucky that I missed out on the points and that the last lapped rider had already been called.
Much to my surpise later on this evening I’ve been told that actually my place has been confirmed! Ecstatic doesn’t even come close!!!
Here’s to an interesting first race and hopefully not many more of the same to come!