Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Central CXL Round 1 Hillingdon

Here we go again, it's another season, it's the same old place, but there's a new format to the racing this year. The Central League had grown, such is the popularity of cycling, that something had to be done. With some races attracting  near to 200 riders last year, that something was done at the last AGM. The changes that affected me were the shortened race, now 40 minutes. And the separate start for vets, vets 50 plus and women. Being a V50+ this was very welcome as I'd now be racing on a level playing field, which is an ironic phrase considering! I should say I was a bit peeved about the shorter race, more about that later.
First it was hellos and handshakes to all the  old faces not seen since the end of the 2012 season. And a chance to compare expanding bellies. With the pleasantries done it was off for a warm up. The recce confirmed it was pretty similar to the last race here, with the exception of an extra hurdle on a hill. The going was dry, and the air was warm with a stiff little breeze. Pretty welcoming for the first one of the year. barring a puncture this would be at the very least okay.
So to the start. In our race there are Juniors, the vets, the vet 50's and the women's race.. The juniors have been sent off, the vets are sent off a little later and we are waiting. I get gridded front row..yeah. The Juniors and vets are out of sight, we get a few seconds then the whistle goes, we're off.
It's 40 minutes, I rag that on the turbos. In the space of a second I decide to go for it. I get right to the front and I'm the first into the off road.
into the lead

 Already I realise the error of my ways, I'm leading the whole race into a headwind and on a course where you can over take at any point, I don't want to be on the front so I weave about, but my wheel is being well and truly sucked dry. Eventually three riders pass, I've effectively launched them. I can't grab a wheel and I need time to put my lungs back, so I hold on. I'm now locked in a battle with a Palmer Park rider, it's proper racing and we both know it. At the time I thought we were fighting for 4th place. The two of us close and open, and all the time I'm aware of a Finchley RT rider baring down on us. The pace is taking us past the vets that started before us and we're neck and neck, but ride very differently. The Finchley RT rider catches me, but over cooks the over take and crashes and doesn't really bother again, though I know he will at other races.
Milton Keynes, Belgian and Palmer Park

Next is my second and biggest mistake. I mistake the bell lap for the final lap. Convinced I'm racing for the chequered flag I catch my man and pass him just before the line, but instead of the flag i hear the bell. The Palmer Park rider is now on my wheel on part of the course where I don't want him to be. I'm lost and know it. I tow him along until he quite rightly pulls out and goes for it. I clean my last lap and cross the line in 6th.
So the 40 minutes? much better, proper fast and furious racing. And anyway we were out for 53 minutes.
For 2013 I have new guys to race, and I've never been so excited about my season. With a few tactical tweeks I hope to do better, or at the very least remain consistent.

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