However as they say in football 'it's a game of two half's' and Zappi's is a race of two half's. One half flat good draining turf on a sandy soil base. And the other half up down off camber muddy sandy hillside. I know which half I prefer.
So to the racing. I've been gridded again on the front row which is always good, though as I look about me I can see that all these guys can beat me, no pressure. We get the usual 15 seconds to go, a quick check of the cleats and we're sent off. I've realised that it's not best to be the first man so I settle into fourth. That's fine until we hit the first small climb and I find it quite easy to move up. I'm now in second place behind Chris McCleod so far so good. Next is the big drop before 'the climb' I take a silly risk on the descent to be first on the climb, but as soon as I dismount for the run I'm overtaken in numbers. At the top the chase starts, I'm desperate not to lose any more places so I push a gear that takes me outside of my comfort zone, but I'm solo and I can't catch the bunch up the road. I riding pretty well, but everyone is very close, my mind can't make itself up, do I chase or avoid capture? I'm at the hill again, this time the only man to pass me is the eventual winner Simon Tottle who just glides by as if he is out for a Sunday pootle.
At this point I'm just doing my best, a few guys go past and I hope they're in the younger vets race. If I can see someone up ahead I just try to catch them, it's all got a bit messy by now. The hill is demoralizing me, and I'm cursing Keith and his Trisports team mates for having 'running' legs. And to top it off I can see that my long term foe is making ground on me.