Talk about diving in at the deep end. I dived into this event with lead weights attached and no water wings and sank like a stone. Only a week after doing my first time trial I entered my first road race. Now that’s a bit hasty I can here you saying, it was, but what an experience.
I’d been in touch with the organisers about entering on the day and the offered to put me in with the vets but I’d opted to go out with my own age group as I wouldn’t make the start for the vets race. Seeing the speed of vets go round had me thinking have I done the right thing here.
Other signs were not obvious at first but they all add up. I was the only one riding that I could see using a triple, the only one who didn’t shave their legs, wore team kit instead of club colours. The Toy looked like costume jewelery to some of the bling bikes there.As for the wheels, I can see why there are full page ads in the comic, they are a must have.
Circulating in the paddock was quite calming and after the warm up I watched the end of the vets race. They were doing around 7 minute laps.
Next thing we are called to the line where Val on camera duty took this shot. The route was expained to us and we were off. Now I would have to say I got a bad start, My free foot would not go into the pedal twice. It’s bad enough once but waiting for the pedal to swing into position twice was bad news.
The whole pack is tearing down the hill to Lodge and I’m going backwards through the pack. We are riding the track in reverse direction by the way. The speed is unbelievable but I claw a place or two back by going around the outside at Lodge. It is already getting strung out and I’m hanging on for grim death. It is here that you feel the effects of being on the edge of the bunch as you feel the wind dragging you back and riders on the inside powering away from you.
I manage to hang on to the bunch until the Shell banked hairpin. It is about here I start to loose touch, I’m not last but realise things are about to get a whole lot harder. Not only that I’ve got the broom wagon (ambulance) on my tail and I haven’t completed the lap.
If you have a lgoodook at the next picture you can see how far behind I am after one lap, I’m about to move over to let the broom wagon past, if you’ve good eyesight I’m just to the right of it.
Only 9!!! laps to go.
Now around Druids there is a rider who has dropped off the back and is waiting for the bunch to come around. As I come up to him I see the he is a junior rider.
Are you first he asks, “No, third…….. from last!” I reply. I’m waiting for the group to come around he says, ” You don’t want to get effin lapped, come on” was the retort.
He picks up his pace and we start to circulate. Around Island bend we see the two riders that are behind us coming down Hill Top and around the forth lap they are being pursued by a massive pack of about 60 riders. There is nothing down for us we are going to get lapped and soon too.
Towards the end of my fifth lap the freight train steams past. I move wide on The Avenue to let them past, there is no chance of me matching the pace of the front runners. Their average is about 5 mph better than mine, but there is hope of hanging on the back. As the finishing line comes up I’m just about hanging on. Now on this lap I better my average lap time by about 50 seconds. It just goes to show how staying in the bunch conserves energy, my trouble is staying with the bunch.
|Time||Distance||Av Spd||M Spd||HR||Energy|
I’m at the back hanging on for dear life with a few others, four I think and then we drop off the back of the main bunch. I can’t contribute anything I’ve been lapped.Any way the next lap isn’t too bad but as Old Hall comes up and the pit lane exit comes up three of them peel off and enter the pit lane. I glance across wondering what is going on. I’m on my own again, mind you when your dropped you are back in time trial mode, just you against yourself.
4 laps to go for some reason the others pulled up short. Lets forward to my last lap. I’ve been thinking about getting lapped again. I’m thinking about just hanging on in there. Well at Shell bend and the run up to Island two riders have made a break. Somehere between Lakeside and Cascades I’m passed. Having seen the lead these guys have I think I’m in with a chance of finishing before the main bunch. Not a chance.
I’m sticking to my line up Dentons and the Avenue as there is nowhere else to go.
I am an inch from the white line and the other side of it is grass. Having the first two sail past you was OK the other 50 odd is a different matter. I’ve upped my pace a bit as this is the final section of the course. They stream past with millimetres to spareand the pressure eases as Old Hall comes up.The racing line has switched side of the track so I not in danger of being forced off the track anymore. The final run to the line is a bit of an anticlimax, I’m a lap down and have been passed by most of the field twice.
I don’t know if anyone else has any data like this but I was averageing 160 BPM for 1 hour 11 minutes. There wasn’t much more to give and I don’t know what to do to up my pace to a level to stay with the group. I spent well over 20 miles on my own and the data reflects that. If I’d gone out with the vets things might have been a little different, I may have been able to stay with the group but then I would have been riding outside my age group. Having said that some of the feild could have been a third my age and I had a good few years on most.