After last week bad feelings. I changed my strategy for this week. The plan was forget, about having the racing in mind, just focus on preparing the Quebrantahuesos. I was still racing in Preston Park because that gave me the opportunity to race for 45 minutes and then 3 hours ride back from Brighton to home, which is a good training.
So, this week went with trainer on Monday, rest on Tuesday, trainer again on Wednesday, two hours and a half of recovery ride (my commute, so 2 rides x 1h15m) on Thursday, rest on Friday and race on Saturday. Far more workload than the previous week (260.9 and 105.7 TSS).
Another thing that I changed this week was that I made sure I had a good amount of sleep hours on Thursday and Friday. Last week was a bit of a disaster on that regard.
Finally my warm-up today was harder than last week's, 31 TSS compared to 17.1; but also for longer, around 12 minutes in two blocks (8+4 with 9 minutes stopped in between) last week compared to 30 uninterrupted minutes this week. So it was, that when the race started the first thought that crossed my mind was "man, I'm tired already".
What do you do when you are tired? Just get among the ten riders on the front and make sure a you follow the wheel of the biggest one. Forget about following TY's advice (attack the peloton at some point) and focus on hanging on.
And so I did for the whole race. Whenever I found myself loosing some positions I made sure I recovered my place near the front straight away. That worked very well because I saw all attacks coming and that allowed me to adapt my gears and pedal stroke to make sure I kept my position with as less energy as possible.
The whole race followed the same pattern. Two or three riders taking turns on the front keeping a pace that was not too hard but still hard enough to make a single line in the first ten riders. There was the odd attack, but very quickly all of them were brought back.
Before I realized we were 5 laps to go. The pace went up a bit, but nothing mental, I was still comfortably on my position.
With 2 laps to go a rider on a green jersey (number 21) attacked the peloton. But I think he was terrible doing it. The pace had slowed down for a bit so the first line was like five abreast. I was in the second line and this rider started his attack from the third line. But from the middle of the peloton!!!! There was not really any hole there, yet he pushed on. He touched my handle bar and someone's on the first line creating a mess.
Luckily everyone manage to stay on their bikes. But I remember clearly that I thought "I wish you get caught, you don't deserve to win". Anyway his attack was strong and he made quite a gap and managed to stay away for a whole lap and a half.
So now we are with half a lap to go. Everyone has been accelerating and we are getting on the rider in the green jersey very, very quickly.
We passed him in the last turn. I made sure I gave him plenty of room, he was really struggling and not riding straight. I don't know what he did but as soon as I pass him full speed I heard a nasty noise behind. I knew that meant a crash and I was sure he was involved (he was and by the look of it he was the most damaged rider, I hope he is fine anyway and he has learned the lesson). Anyway I pushed to the line and so the race finished.
The interesting thing is all this week's race figures were lower than the race in previous week (NP, TTS, HR, etc). Last week I was lapped by the peloton and this week I think I did 5th. I guess last weeks race was a lot harder...
That might also explain why this week it took me 19 minutes less to ride from Preston Park to home and it even felt easy.
Anyway, happy for my first points, a bit disappointed with my sprint (I honestly think I could have done better) and same plan for next week; meaning training week, race on Saturday and ride back home; not sure where I'm going to race though.
Jim made a great point in his comment in Strava: "Your power numbers show how much you save in terms of effort just by maintaining your position for the whole race - that's why it was easy! Well done with the points!"
Javier Arias González