|The only moment I leaded the race|
Tom was the first opening the fire, very early in the race. He went away and very quickly he got a decent gap. Barry was fast moving to the front of the bunch and trying to slow the pace. I followed suit and very quickly we found ourselves riding two abreast and keeping a moderate pace. It wasn't long until we heard loud complains that we were slowing the peloton. A couple of riders took the lead and we sat on their wheels and as soon as they slowed down we moved up again. This lasted a good while. Tom's lead was not increasing but was not decreasing either.
A UK Army (or was it UK Navy, not sure now [Alex Snow confirmed it was a UK Navy rider ;-)]) rider took the lead and pushed very hard reducing Tom's gap. We were on his wheel and behind us the rest of the peloton. I told Barry, let him go, if they are two they'll have more chances; and we eased a bit letting him go. Not sure if that was the right decision but my point was, if we were to continue sitting on his wheel he would probably lead the whole peloton to catch Tom. I figured that if we let him go he would catch Tom and both would have the chance to work together while we were trying to control the bunch.
Anyway, away he went and ended up catching Tom. They managed to work together and keep away for a few more laps, but around 15 mins into the race they both were brought back.
I knew that was a good moment for an attack so I got myself in a good position. It was a good call, very soon I felt a rider passing us on my right. He was going really fast so had I to push hard to jump after him. I had time to hear a rider exhaling like meaning "oh no, another attack". I was working hard trying to close the gap with the rider that was away. The shame is I couldn't. After what seemed like an eternity, and the numbers revealed to be a mere 45 seconds, it was clear the bunch was closing the gap quickly so I soft-pedalled. When they caught us I hid in the middle of the peloton ashamed with my futile attack and hoping the attacks stop for a little while so I could get my breath back.
I was lucky because nothing really happened from there. A few pushes, Tom tried again, but the peloton kept together until the last laps.
I am convinced the trick on this track is to be well positioned in the last two laps. Fourth or fifth wheel, towards the centre/right side of the track.
And there I was. And the final push after the bell felt manageable. I was fourth in the final straight and I was happy with it.
Unfortunately I saw a TCC rider passing me on the line on my right. He was Rob, the TCC rider that got our sprint for the twenty-something position last week in Longcross.
Bitter sweet feeling. Happy because I placed again in a race and circuit that I honestly think does not suit me but, again, with the feeling that I could have done better both sprinting and defending the 4th position.
Next thing I have to try when I race is to imagine the line 20 meters further than where it really is. That should help me first to avoid jumping to early and second to easing too early.
Good learning day.
The race in Strava (btw Strava says today I did my PR in the last 200m but that is not relevant because today was not as windy as the other occasions I raced in Preston Park)
Jasmijn's comment on her today's great win gave me a clue of what I might have been doing wrong. "I went early for the 'sprint' but forgot to get out of the saddle...[still she took the win]". I just realized that this feeling of "I could have done more" is because I'm not getting out of the saddle which, I think, leads me to feel it was not really a sprint. Sprint practice this week to test this theory :-)
Javier Arias González