First time riding this circuit. I used the warmup to take a full lap (6.5km) and very quickly I realised this was going to be a tough race. It is a challenging circuit, more challenging than Cutmill in my opinion, also the roads are wider and with better tarmac, my new favourite circuit!!!
In the briefing the commissaire told us it was 10 laps but the finish was off the circuit and uphill so there I was with no idea how the finish was.
Off we went and very quickly I found myself in the red. First three laps I was really holding there with my finger nails.
In the fourth lap I got virtually dropped at the end of the lap. And I say "virtually" because it took me all the descend, the ascend to the "tiny" hill before the end of the lap, and the whole "flat" section to get to the back of the peloton.
But once I was back everything appeared easier. Very quickly I move near the front of the group and managed to pass the climb decently. I convinced myself that was the signal that I was doing well and the rest of the race was going to be "easy".
And, in a way, that's how I felt it. Looking at the numbers it doesn't look like we had slowed down but in any case the whole effort was now more "I can survive this" than the "I'm going to die here" at the first three laps.
There I was in the 8th lap all positive feelings and suddenly I felt like the rear wheel were low. A puncture!
Raised the arm, let everyone to pass me. The commissaire car, the ambulance and there I was looking at the wheel. It didn't look that bad, so I pushed a bit aiming to get back to the group but then I felt the rim hitting the tarmac and I knew it was over. There was no neutral car and as Murphy's law predicted I was almost at the farthest point as I cold be from the HQ. Nice walk!
Mixed feelings in any case. Happy because I managed to go through the first three laps that really put me at the limit (IF 1.028, 0.981 for the whole race). Happy as well because I was feeling ok (ish) when I got the puncture; not that I was going to finish at the front but I think likely somewhere in the bunch. Happy because I found a new circuit that I like. But also disappointed because I couldn't finish and more importantly because I missed my TSS target for the week (I couldn't bother to go to Richmond Park in the afternoon, opted for sitting in front of the TV to watch Le Tour. Lazy!!!!).
Javier Arias González