domingo, 2 de marzo de 2014

My second race at CycloPark

The dirtiest bike in the race today (and yes, I forgot to remove the light)
Not sure when or why I decided to ride from home to CycloPark but it was not the best of my ideas. I didn't know the route and Strava gave me one with lots of turns, traffic lights and some off road tracks. I wanted to be as fresh as possible for the race so I rode very slowly. It took me 2h 31m to ride 57km. 

Still arrived with enough time to say hello to my fellow Wheelers, eat a banana, a piece of chocolate and an energy bar, and to sit in the ground to rest a bit while watching the end of the 3rd cat race. It looked a hard race from the outside.

3rd cat race ended late so we only had five minutes to warmup. It was nice to see Nathan, it was him the one that said hello, I couldn't recognized him in his new kit.

Waiting Tranquilo as per rule #80
I don't care about rule #80, this position is more comfortable
This was a 4th cat only race. 70 riders lined up and behind our race a women race, not sure how long after.

I had ridden here in early December and in that race I was dropped in the 8th/15 laps and I knew this is a technical circuit so my plan was to be near the front all race, try to hold on the pace and try to take advantage of a straight home that I think suits me.

I have to say it. That was a great plan. Being near the front means you have more space in the hairpin bends, it also means you have to break less and, therefore, you have to put less power to get out of the bend. Once I experienced that I knew it for a fact, they would have to kill me to get out of that position.

And it was not easy to keep it. Everyone was sprinting out of every corner and everyone was attacking the bunch. As always I was trying to be alert to everything that was happening but I have to admit that around the 3th or 4th lap I had no idea how many riders were ahead. I was lost; but, hey, I had a plan and stuck to it.

Another characteristic of this circuit is there is not such thing as constant pace. The pace is constantly changing. Whether or not we will get out of a corner accelerating like if it were the final sprint looked kind of random to me. This is excellent training for me, because I'm not used to ride that way. I have to confess it killed me but I also loved it. On Monday I'm booking my appointment with the doctors.

At some point it looked like we were all together. I wasn't sure if that was the case but it didn't bother me too much, I was not going to change how I was racing.

Half way through the race we lapped the women race. Another good reason to be at the front in a circuit as many bends as this one. Only a few riders will be able to pass a peloton between two bends, if you are not in the front you will have to break to accommodate your speed to the peloton speed, and that means you'll have to sprint after the bend to catch up with the riders at the front.

In one of the hairpin bends the rider in front of me touched the ground with his right pedal and he fell making a terrible noise. Luckily I manage to go around him and sprint to cover the push the riders on the front took when they heard the crash. That was a close one.

We were passing lots of riders, some of them riding alone, some in pelotons. At some point I looked back for the first time and I was surprised to find out we were 15 or 20 riders. It looked like we had lapped pretty much the whole field.

When the 5 to go sign was up the group accelerated as we were crossing the line and for the next two laps I was at my limit. With 3 to go the group took a rest for two laps. But when we approaching to the bell everyone was sprinting like if we hadn't another lap to ride. I was dying. My wife and my daughter swear they hear me scream "I can't", but I don't recall it.

Last lap was my personal record according to Strava but when we approached the final straight I knew I was not going to win. I pushed but when we were passing under the bridge I was already out of gas. I think I did around 15th, definitively out of the top 10.

Crossed the line and I realized how hard I was riding. It took me ages to get my breath back.

Overall I'm reasonably happy with the race. I'm happy with how I raced and how comfortable felt cornering from the front of the group. 

I was not even close to win but I was there until the last meters. I missed a fresher legs in the final push, but that is fine when looking at the numbers I find the race was hard work for me (96 TSS 0.955 IF in 1h03m) and I remind myself the work I've done during the week and that I had ridden to the course. It'll pay off in the future.

Take care
Javier Arias González

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