domingo, 21 de septiembre de 2014

Surrey League Handicap Championship (Norwood Paragon)

This is a E/1/2/3/4 handicap race. My first handicap race.

I'm not sure about the criteria the organizers followed to create the groups and the order in which they were sent. But I was a bit surprised so see a few Kingston Wheelers definitively stronger than me way before my group was called.

Still I was happy with my group out of about 10 riders 5 were Kingston Wheelers and that meant we had good chances of ride in good order taking proper turns.

Well that lasted for about 1:30 minutes (and I'm actually looking my power profile). That was the time that took my turn to come and at that time I already was at my limit. 4:40 into the race, only 2.8 kilometers and I was thinking "there is no way I can keep with this pace, I'm not finishing this race".

And here is the thing, we were not riding that fast. It wasn't a mental pace. I think I still need to work a bit more in my warmup. Because after the first 5 or 6 minutes we entered in a phase of 50 minutes where the pace was totally fine for me. Yes, we had a few pushes but nothing that took me close to the limit. It is just the first push that I need to be better prepared for.

With about an hour into the race we were caught by a faster group and that was the signal to jump on their group and stop taking any turns. The game was now a matter of survival.

A bit messy at the beginning, a couple of Wheelers went away with a third rider and the peloton looked all spattered in small groups. I knew there were still one or two groups ahead because I was missing a few Wheelers, but at some point it was impossible to know how many people had ridden away from the group. A feeling I don't like because it leaves me not knowing what to do. Should I try to bridge to the next group? sit and wait?

About 10 minutes later the scratch group caught us. I knew because I saw a Wheeler that is 1st cat. That was a good signal because now I knew to which group I had to try to stick to.

And honestly it didn't felt that difficult. I could even move up a few positions to be better positioned for the "climb" that was coming. Funny enough when I look at the numbers those were my peak 10 minutes in terms of average power. But the point is I passed the climb without a problem and by that point I was already feeling that I was going to finish in the bunch.

Well that was until 5 minutes later the guy riding ahead of me lost the grip on his front wheel and went down. Without any hope I went down as well and the guy behind me. And that was it. My heart rate jumped 10bpm in one second, my speed went from 40km/h to 0 in the same second and the race was over.

Luckily I didn't hurt myself, just a few scratches, my helmet got an impact (I'm in the market for a new helmet, again) and my front wheel twisted a couple of spokes. Time to call it a day and head to the finish line. 1:18:55, 52.5km, not exactly the kind of workout I was expecting (Is it too geek if I mention that I was worried about not hitting my target TSS for the week?).

I have a few more that I shouldn't post pictures of
Not much more to add. Made it to the finish line and relaxed there in the sun watching the rest racing and taking a video of each time they crossed the line.

The ride in Strava

Take care
Javier Arias González

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