Today, I had one of my most disappointing races EVAR!
I lined up in A grade for the first time, although I'd had one relatively successful start with Scratch in the final round of the Balfour Pennington Series. It was quite a quick start, heading north from Gorrie Road, over cowpat, to Maymorn Hall, for the turn around.
My legs never felt good, but my technique really sucked around the sharp corners and the turn. Each time, I had to chase hard to get back on, and each time took its toll. Over cowpat heading south, I got gapped, and the three riders in front of me themselves had been gapped (ThingOne, Tom Paulin and Steve Scott). Chris Kendall was on my wheel, and unbeknownst to me, there were at least another four behind him.
Chris and I chased the three in front for what seemed like an eternity, and we never really made any headway. They were about 100-200m up the road, tantalisingly close, but getting no nearer. About 5 minutes away from the Avian Road turnaround, I simply gave up. I was focussing on catching them - it seemed like a decent goal - but I realised I'd given pretty much all I had to do it, and the ill-fated attempt had me spent. I failed to hold Chris' wheel as he pulled through, and I pulled the plug right then and there.
I rode on to the turnaround, somewhat embarrassed at the sight of the bunch and their pursuers, Chris on his own, charging along. Shortly after the turn, the foursome approached, and Al Crossling pulled around to ride home with me. We chatted, and rode like we might on a cruisy long ride, had the (now) three remaining A-graders blast past us, and finally we got caught by B-grade, who we tucked in at the back of for the few kilometres back to the school, where my support crew were waiting to cheer me on. At least they were able to support the others out there doing it tough. We watched A-grade shoot past well into their second lap, and then B-grade some minutes later. Then, a ride back to the finish to announce a DNF, and watch the sprints...
What went wrong? The simplest answer, and perhaps the easiest for me to stomach, is that I was outclassed. Excuses? Maybe my nutrition and sleep weren't really up to scratch over the week. I'd not done much riding since BP4 on account of being busy, and all the damn rain. I can't expect my unexpected form at BP to look after me for ever... I hadn't had a decent warm up - 20 minutes of low intensity riding with Chris (!!!!).
Simon asked me what went through my mind at the moment I was dropped. I told him I wasn't sure, but I certainly didn't process the various scenarios of giving everything I needed to get onto Clive's wheel vs spending the next 20 minutes in a 2-up time trial, and then DNFing.
Lessons? I either need to get my cornering sorted, or be at the front when we go through. I need to ride my bike more often. I need to eat properly. Blowing a race, and then pulling out really sucks. Not a proud day for me today. I'm really not sure I can say I gave it my best...
Originally published on vorb