Monday, 25 April 2011

The Last Week, in Cycling

A pretty hectic week it has been, with the bank holidays and such (not that I'm complaining), the amazing weather and that the road racing season is now in full flow. 

On tuesday, I completed my first Leeds Chaingang training session. A manic pack of over 60 cyclists bombing down the bypass at 30mph that terrorise the roads from Lawnswood(?) to Addingham and back. As well as completing the ride, I did several turns at the front, setting the pace and breaking the wind. 
See, a chaingang is a group of riders that rotate in a group to maintain a high speed, while the participating riders have a wheel to follow most of the time. 
Here is a better description of how it works, from the chaingang's Facebok page;

    " This method is the basic group technique adopted by a 'breakaway' group in a race situation where riders form a temporary       alliance. This is the method which is most commonly practiced on the local 'chaingang'. Usually involving at least 5 individuals, it works by creating a constantly rotating 'chain' of riders, sharing the wind workload and the shelter provided by the other riders. It is fast moving and relatively intensive, but the speed is higher in return for a greater input of energy than other methods. "

This week also saw the first Kilwick 10 mile Time-trial of the year, with a full field of 22 taking to the Skipton By-pass in a range of machines. 
I started the Time-Trial on my humble race bike, equipped with deep-section carbons.
That wednesday was a sunny, fairly still evening, and I was to be 20th person to set off, a minute after Joe Moses. 
Setting off, and all throughout the TT I felt great. Half way through the  second section, I saw Paul sat on the side of the road, with his machine propped against the barrier. He had punctured on the horrendous road surface. 
'Thats one person I'm beating tonight', I though to myself as I zoomed past.
As I circumnavigated the second roundabout and entered the 3rd section, I could just spot the red and white of Joe's kit in the distance, a first during the TT. He might be much better at climbing , but I'm better in the wind .
Filled with the new determination of catching my mate, I put my head down, and by using the white line on the side of the road as navigation, started to press that little bit harder on the pedals. 
All was going well until I bulldozed over a deep pot-hole, where the distinct gush of air escaping from expensive tubulars became evident. After a brief moment of cursing, I rolled up to and joined Paul at the side of the road.
Thanks to Nigel for giving me a lift back to HQ. 

Friday saw the cafe racing lot meet in Keighley at a chance of getting double points because of the bank holiday. 
After casually riding away at the roundabout out of Skipton, I noticed that there was no-one on my wheel, so I decided to have a crack at a lone breakaway. Therefore,  I got onto the drops and did what I did on wednesday, not puncture, but time-trial. 
A pretty significant lead was built up, maybe peaking at a minute at one point, but once I was at Hetton, I spotted the pack, chipping into my advantage on the rolling terrain. 
Eventually, my advantage had decreased to 5 seconds at the bottom of the last hill, and maybe if this was well organised, I would have been passing under the flamme rouge.  I looked behind me and saw a flash of blue shoot out of the pack on the descent. A team-mate was making a last ditch attempt to get me to the line. 
After Stuart's legs had expired, I was maybe within 500 metres. The pack was breathing down my neck. My legs where knackered. Looking behind me, I had maybe a 25metres lead on the next man, who was sprinting like a maniac to catch me before the line. Incapable of opening up my own sprint due to fatigue, I pressed on the pedals that little bit harder. In vain, one front wheel cruised past my own to snatch the victory from me. 
However, I was pleased with my 2nd place because I know have some cafe racing points to show off. (4)

Once again, thanks for reading. 

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