Richard Hoyland Memorial Road Race
My first road race (or one that I managed to finish) after Poland was the Richard Hoyland Memorial Road Race over towards Doncaster. Starting late for a road race and in light drizzle, the race navigated its way around a 3-sided circuit roughly 4.5km per revolution, 16 times, coming to a total of around 55miles.
First half of the race not a lot happened. People attacked and got brought back in. More people attacked and got brought back in.
Eventually a trio of riders got away, and stayed away. Towards the last few laps, a more determined chase brought the time gap down from 30 seconds to 17.
Few 3 laps to go, I decided to try my luck at bridging to the break.
A sneaky attack on a corner managed to break the elastic and I got away. All was going fine until I got midway into no-mans-land. Now, every bridge attemptee hates the scenario. You attack, your making great progress. Get half way. And run out of steam.
After realizing that I was not going to get any further, I sat up and waited to be swept up by the peleton.
My plan after the failed bridge was to sit nicely in the middle of the bunch, recover and attempt the final sprint. This didnt go quite as planned because just before one of the corners, a large farm vehicle decided to venture onto the course in the wrong direction. I didnt mind have to partake in filtering a 30-mph 5-abreast peleton into single-file 10mph. What I did mind was having to chase the split until I was breathing out of my unmentionables. Luckily, I managed to latch back onto the first group.
The final sprint was a bit hairy. At 400m somebody came down and at 300m someones pedal went into someones back wheel, effectively turning it into a huge, inedible pringle.
At 200m I was 3rd in line, boxed in. After a short discussion with my captor, I was freed, then fired up all cylinders and won the bunch sprint, with 5th overall.
Out Of The Saddle Road Race
I only need one word to describe this race - HARD!!
To put things slightly into perspective, I did my first 2/3/4 cat race after a winter of training and got 21st. I did this race 3 weeks after a month in Poland, so I went into the race knowing that I was going to burn.
Held in patchy sunlight on a 3-point-something kilometre rolling circuit, in the following 2 hours we would cover just shy of 60 mile.
Attacks went almost straightaway, but didnt really lead onto anything. Halfway into the endeavour, a certain machine called David Shackleton attacked, and quickly established a minute on the bunch. He was steaming along so much that his dad told him to slow up a bit so that a duo of chasers could bridge.
Another 9-man chase group followed, and then the group that I was in.
Things pretty much stayed like that till the end. Sprinting uphill out of most corners was the hardest. Sprinters like me arn't supposed to sprint during the race. Thats why Cavendish has a lead-out train. Not only does it set a high pace to discourage attacking, but it also maintains a constant effort, therefore saving Cavendish's fast-twitch muscle fibres till he needs them- in the last 200m.
So 2 hours, 60 miles and 75 sprints later, knackered would be an understatment. Non-the-less, I dug deep and managed to last till the flamme rouge. I tried to latch on over the crest off a small hill but to no avail.
I did a little sprint for the spectators, before rolling up to the side off the road, getting off the bike and lying on the pavement for a good 5 minutes while I wondered about the meaning of life, and why I race bicycles.
Thats all for the time being. Ive got my last road race next sunday, the Doncaster Wheelers Autumn Road Race.
I must go now, the smell of fried Gołąbki is wafting up from the kitchen.