Bit of a rest week for me now, I think I need it. Motivation has been lacking and I've been knocking out twenty hour weeks on the bike previously so in tradition of my training 'regime' I've decided to call an impromptu easy week.
Since the year's began, I've done three races. The first one was BBM's spring road race over Selby way. The area was in a little pocket that wasn't too badly hit by the unseasonal snow but on race day it was still bitterly cold. Towards the end of the race by feet had gone numb and was impairing blood flow to the rest of my legs! Anyway, I got into the break on the second try and we stayed away. I was the strongest rider in the break, a good sign after a winter of steady, long rides and a glorious and much missed week in southern Spain. However, I bit more than I could chew, my head was bigger than my legs etc and I popped with too laps to go, from, doing too much work! Billy, my team mate was also in the break and he got 3rd after being outfoxed by a duo from BikeBoxAlan.
My second race was the very, very (bloody horribly) windy Sheffrec Elite road race. Once again I got into the race winning break, but the five pro's that were sitting on my wheel came over the top of me on the little incline before the finish, into the vicious crosswind. The last one pulled the ripcord for my parachute and I went back through the five echelons that hard formed behind and eventually pulled out. I felt tired, I admit, but the way I blew was spectacular. It was the first ever race I had to pull out of due to a lack of my ability. A huge blow to my confidence.
My third race was on the UCI Europe Tour, the Rutland Melton CiCle Classic. The team was taken down south and treated by Neil to a night in a surprisingly well kept Travel Inn. Race day came and the nerves started to creep in. On the start line we were surrounded by the creme de la creme of the British domestic racing scene, however this didn't unnerve me. It was the sheer size of the field that I was worried about, 160 of us packed at the start like lambs to the slaughter. What were we doing? We didn't belong here. We were a bunch of jokers, riding our bikes and happened to be half decent where we came from.
The race started and it was silly fast. I was constantly moving towards the front to stay out of danger, not easy when the bunch was easily cruising at 45-50kph. It was a 115 mile battle for survival, never mind about attacking! I was around towards the back and started to move up when a crash blocked the road and I melted my tyre to the inner tube skidding to a halt. Unbeknown to me at the time, I picked my bike up, skipped over bodies and wheels and jumped back on. Someone had gone into the back of me and a spoke had snapped, rendering my wheel useless. I waited by the side of the road for a minute and a half for neutral service but by that time the damage had been done. The team car tried drafting me back, but at 60kph you can only smash yourself for so long. My last hope was to get back through the traffic and convoy behind the race but my little ragtag group of casualties where sent the wrong way and so the race was over for good.
Team captain Mark Perry held in for as long as he could but with two punctures, and the chases back on, proved too much and he pulled out an hour before the finish. Ian Wilkinson won a spectacular sprint finish from the break to take his second title.
This weekend I've got two regional races, no professionals in them, so hopefully I can get some good finishes.