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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Race 7 - 4th Feb Hillingdon Winter Series


Generally was the word I had been thinking about all week as I monitored the weather, and also the start list to see how many people were going to be up for it. Think on the day we had about 23, and probably another 7-10 on the day signed up, so a slightly smaller field.

Not done much riding this week of any note, commuted to work 4 days, so I guess I did get in 150 miles, but nothing that felt worthwhile as I thought the chain-gang might be a bit messy in -2 (it was fine I'm told).

Drove up today for the first time, my car is a bit of a heap, so I chuckled to myself when I started on the button when there were two others in my road with the jump leads out, including a rather sparkly 4x4 Audi!
Wind today meant there was a tailwind up the final straight which is probably better than last week where it was the polar (geddit?) opposite. I got there very early and milled around for a bit was amused by a girl of probably 8 accusing another kid of similar age of 'freewheeling' haha!

We got off to a start and the pace was fairly sedate, I wanted to make sure I was spinning a higher rpm this week as I've noticed that I have been churning a big gear a bit too much recently, I'd like some knees left at 50! The race was as usual without much event (worth talking about) for the first half an hour, then we caught the 4ths, I think the pass was generally OK (and better than last weeks when we ruined their race) but a few people still got a bit close to each other and much swearing ensued.

It was so sedate that is was perfectly feasible to have a conversation in the bunch, and I was chatting to the purple man himself, Peter Hudson about his season etc. Never before have I know it to be calm enough for you to just chat like a club run! Anyway, I should have said that just before we caught the 4ths a rider went off the front, and I think he stayed there a fair time, its obviously a good time to attack as everyone else has to slow down!

With 5 laps to go the pace started hotting up, and I was aware I needed to move up a bit, got into a decent position, probably first quarter of the field and we went round a few more times, pace going up and down a bit. Final lap rang and the inevitable sign of doing it wrong, I found myself on the front, conscious of not wanting to use all my fresh leg feeling I sat at probably 22/23 mph waiting for someone to dart up the outside as they often do. The good thing is, when it happens this time I was fresh enough to give chase. A rider went for it on his own and got a good gap. We pulled onto the long straight, into the headwind and another rider went (he looked strong, had a beard, wasn't sure of his name) and for some reason instead of sitting back a bit I went for it with him, and then thought I'd made a mistake so ducked into 2nd wheel, went round the clubhouse bend, and as we hit the hill I think I was probably still 2nd or 3rd wheel, I was conscious not to go to early, and then I remembered a bit from Pete Hudsons blog about how he liked to start sprinting from the corner near enough, as I thought about that, he went past, before I knew it I had dropped the ball for 3 seconds and was now probably 10th, annoyed at myself I put in a dig but was immediately carved up by someone who wanted the inside line, that was that, I sat up annoyed at what I'd done and rolled over the line.

There was not many positives to take from the day, in a weird way it felt too slow (I know it sounds big headed to say when you don't win) because I don't think my HR had really raised at all until the last lap, it was something I wasn't used to I suppose. I overheard another rider say it was a boring race, and I suppose he wasn't far wide of the mark. Today wasn't really a test of anyone's fitness (apart from those who went in breaks) it was just a case of kill 50 mins then sprint, everyone I saw still looked like they had plenty in the tank come last lap. Having looked at the numbers, an average of 23.5 mph (which really is slower given we've topped 25 most other weeks in much worse wind) and a max speed of 30 mph, so clearly not going to be contending any sprints at that speed!

As ever though, it was £10 spent well, I've learned from it, and hopefully these little mishaps will pay for themselves later in the season when I can spot a situation before it happens and hopefully make the right choice!

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