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Sunday, 9 September 2012

Crawley Whlrs 2/3 Rusper RR

After last weeks marathon of riding this week wasn't much different to be honest. I wanted to do a good solid back to back block of riding, and 2 weeks today since my last day off the bike I can safely say I cannot wait to go to work on the train tomorrow :D

I probably didn't help matters by going out and doing 2-3 hours of fairly hard riding yesterday but as I said above, it was all for the greater good I hope. As we all know this week has been amazing weather wise and it really was shaping up to be a great weekend, although if I see another paper run the title 'Indian Summer' I'll go mad!. However with great weather comes great heat, and the same old issue of my bike only having 2 bottle cages like most! I had no helper with me today, so I knew it was going to be a struggle, and it didn't disappoint!

I rocked up nice and early, the 3rds race had just finished, two Wheelers were present, Robin Kirk, whom I raced with last week and Nick Griffths who was doing his first road race! Exciting times! Robin came 5th and made 2nd cat and Nick stuck with the bunch on what was, IMO a fairly tough course despite not having any proper hills in it...There were meant to be 4 from KW today, but for reasons unknown it was only me on the startline (probably something to do with the awesome weather!).

There were many familiar faces, I was looking to be involved today, that was the aim, be in everything, not to miss the definitive move. Richard Prebble was riding, as were many from Meudon again, and a strong chap from Cannondale Racing, and another from vo2. So they were certainly a few riders riders to keep an eye on.

The race got off to a fast start and I almost immediately felt the last two weeks in my thighs, that lurking ache, the one I never normally have because I'm totally fresh! Anyway, the first lap was full of attacks, and I was covering them, going with what I thought looked good, and just trying to follow the above peoples wheels when they made a move. I was confident that if a move did go then it would have them in it. The course was a strange one, it was pretty windy too, lots of false flats, a fast downhill, and a horrid kick up to the finish line which was 400m over the top of this never ending drag on shite road (actually the whole course was on shite tarmac), so it was very wearing. When you sit mostly in the top few wheels you don't tend to get the same wind free environment that you do when you're mid pack, so it was taking its toll on me after only a few laps. Added to that the weather had really hotted up, and was probably getting up towards 28/29 and every 2 minutes my mouth was bone dry, I supped my drink (which was warm, and bloody rank) slowly as I knew running out of juice 20 mi from the end would mean curtains.

A couple of laps had passed, the race was quick, around 25mph and I glanced down at my garmin and saw my average power was around 250w which is higher than normal, but shouldn't have really posed an issue but it did, today. And then something quite odd happened. We were flying down the fast section, in the drops pushing 40mph down a windy lane, and we came round a sweeping corner to be faced by two young girls on horses...This wasn't going to go well, that much was obvious.

The horses bolted (as they do when alarmed, and you can't blame them when 60 bikes come hurtling toward them!) and I thought someone was going to get trampled, I just put the hammer down to get away from them as I could hear the horses behind running down the narrow lane alongside the riders, what you forget (or I did) is that you can only out sprint a horse for a very short amount of time before it catches you... I was off the front by this point with Luke Farren from Brighton Mitre, I shouted we should pull into someones driveway before the horses came flying into us, we pulled in, and the two horses flew by with terrified young girls aboard (still not sure how sensible it is to send out a 10 year old on a horse with her 14 year old sister without adult perversion, I'm sure that might change going forward...) shouting "please help me!!" I must say it was quite distressing, but there's absolutely nothing she or I could do. I'm told the horses later stopped around a mile up the road (after leaving a trail of crap on the road, they must have been more scared than the riders!).

So we slow pedaled round and the race was temporarily stopped, at this point there was a small group up the road, of maybe 6 or so, this was the move I'd missed earlier. We set off and they were given their gap again, a few riders went off really hard to try and get into it, but it didn't work, we caught a couple of them, but obviously they were going really well, and with Richard Prebble in there I knew it had a good chance of staying away...We continued to work hard, with the occasional lapse of concentration which was quickly cured by Dean from Meudon (he's very close to winning the whole Surrey League, so obviously wanted us to get into gear!) shouting at people to get a move on.

The laps counted down, and a few of us tried to get away a couple more times, and a couple of others did slip away and got a little gap, but it always looked like we would catch them, and by this point I was suffering so just sat near the front and waited for the catch and tried to recover enough to go for the sprint for 5th (possibly 6th, not sure how many were up the road) as it was clear we wouldn't catch the first lot of riders, which was a shame, but I doubt I'd have been able to hack the pace anyway, in my state. The last lap bell rang, the pace went down a bit while everyone caught their breath, there was then the same old issue, position, I was concious that I didn't want to be on the front and needed to get some easy time to get back to a reasonable state for the last gallop.

As we approached the final climb, which was a bit of a leg sapper, I was in a good position, I was watching the wheels, I saw Dean in front of me, knew he was a decent option, and also Luke from Mitre, who has a good kick on him, so I followed them, they dug hard and I went with it, I looked back and a group of 8 of us had gone clear from the rest, I put in another dig, and slowly moved up the outside. I then remembered the finish was a long way over the top so reigned it back a bit, then as it flattened off I dropped a few cogs and upped the pace, I then saw the 500m sign, so it was still a bit early, but people started moving  and I wasn't confident I'd win a 150m drag race today, so I went. I went as hard as I could to try and get clear. I drove hard for around 15-20 seconds and had a quick glance back, I was 20 bikes ahead by now so just sat up and crossed the line gasping for breath, and being rewarded only with hot soupy air!

Turns out Prebble had attacked his breakaway and won solo, classy. Everyone knows what he is going to do, they just can't stop him!

Race stats were a bit messed up with the horse debacle, and the fact my powermeter was being a bit shit due to a low battery, but I've had a look and found a few figs that look about right

AP 240W NP 285W
Average speed - 24.5 mph
70 miles

Two races left,  hope to be a lot more fresh for them and hoping I have seen a training gain from the beasting I've given myself!

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