SPAT!Published on 13 March 2018
At the end of Feb I decided to stray away from the usual Saturday afternoon’s racing at Hillingdon and try something new. Enter – East London Velo Winter Series #8 at the notorious Hog Hill Circuit. The plan was to put myself out of my comfort zone… careful what you wish for!
I lined up for the start of the 2/3 race with a plan to cruise around in the bunch and save as much energy as possible for the inevitable explosions up the hill every lap. Presumably the bunch would stay together and towards the end of the race I might feel good enough for some heroics. Yes?.. No!
Picutres below are of the warm up with Kenny and start line.
As soon as the whistle blew for the start it was obvious that this was going to be a quick one. For the first lap I hung around at the back of the group, which in hindsight was a mistake as there were already cracks starting to appear in the bunch. As we entered the headwind section on the second lap, the whole group splintered and I was off the back, helpless to bridge the gap to what was left of the main bunch, quickly gaining time up the road.
My data (shown below) for the first lap and a bit (up until I got spat out the back) shows that I had to hold over 4.3w/kg just to stay on the back of the group. After 4 minutes of this I was popped!
Suddenly I was in territory I’ve never found myself in before. Being dropped off the back so early in a race felt embarrassing! Coming round the finish the second lap though I was happy to be joined by another victim of the fast start. I never did catch his name but without any words exchanged we began to work together and rode the next 30 minutes together, taking equal turns each lap.
Fast forward 30 minutes and we were about to get lapped by the front of the race. As the group came past us, the guy I had been riding with jumped onto the back of them and managed to create a gap between us. I didn’t have the will to bridge that gap (seemed pointless) so I let him go with them. This left me riding out a couple of laps on my own in no-man’s-land. I was pretty gassed and without any incentive to carry on I decided to pull out the race early and call it a day.
Kenny, on the other hand, rode a much stronger race and I was able to watch the last few laps of him from the sidelines. He established himself in the main group and rode hard to pick up a difficult 17th place.
A disappointing day, but many lessons learnt and it will only make me come back stronger!