I achieved a milestone tonight. My third circuit race at the Milton Keynes bowl and I finished it.
The first race was hell. I had felt a little under the weather at the start of the week, but felt OK on the night. Indeed, I felt so good that I decided to attack on the circuit’s one incline. I put a good gap into the bunch and realised a Twenty3c rider was riding with me. He came through for a turn at the front then signaled for me to share the work. I couldn’t. My chest felt tight, I was gasping for air and the lactic was punishing my legs. The bunch caught us and I drifted to the back. A couple more laps and I was desperately hanging on. We hit the incline again, my legs melted and I was off the back.
Four days later my GP was writing out a prescription for 500mg of amoxicilin. I had caught a virus followed by a bacterial infection on my chest. I skipped the next race.
By last Thursday’s race I was feeling better, but I tempered my expectations. Just as well as the organisers had arranged a technical course. Around the Bowl there is a wide service road with one incline and decline at opposite sides. The gradients are gentle, but after a couple of dozen circuits they don’t feel it. Leading off the bowl are additional outfield roads, all closed to traffic. These twist around with a bend every hundred metres or so. They are exhausting and full use of them was being made.
I was over the bugs, but I didn’t have the fitness to keep up with the constant accelerations out of the bends. Once again I was clinging on to the back with nowhere to recover. Inevitably an acceleration up the incline defeated my legs and I was dropped again.
This Thursday I was feeling much stronger. The first half of the race was around the bowl. The pace was high, but I was comfortable with it. I even bridged across to a breakaway, although it was soon reeled in. Halfway into the race the gates opened and we were taken onto the technical out field roads. I started to feel the pace now and once again I started slipping to the back. But I didn’t give up. At the end I may not have been competitive, but I did finish the race.
Right now I feel as though I’m a month behind the rest of the field. A fast steady pace is fine, but I’m missing the sharpness of the other riders. I’m confident with good training, diet and rest it will come back and before long I will be reporting some decent placings.
Next week a work meeting means I won’t be able to ride the MKCA race, instead I will race the club 10 for the second time this year. I’ll be happy with a sub 28 (It’s an 11.2 mile sporting course, fast it isn’t).