I’ve got a stack of them lined up. Excuses that is. I’ve not been riding enough. I’ve had a cold. It was my first race of the year, I never do well in my first race. I had new shoes, hmm, well that one would be a lie as they were really very comfortable. Driving over, I should have listened to Queens of the Stone Age instead of PM.
Or more likely, 20mph winds, with stronger gusts sweeping across the exposed speedway circuit, cool temperatures and showers, coupled with a lack of race fitness and aggression on my part, is the true reason I was dropped early on.
Given the conditions, I was cautious in our group (the race being handicapped), and allowed a little too much space to develop. It was a stupid mistake and I paid for it into the wind. The gaps grew and, with my lack of fitness, getting back got harder each time, until I no longer could. I was dropped.
I wasn’t the only one though. I saw a St Ives rider ahead of me. I had a target. After a couple of laps we joined up. Whether I caught him or he eased up a fraction I wouldn’t like to say, but at least I had an ally against the wind. We worked well together and for a while it looked like we had our group pegged. Another couple of laps and 3 riders from the scratch group passed us, riding on to stir things up at the head of the race. Shortly after a Fenland Clarion rider rode by. I got on his wheel, the St Ives rider didn’t. But I couldn’t hold it for long. It was a scenario repeated twice more as remnants of the scratch group came through.
The rest of the race I spent composing this post and cataloging the excuses in my head, but I did finish and I wasn’t last. A very small victory.