For the second race the weather was kinder and, after getting dropped last week, I was on a mission for redemption; I wanted to finish in the bunch. As if that wasn’t incentive enough, this week I had three club mates with me, all 4th cats and for two of them, it was their first race. I had no intention of embarrassing myself in front of them.
I used the first lap to settle into the race. On the second lap I moved forward and took my share of turns pulling at the front. It was hard, but my legs felt good and I was comfortable (well, as much as you can be). However, as we approached the 4th’s group, a few attacks started off the front. On one, two riders broke away leaving me at the front. I pulled hard to reel them in, but with no one coming through to relieve me, I only succeeded in preventing them increasing the gap. Approaching the next bend, and onto one of the circuits ramps, two more riders tried to jump across. My legs protested and, with a Rockingham Wheelers rider, I drifted off the back.
This felt like history repeating, I was dropped with another rider, but at least this time, the gap wasn’t widening. After a lap I was feeling confident we could get back, although I was pinning my hopes on them slowing up as they caught the 4th’s group. Instead, rescue came from the 2nd’s group, who started behind ours. We jumped on their tail and hung on for a 30+mph pursuit. Within a lap I was back in my group for the final third of the race.
After the recent chases I was feeling tired, so hid in the bunch and concentrated on recovering.
For the final lap, I felt good, but not strong enough to contest the win, besides I was positioned too far back. Of course, once the adrenalin started pumping, and riders around me launched out of the saddle, nothing was going stop me from having a stab too. I passed a few riders, some more easily than others, to finish 14th or 15th.
So, I didn’t embarrass myself, but one of my club mates finished 3rd, and in his first race too. Next Thursday I want at least a top 10 finish…