Base layers, winter gloves and leg warmers, all were on today. I wore my skinsuit just because it had long sleeves. It was cold, it was windy, but despite the Oklahoma black skies, at least the rain was holding off.
As with last week, I stayed back on the first lap then moved forward for the second. I made my presence felt, and I think did my fair share of work at the front. I didn’t feel the group worked especially well and riders in ones and twos frequently opened small gaps to the bunch. However, we continued to make good progress against the 4ths, catching them just over 20 minutes into the race.
For a while it looked a break might establish, so I kept near to the front. I felt pretty good. One Peterborough rider did manage to slip off the front for a few solo laps, but he was reeled in well before the finish. After a while the lack of cooperation did start to get frustrating. I could see there were perhaps 8-10 other riders looking strong and dominating the race. A concerted and coordinated attack by 4 or 5 of us and I think a breakaway would have established and stayed away. It felt like the rest of the bunch were being dragged around and I doubt they would have worked to pull a cooperating group back. Maybe next week…
Heading to the final bend a small split occurred. I was on the right side, but too far back going round to get a top 10 place (your position out of the final bend pretty much decides where you’ll finish). I finished 13th, a marginal improvement on the previous race. Wayne, 3rd last week came in a very respectable 5th.
Driving home along the empty A6116, the car’s thermometer was stuck stubbornly on 5°C; I had the heating on full and reflected on the race. It was not the result I had hoped for, but overall I was pleased. For a lot of the race I had worked hard at or near the front, and remained competitive to the end. Not something I could have done two weeks ago, so this race was a nice confidence booster and I was going home dry! Meanwhile, Bonnie Prince Billy on the stereo struggled to compete with the rain beating against the windscreen. The weather’s timing was a very large mercy.