Ask anyone who competes in anything. Preparation is key! Not ideal then that I spent my Saturday morning at work!
Staffing issues with our duty managers has put me in on this Saturday and next! Fortunately I secured some cover for a few hours so I could get out and try to rack up some more points! I now just needed 15!
Long suffering partner Chloe, her dad Pete and her mum Marion are not just spectating this week, I had full soigner support! I got home to see my kit laid out, race bag packed and bike already loaded into the car. I could get used to this!
It made things much easier just being able to change and jump in the car!
So I arrive at the bowl, sign on and hear exactly what I didn't want to hear...
"Same format as last week!"
It means a downhill finish again but this time I wasn't going to let anyone get away! Race craft and knowing when and where to apply your effort is something I'm picking up quite quickly!
The race starts and it's active from the off! I'm getting familiar with the main protagonists now so I know when I need to push on. I'm feeling pretty good this time as the minutes tick by right up to the 5 laps to go point where all hell breaks loose! It's attack, counter-attack and attack again.
Calm is the answer, don't follow the first wheel but catch the third or fourth and follow on. It was all going so well right up until...
I looked up as the race headed toward the last lap and with the bell reverberating in my ears I can see Jack Patmore (our Wellingborough rider from last week) accelerating away from the bunch.
I'm torn here, I know what he can do but it's a looooong way to the finish...
It's enough, he's gone and I won't be able to bridge in time.
I look around and see concentration on more than a few faces so I wait...
Over the line to start the last lap and we turn up the hill, counter attack kicks off in front of me. I'm desperate to catch Jack up ahead so I kick too and follow. We get close to the top of the hill but the rider I'm following is slowing! I ease round him and lift my head to see Jack in front.
I could almost hear and audible bang as JP's legs just explode and he grinds to a near stop! It's still too early to sprint...
Someone (Simon of Dyson Cycles) disagrees and launches around JPs outside shoulder, I waited for a wheel and headed for Jacks inside shoulder. I'm glad I did.
You could never mistake the sound of a crash...
The squeal of suddenly applied brakes.
The involuntary noise of fear uttered by those involved.
The grinding of carbon fibre on concrete.
The combination of the main bunch, me included, travelling to the finish at 50kph and JP taking up track space at 25kph did not mix well! Wheels crossed and he dropped to the floor, hard, just as I was passing him. The rear wheel of his bike flew toward me and I held my breath!
I was through with a handful of others, the delay meant that the win was beyond us but we emerged onto the finish straight and opened up the sprint.
I moved right into some space and mashed the pedals. I eased through and clear and sprinted to 2nd place behind Simon's superb last minute effort.
A well deserved win for him and I am chuffed with another 8points leaving just 7 to my promotion.
2 races to go!