While most of the Shutt Velo Rapide racing team were training hard by the pool in Mallorca, myself and Billy Leason were at the Enstone circuit for the third in Zappi's spring crit series. In the 4th cat race, 18 year old Billy was hoping to translate some really impressive early TT form into a result in his first race of the season. The race started quickly and being unfamiliar with the course cost Billy dearly as he struggled with the corners in the early laps and slipped from front to back. It didn't take long before the bunch split, with Billy caught on the wrong side of a widening gap. After leading the chase group Billy pulled away and put in a valiant attempt to bridge the gap to the fast moving bunch ahead. He got agonisingly close. Just when it looked like he was about to join the back of the leading group, the work done in the last 20 minutes finally took its toll and he popped and the lead bunch disappeared up the road. He rolled in with the chase group after they picked him up with a few laps to go.
It was a good show of strength from Billy but with a couple of common errors for a rider with only a few races under his belt. Definitely more to come....
At the front of the race two riders broke away with 3 laps to go to battle it out for the win.
If I'm being totally honest I was unsure if I'd even start the 2/3 cat race today. On Saturday I could barely manage 2 laps of the MK bowl. The cold I'd had for the last couple of days had clearly taken more out of me than I realised and had left me with legs like jelly. With the sun shining on Sunday afternoon I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and try my luck. As always, deciding to ride turned out to be the right idea. For one thing I got to race my new Hammer Capella. It was faultless. And secondly I managed more than the 3km I'd raced for the yesterday.
After testing my legs on/near the front of the 50 riders for the first couple of laps, I slipped back. But I worked hard to stay with the race through to the end. Given I was still full of cold medicine I was happy enough with that and came in around 20th in the still intact bunch. Not exactly auspicious but it was good to know I'd seen off the worst of the illness and wasn't developing full blown deadly man-flu.