Won't say it was bitterly cold because I have been colder. Won't say the wind was murder because I've raced in worse!
Then again, not far off. Just last week it felt like spring was almost here, the daffodils at home in the Barfords have already started making an appearance... Before you say "Hey, they're here too" these are next year's ones! I suppose it's what one must consider when entering a bike race in early February.
It's round 2 of 4 for the Outdoor Trader's Race Team's Dalton Barracks circuit race series where last week my teammate Ash Mahoney won and I came 5th (on a puncture!)
I meet a few chaps from the DZero team inside the headquarters after I arrive, I like this bunch: I swear they could do stand-up if they felt cycling wasn't for them anymore! Also, I'm pretty sure you could fit three riders abreast in the draft behind the behemoth of Jonny Revis.
Fast forward to the start of the race where it feels like we're starting lazily due to the weather. I find a comfortable position in the bunch until I start getting the feeling it's a bit too far back from the front since everyone has been strung out from the wind. I see one guy go off the front 5 minutes into the race. Brave I thought. I knew there'd be an immediate chase so I accelerate and move up to catch the second chasing groupetto. I keep scanning behind to see where the seven of us off the front are in relation to the peloton... Not bad, maybe 50m? Our two threes and one soloist merge into a seven. Look back again and it's enough to break the invisible elastic holding the bunch together. We started working together, not in the well-oiled-machine sense but more like the misfiring shit-box car that doesn't want to start first time with the noisy exhaust hanging off the back!
After about half way through the one hour race, one us us gets a puncture. Unlucky. Bad news is he was pretty strong and an asset to the break, good news was the rest of us no longer had someone constantly screaming at us about which side to pull off from the front!
One lap to go and one of the stronger riders makes a big attack and dangles about 50m in front. No-one wants to chase in earnest. I manage to jostle into a good position in the last straight. One more guy goes for it with 500m to go. I come into the last corner at a too acute angle to put significant power out for the sprint but still manage to get around two riders for 3rd.
What I've learnt is to trust more in my own abilities because I do think if I'd given myself a launch space to attack from further back I could have stayed away and taken the win.
With the points from last week I think I'm at the top of the league, however it's off to Spain in a week or two so I'll miss the last couple of races.
12/200 points so far... Got a way to go.
- Jered Allcock
4th Cat Race
Yeah, fairy cold but a Baltic windchill, with it being head on up the final straight of each lap.
Myself and a couple of chaps tried to go clear early on but I was in the red into that headwind and couldn't help make it work.
Once back together the peloton frustratingly kept slowing around turn 2 and 3 even with all the space. It’s because it was strung out and slow into the wind then fast with the tailwind and everyone moving up making it like 15 wide into the first corner and subsequently people putting their brakes on, this resulted in a crash of about three people forward and to the left of me.
For about 3 laps after this I kept going to the front around these corners to stay out the way, then the two chaps from the first breakaway attempt came past me and I chased hard bringing a bloke with me. I was pushing hard for over a lap to get on the two men's wheels as I was dangling like 5meters back, by the time me and the bloke behind made contact we'd form a 4 man break.
A strong rider from Gloucester CC did most of the work while the man I dragged with me did nothing and was spent by the finish. The GCC man was always gonna beat us so it was just myself and the Micky Cranks bloke for the sprint.
- Leon O'Rourke