When a women’s cycling road race turned out a little more eventful than I thought it would.
Rolling out of bed at 8am this morning I was unsure whether to race or not. A road race last Sunday and two time trials this week…I wasn’t exactly sure my legs would have anything left. Especially when those races haven’t exactly gone to plan.
I also felt guilty for dragging Ryan along because the men’s race was a 3/4 and he’s a 2nd cat now.
But my quest for license points needed to continue. I wasn’t going to get points if I wasn’t racing.
Getting to sign on for 11am, it was another lunch time race but this time organised by Croston Velo.
It was hot…obviously…and I was shaking with nerves so much on the start line I struggled to clip in when the start whistle went.
Off we went, a field of around 20 girls were making their way around the 2ish miles loop. 38 miles ahead…it was going to be a tough one.
Being my second road race, I just sat on the back. The massive faux pas that it is, I just wanted to finish really after dropping off the bunch last week. Just not getting dropped would have been an improvement!
The more the bunch eased off I’d end up rolling on the outside of the bunch to too the front. Girls tried to break away or tire the group out, but for most of the race the bunch stuck together.
I was at the back because I was only at the race to gain experience. Road tactics are all new to me, so I just wanted to watch really and see what the norm is in a road race. I’m use to racing through forests on Singletrack after all…
I’m not sure at what exact point in the race it was, but one girl had managed to break away. So I pushed to get on the front of the bunch to try and pull the group back across so we were racing as a full bunch.
So there I am munching my pedals…I had been for a while…only to look back and notice the group wasn’t behind me. I’d somehow managed to break away…by accident!
The group were reluctant to pull her back and my ego was not on for dropping back to the group with its tails between its legs. I was now committed to bridging across whether I liked it or not.
Catching up to her was SO hard. I’m not even exaggerating. It was like a max effort sprint for what seemed like for ever! I kept looking at my heart rate being 180+ BPM…I had no idea if I could hold this.
When I finally got across I wanted to work with her, but my legs just didn’t have anything left. So thankfully she let me get my breath back and then we got into some sort of rhythm. I had no idea what was a good stint on the front, so I let her lead and move behind me when she wanted to. I did the best I could to keep the bunch behind us.
With one lap to go we got told the bunch were only 12 seconds behind us. We thought about waiting for them with how hard it was to keep them at bay, but we’d come this far we may as well give it a go and see where it gets us.
So we pushed….hard. I thought I’d dig deep last week after I got dropped, but oh no….this was a whole new level of deep I’ve never been to before…
My head was that mushed by this point I couldn’t even remember where the finish straight was.
When I got my bearings again we we on the finish straight and I could see number 18 looking at me to see if I was going to sprint.
I just couldn’t!
And stupidly I forgot he bunch were likely to sprint too. So number 18 went to take the win but I lost second place to the bunch. But somehow managed to hold top 10 with 9th…provisionally!
Thank you to Croston Velo for putting on such a good race. The iced water at the end helped no end. Thanks to all the girls that were racing too, it was a pretty epic afternoon!