Robin Parker writes…
7th July. Dave Griffiths Memorial RR – LVRC MSTina jersey series, Round 6 – A/B/C cats Ottershaw.
A bright sunny day found the nation filled with will he win/won’t he win anticipation. This could have been nation’s media wondering whether my winning streak would continue – or it could have been whether some Scottish dude would win some tennis match or other. I believe he won and has been granted honouree “British” status until at least the next tournament
Unfortunately I wasn’t quite as successful as our Andy. I managed to miss the break. Yes again. Really! I realised just a little late that it looked like “the” move. I put in a big dig up the next drag breaking clear of the bunch. One man bridging to a break is an all or nothing affair. You’ve got to make it across at speed and hope that you bridge across before you dive too far into oxygen debt.
My initial acceleration took me clear of the bunch and I took a chunk of time out of the break. Down the other side I gained a bit more. Sharp corner at the bottom – I didn’t break. More time gained. Sprint out of the corner and I closed to about 30 metres. Unfortunately, by this time the break of 6 had just got themselves organised and were starting to put some hard turns in to force home their gap on the peloton. And at six against one the odds were stacked too far against me. As the road kicked up again, that was me done. 30 metres was as close as I got as lactate accumulation overwhelmed my muscles and my legs declined to cooperate further. At this point there’s nothing to be done but take a drink, ease up and await the inevitable recapture.
Nothing much of note happened over the remaining laps. There was a bit of chasing, but it was mostly half-hearted. I made a good few attacks, but nothing stuck. Inevitably as the bunch started to think about the sprint finish, a lone rider (not featuring among the overall series leaders – which make a big difference to who gets marked and who doesn’t!) managed to nip off practically unnoticed and stay away to the finish.
The Ottershaw finish is a draggy affair. A 90 left corner marks the start of the finishing strait which drags up for about half a mile before hitting the yellow flag where it flattens out for the finish. It’s the sort of finish that can really string out the bunch, so it’s important to start near the front. I started 2nd wheel, which seemed close enough! Round the corner, all holding station. Then I can sense a surge coming up the outside. A rider comes past at some pace. I’m on his wheel immediately. This is good I think. If he’s paced this properly, this is the wheel that will deliver me perfectly to the yellow flag and then I’ll pounce.
Unfortunately he’s misjudged it and dies 200m short of the flag. I can now wait and risk getting swamped or I can press on and risk getting passed on the line. I jump around him and kick on towards the yellow flag. But I know that I have a passenger and I’m sure that it’s Gianluca my main rival for the series competition (he has been glued to my wheel all race!). If I power on all the way to the plateau, I risk him coming round me on the line. So I ease back just a notch, just to hold some watts back in reserve. I’m still at 90% as we pass the yellow flag. I’m not going to give it full gas until I feel Gianluca jump and we’re both riding in the wind – that way he won’t have the advantage of my slipstream.
150 to go and I sense the movement. Now I give it the gas. It hurts as it’s been a long, long sprint. But I’ve been doing some 2 minute anaerobic capacity intervals this week. Besides driving you so far into oxygen debt that you feel like you’re about to drown, these instruments of torture are ideal preparation for this kind of sprint! I dig deep and hold Gianluca off to take the bunch sprint.
A disappointing 8th place in the race. But it turns out that it was mostly A cat riders up the road with a couple of C cats and that I was first B cat. So I win first in age category. This is a bit of a consolation as it means maximum points in the series competition, plus I inch out a few points further from Gianluca. It’s going to be nip and tuck between the two of all season and I am pretty sure that it will all come down to the last race of the season (which is a double pointer).