Robin Parker writes…
7th September. TMG Horizon LVRC Criterium Hog Hill – A,B,C cats
Result = 2nd place, 1st B Cat (won sprint from group of 4).
A couple of light days training on Monday and Tuesday helped me get rid of whatever it was that I had last weekend. Wednesday’s training included one of my best sets of hill sprints of the year and so I was encouraged that the form that I had been expecting to arrive, was indeed going to show it’s face. This weekend is all about training in advance of the TLI National RR next weekend. So the result today was always going to be less important than the ride…
The training plan said “go with the early break and give it some welly”! So I attacked from the gun with another rider. We never got much of a gap, but we stayed away for about 3 laps before we were caught. This was the signal for Anthony Wallis (who is so strong that I think must be from another planet!) to ride off the front of the bunch, never to be seen again.
I say never to be seen again. That’s not strictly true. The bunch actually put up quite a reasonable chase and for most of the race we had Anthony pegged around the 20 – 30 second mark. But we never got him back and we never really looked likely to either. But there was some strong riding and I did a few turns, partly because I could and partly encourage the maintenance of a good momentum (discouraging further break-aways) as looking around I fancied my chances in a sprint.
As the five laps to go board was hung out, three strong riders managed to detach themselves from the front of the bunch. This was a dangerous move. The bunch held the gap at around ten seconds for about half a lap, but then people started looking at each other. There was no time to lose. I attacked immediately; checked that I had a gap and powered across to the three riders in half a lap or so. One other rider made it across, but that was the selection made with three laps to go. Next lap, one of our number tried to spring a surprise move. I can tell that everyone is pretty much on the limit, but we take turns and reel the escapee in. This was obviously his last gasp effort as we catch him – and then drop him immediately.
As we take the bell, I drop to the back of our group and then wait to see what happens. No one has the desire (or the legs!) to try for a long one and the four of us arrive at the 200m to go, head wind sprint together. I jump first and jump hard. I click up a gear and try to accelerate some more. But it’s up hill and into the wind – I quickly think better of that and change straight back down! I check left and right, anxious that someone might take advantage of this error. But I’m lengths clear and the sprint is won.
2nd place in the race and 1st B Cat. Even better, the legs are feeling good. One more week of “taper” and they’ll hopefully be even better. As Michael Johnson (200 + 400m runner and latterly TV pundit) would say, “the hay’s in the barn”. The training is done. There’s nothing more to be done now before the RR champs. Just turn up and give it my best shot. If that’s good enough then I can drive home wearing “hoops” (champs jersey). And if it’s not? Well, as long as I give it my best shot then I’ll still be wearing a smile