28th August. LVRC Lewes RR at Chailey. C & D cat
I have recently finished a good block of training. Last week was a recovery week, punctuated by a mid-week win at Hillingdon. So I was hopeful that this weekend I would have good legs and would be in a good position to fight for a good result. My legs felt pretty good during the warm up so I was all set for 6 and a bit laps of this rolling circuit around Chailey.
The first half lap was taken very cautiously by the bunch, perhaps because this is a new circuit (I’ve never raced here before), perhaps because as the season draws to a close people’s form is starting to fade or perhaps because there was a fairly stiff headwind on the main road outward section. Up the climb and through the finish for the first time the pace picks up a little but nothing looks remotely like escaping the peloton.
The second lap was run off a little quicker, but still the bunch was not giving anyone any slack. Finally as we started the 3rd lap four riders forced themselves off the front. A savage attack from current National RR Champion Rich Edwards saw him bridge up to the move and it looked game on. I waited to see what would happen. A chase was organised pretty quickly and the break was held at about 10 – 20 seconds all the way down to the turn.
Sensing that this could be the winning move, I decided to use the main climb, the ominously name Deadmantree Hill, to bridge up. Attacking fairly early on the climb I knew that I had to pace my effort so as not to blow before I reached the top. But at the same time, I knew that I had to make contact before the break started the decent. I had to dig really deep towards the top of the climb, but I just latched onto the back of the break as we crossed the finish line and started the descent.
I was well “into the red” at this point, but contributed to the pace down the descent hoping that I would recover from the effort quickly. But I just wasn’t recovering – this was hurting a lot. I hoped that this meant that we would be stretching our lead and then soon we would be able to ease. Unfortunately after a few miles of just not recovering I was dismayed to glance back and see that the bunch were already back onto us. That was a lot of matches burned for no gain.
There was a brief lull as everyone paused for breath. And then the next move went with four strong guys in it (including Rich Edwards, who was evidently the strongest guy out there today) – and that was pretty much that. I certainly didn’t have the legs to go with the move that quickly after being caught. Indeed my legs just didn’t seem to fully recover from the effort of bridging up to the earlier move.
The break stayed away. Rich attacked them and rode the last lap alone to take a fine solo win. The bunch chased for a while and then ran out of steam. I waited for the uphill sprint finish, but I didn’t really have great legs and the motivation to really suffer for a 6th or 7th place or whatever just wasn’t there. I finished 2nd in the bunch which I think was for 6th place (there may have been one or two guys that escaped the bunch in the closing laps).
So that one didn’t quite pan out as well as I had hoped. Next week is the final round of the LVRC points series which is being held this year on the Bletchingly circuit. That is one tough circuit, so hopefully I’ll get the good legs back for that one!