This was my 5th cycling road race of the summer and my best result so I thought I should write a wee report for the Westies.
The race started in Killwinning, well the neutralised section started in Killwinning. This is common at the start of bike races, taking the large bunch safely out of the start town and giving everyone a chance to safely clip in and find there position in the bunch. This doesn’t mean your going slowly and often the neutralised section will be ridden at 35km/hr+. We wound our way up the B778 and started properly just after a left turn onto an unclassified road.
The race was 4 laps of a tough 11 mile circuit with two steep 15-20 % ramps and a long drag at 4-5 % at the end of the lap. Initially several breakaway attempts were made and brought back by the bunch. I sat about 10 people back watching the action but not getting involved. Eventually one break of 5 went clear but I was happy not to chase… they’ll come back… they always do.
The first two laps were very tame, with no real work being done. I pushed at the front once or twice to keep my legs pumped for the harder work that was going to come later. The break ware a minute up but sure they’ll come back.
On the third lap the pace in the bunch went much faster. I and a few others were keen to see some of the big guys (sprinters) dropped from the group so we were pushing hard on the hills and out of corners. I made a huge mistake on the steepest hill on this lap, I was badly positioned into the bottom of the hill and with several guys working hard on the front there was a split in the field that I was behind. It was 1-2 minutes of very hard effort to get back into the main field but a few sprinters were dropped by the hill so it was happy days. The break were still 1 minute up… they’ll come back right??
The forth lap saw myself and maybe 3 others willing to drive the pace. We had dropped some good sprinters but were still in a bunch of 30ish. Plus we needed to pull back the break that were still a minute up. Half way round the lap I knew that we were going to be fighting for 6th so gave up on working at the front. I was in the ideal position up the steep hill (2nd wheel) which meant I could ride it easy and relax for the sprint. I kept myself in a good position and into the last drag up to the finish I knew where I wanted to attack. With about 1km to go I went… working as hard as I could. I dragged two juniors with me. When I saw them come with me I knew it was a good move. I drove hard and managed to get in just in front of the charging group. Finishing in 8th position. I was delighted with my results my first top 10 in a road race. Bring on the next one… Avg speed was 23.5 mph for those who like stats…