As John Williams and I were racing the Thames Velo Road Race the day after. It would have been sensible to conserve the legs where possible and save them for the following day. I’m not sure if it was the caffeine gel but I was in quite a confident mood on Saturday and the legs felt OK.
The race didn’t feel very fast, there were quite a few junior riders taking part who I assumed had raced earlier in the morning and were just using this race as training. I thought it might be a good move to try and split the race up a bit but not to try too hard as I really needed to save the legs for the big road race the next day.
With 22 laps to go I found myself on my ahead of the bunch with a decent gap but I just kept finding that rather than work with me, riders were just creeping back up to me and sitting on my wheel. I quickly realised I needed to stop wasting energy and just try and make sure I didn’t miss any decent breaks.
A group of 4 riders did get away for probably around 5 laps and I was a bit annoyed with myself for messing it up but I was patient and the break did come back and I’m pretty sure I didn’t have to do much work to bring it back.
As the race came to a close the bunch really started to slow and the riding was a bit dodgy to say the least. I didn’t really fancy the idea of a bunch sprint so I was on the look out for a last ditch attempt to get in a break. I followed a wheel but ended up going off on my own again with 4 laps to go, another group formed behind me and had got away from the bunch and were working well together. I decided to sit up and wait for them in the hope that we would work together and stay away.
As it was so close to the finish, the riders didn’t seem to want to do a turn on the front and the move failed, this put me in a bit of a bad mood which then made me more determined to have a go at the sprint.
It’s quite hard to describe everything that happened as it all happened so quickly but it was really, really dodgy and I do remember taking no prisoners on the last lap to make sure I was up there. With two corners to go I was on the inside of the circuit and I thought I’d lost out as most of the bunch hurtled down the outside of me into the corner but there was a lot of wind on that corner and I had the most shortest distance to cover so by the time we came to the finishing straight I was near the front. I think I did get blocked a little bit on the last corner as a rider moved across me but I did OK in the sprint and finished 8th.
I still need to work out how to get myself right in the front of the race for these sprint finishes so I can start to contest for the wins, hopefully that will start to happen as I get a bit fitter.
There is also a video on youtube (below), notice John Williams sitting up and having a nice chat with one lap to go. Needless to say he’d decided to save his legs for the road race the next day.