Crits at the Park #5, 2015, 4th Cat

Getting to registration at the Cyclopark I was happy to see Ian and Daz in Bigfoot kit (I must get me some club strip). I didn’t warm up enough, again, but the race pace was pretty comfortable so I got away with starting cold. I did get to the start in time this time though. Things were pretty civilised for the first half of the race, and the rain stayed away too. Then on the half hour mark things kicked off and the group split. It took a couple of laps to reel them back and I did a couple of big turns, with Daz helping out too. I think we lost Ian at this point though. By the time we caught the front of the race up I was pretty spent, but had just enough in reserve to keep up. Then a little drizzle started falling. I was a bit nervous about how the tyres would be on the faster corners and once or twice took too wide a line, losing momentum. I think we bridged the gap on the 6th to last lap as it seemed that the “5 laps to go” came immediately after that? About the 4th to last lap I pushed up to the front, but just as I did the guy in the lead peeled off and I found myself in the front for half a lap. Giving everyone a free ride wasn’t the best idea, especially after only just recovering from bridging the split. At least I know how that feels now, and got to dictate the pace for a bit. I was leading as we went under the bridge, and someone was in Bigfoot kit on the bridge – I shouted “Take a f(lippin) photo”, I really really really hope there is a photo of me leading…?

Fast forward to the last lap, the pace ramped up a touch and it seemed most people were on their limit. I still felt a bit punchy so coming out of the hairpin I put some effort in and moved up a few places on the back straight. I think it was at this point a lone rider attacked up front and nobody went with him. Going into the bottom of the circuit I was still moving up places but heading to the last corner the pace subdued and the people I had just passed were closing in. So I made a snap decision to carry my speed into the last corner and undertake everybody! Luckily Daz was on the front of the group, so I shouted “On your right Daz, on your right!” and managed to control the bike well enough to leave space for Daz (at least I hope I did). Then, not content with my many small mistakes, I made my biggest mistake of the day which was to sprint out of the last corner. WAY TOO SOON!!! I managed to stay up front for probably half of the drag up to the line, but then people went past me on both sides. I don’t quite know what happened to be honest – I think it was a combination of being tired and demoralised by people passing me which led to my mind giving up before my legs were totally spent, and I coasted over the line in 16th. Straight away I cursed myself for being so stupid by going too early and then not giving it everything all the way to the line. If I had I could’ve possibly placed in the points. As it was though my efforts were not in vain – I had given Daz a perfect lead out and he’d won the sprint for 2nd place. The guy who’d attacked with half a lap to go had taken first. Ian managed to win the sprint from his group and placed 20th.

Overall I’m happy with my result. It shows my fitness is there, just got to hone the race craft now. Was also nice to meet Ian and Daz and have a beer with them afterwards.

Distance 37km
Time 59:05
Average Speed: 37.8km/h
Bigfoot placings: Daz 2nd, James 16th, Ian 20th

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