Crits At The Park #6, 2015, 4th Cat

 After my good first race and promising 2nd race I had been looking forward to the race today with a mix of confidence and trepidation. Happily Ian and Daz were racing again, and we arranged to meet up beforehand for a warm up. The warm up really helped – after about 45 minutes of riding I went from feeling slow to punchy, phew!
It was a beautiful day, but typically windy at the Cyclopark, wind was blowing up the finishing straight which I think I prefer. When we got to the park we met up with Chris who was giving racing a go for the first time – chapeau Chris! Bigfoot was well represented with the 4 of us (there were about 50 riders on the start line), I even had my club jersey – thanks to Jeremy for his very kind donation.

On to the race. The pace felt a bit too easy, but as my targeting computer seemed to turn itself off I had no idea what the actual speed was like. I had decided to stick with Daz or Ian as much as possible, and stuck to Daz’s wheel for at least half of the race (thanks Daz). Having a club jersey certainly helped this (thanks again Jeremy), other riders readily let me sit on my club mates wheel.
At some point in the first half of the race there was a crash just in front of me on the hairpin which I managed to avoid and then put in an effort to get back on the back of the pack. In the second half of the race an obviously well planned break occurred where a lone rider attacked up the start/finish straight whilst his club mates on the front sat up and slowed the bunch down. The peloton weren’t having any of that and started chasing, but upon arrival at the hairpin (the next turn) we found the poor chap on the floor in mid crash.

A couple of laps later another rider tried a lone break but only made it 100m down the road before blowing up, where he was left to suffer by the guys at the front of the bunch, cruel but funny. Then a serious 4 man (I think) break got away. The red mist descended and and a couple of other riders and I put some turns in to chase them down. That was quite thrilling TBH, I flicked my elbow to signal for someone else to take over and they did – just like the pros! I quickly realised that I couldn’t be doing that again if I wanted to finish in the points. So, when the next 3 man breakaway got away on the last lap I stopped myself from chasing it. In hindsight I should’ve been expecting this and gone with it – the pace was relatively slow and I was feeling good.

I got to the front of the bunch and rode alongside Daz, with Ian nearby I think too (?) and we led the group at our pace down the back straight. Then a few riders went past me for the last section of the course, this gave me a minute to recover and take some big deep breaths ready for the sprint. Luckily Ian was one of the riders who went past me and I jumped on his wheel (thanks Ian, and thanks again Jeremy). I patiently WAITED (I’ve learnt) for the sprint to start from about 6th or 7th in the bunch. As soon as it kicked off I put the hammer down, used the force and went right when everyone else went left.

Finding myself with an open road and good legs I span up my cadence to 130, and went past everybody and convincingly took the sprint win for 4th place (the 3 man break having already finished a few seconds earlier). Ian was just behind me in 7th and Daz finished 10th which got him the 1 point he needed to get 3rd cat (chapeau Daz). Chris managed to stick with the bunch for the first part of the race but then got dropped and put in a valiant effort to avoid getting lapped (hope you enjoyed it Chris, see you next weeks yeah?). Overall a pretty successful day at the races for Bigfoot.

Distance 38km (ish)
Time 1hour (ish)
Strava link to what my busted Garmin made of the race.

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