Today marked my first start in a race. I’d planned to start last week after finishing La Marmotte. But alas, some licencing issues meant I didn’t start and got to enjoy marshalling.
For today, being new, I started in group1 and was first off. As much as people tried, only half the group were willing to take any turns. It made for a very organised pace line with people mostly spread out. It was interesting to watch people suffer on the small up-hills and it became quickly apartent that I won’t be in group 1 next week.
On the second lap near the finish line, a young guy in red (Paul I think) took off. The group mainly held together after letting him hang out in front. He did start making a little group as the pace stayed relaxed. However on the next lap, something happened near finish line causing people to speed up. I’m not sure what but the group spaced out quickly. One of the Swords CC guys ended up out front with two others ahead. Remembering back to some advise about not going hard enough, I through caution to the wind and jumped onto the wheel of the two ahead. If I went too fast it’d be a good learning experience.
After passing the finish line, I confirmed that we only one lap remaining and it was finishing here. (We started half way around the course). With that sorted, I went to the front to take a turn and up the pace slightly to try catch the Swords CC rider ahead. Strangely the two behind didn’t follow and dropped off. Instead of waiting, I clicked and upped to force myself to catch the wheel ahead. It took about 2km, 2km on flats and I hate flats, but I got there. As I rolled up beside him, he looked like someone out on a leisure ride, just taking in the scenery while I’m sure I looking more worse for wear.
He suggested we do some up and overs until we are caught which I agreed to. Just before the turn at Baldwinstown, I looked back and am nearly sure I saw the scratch group rolling up. We both sat up and slowed up waiting for the group to power through so we could do our best to catch the wheels. But 30 seconds passed and nothing. Then 60 seconds and still nothing. Looking back on the straight, still nothing. Yes the scratch car was ahead of us, but the group weren’t visible behind. It became now or never so we went for it upping the pace to catch the last man out front. And we did just before the hill a Mallahow.
From here, we kept the pace up but low enough to recover properly, just in case we were actually caught. It took some effort to force the guy in red to the front for some turns. And with it looking like things were going to break down, the Swords guy agreed not to sprint if we pulled him to the line ahead of the other group. This somehow got us all working together again for another while, each taking our turns.
On the hill at Forde De Foyne, I decide to do a little sprinting up the first part to see if I could break away. Low and behold, the red guy stuck to my wheel like glue, so I sat up and recovered and again tried to force him through to take some turns. Obviously he wasn’t as tired as he was making out.
For the last hill, straight to the finish, I moved to the front. It was slightly up hill and we could see the end. Soon my first race would be over and it was looking like I’d actually get a good result, little did I know what was about to happen.
The red guy came to left side and started accelerating, all I could do was try hard to stay with him, and strangely I did. It was pretty much neck and neck until about 25m before the line. A gear shift didn’t go properly for him causing his chain to jump or catch, thus letting me pull ahead and get a decent gap before the finish line to cross in first. I had won my first race.
A few more from group 1 stayed away but most were caught by scratch earlier. I also found out that scratch had, for some unknown reason, slowed down before the long straight. But either way, luck or not, I had crossed line first. A win is a win is a win. Lets see if we can repeat this because it was fun.
Avg Speed: 32.3km/h
Avg Power: 231.7watts
Normalised Power: 287watts