Bellahouston Spring Circuit Race - 10th March
Another weekend of not racing my mountain bike, instead doing some of that road racing stuff like you see on the Tour de France.. Well not quite, instead of racing up an alpine mountain we were racing on a small loop round a park in Glasgow for 45 minutes
Having not done much road racing in the past I was confined to doing the 4th category race (lowest ranked) as I had no points from past races, but with the women's race mixed in there were some very fast members of the women's commonwealth road team which would make it an interesting race. Doing the lower ranked race was probably a good thing however as I've never been the most tactically adapt rider when it comes to road racing, instead I always seem to ride as fast as I can while everybody shelters in my slipstream and out-sprints me at the end. This time I wouldn't make that mistake!
It all started of very civilized (unlike a mountain bike race); people got clipped into there pedals, slowly got up to speed and found there position in the group. I found myself somewhere in the middle of the group, a good place to be at this time and tried to gauge who were the fastest riders there. From what I've seen, the key to road racing is to always be aware of what everyone else is doing; who is trying to make their way to the front, who is riding strong and who should you keep an eye on! I went to the front a couple of times at the start of the race and got the legs going by closing any gaps that opened up if people tried to get away, and I could tell that my legs were feeling good, but I didn't want to spend too much time at the front early on!
Towards the middle of the race there was a prime lap, where the first person across the line at that point wins a prize. I tried going for this but mis-timed the effort and rolled across in third. But all of a sudden I realised that the increase in pace had caused a lot of riders to drop off the back, and suddenly I was in a leading group of around 6 riders. This was an ideal situation as it was a big enough group to shelter from the wind in, but also big enough to keep the pace high and stay in front of everyone else.
I now started working really hard to keep the pace of this group going, doing some big turns on the front into the wind although it became quite hard work. Some of the other riders in the group seemed reluctant to take their turn at setting the pace on the front or wanting to close gaps. I found this pretty annoying but expected it to happen, so decided to bide my time for a bit and hope we didn't get caught first.
With 5 laps to go of the 1km circuit I went to the front and pushed on a bit, then heard Paul Newnham the Scottish mountain bike coach telling me to attack as everyone else was suffering. So I went for it! And spent the next few laps riding flat out by myself into some strong headwinds. I've always quite liked time trials so I was quite good at this bit. It was really tough but I was determined to stay away as I had invested a lot of energy, and have never been very good at sprint finishes.
My legs felt good and I continued to increase my lead to the finish, taking 1st Junior and 1st overall!
Now with that result I have enough points to move up to 3rd cat. so can race with the fast guys in the future! A good confidence boost, for the start of the season. Afterwards we went and got a quick shot on the new Commonwealth Games course at Cathkin Braes.Big thanks to Paul Newnham for the lift to Glasgow and also for the good timed shout of "Go Go Go!" Another GOOD DAY!
Results and report found HERE