Crits at the Park (Cyclopark) Cat 3 Race

Had this one in the calendar for a while but wasn’t sure if I would race it or not, as I wasn’t sure how I’d be after the May 3 day. As it happened after a fairly easy week I felt like I’d be going well, the other reason was the weather, as being a pansy I didn’t fancy racing in the wet again 😮

The weather was ok on Saturday but really windy, so I got the train over to Gravesend and rode over to the circuit to sign on. Guessing there were a lot of other races on this weekend as the field was probably the smallest I’ve been up against since starting racing this year.

After the womans racing had finished I got out on circuit, the finish straight/hill drag was a nice tailwind, but after the hairpin at the top it was an almighty headwind all the way down to the bottom of the circuit, the only advantage of which was that no braking required into any of the turns bar the hairpin.

Lined up at the start which was only two riders deep, immediately got a decent start and was up near the front, one guy in orange was going hard from the off so followed him, out of the hairpin and he was going for it, tried to stay with him but was concious of doing too much into the headwind, looked behind me and the whole bunch was strung out. Stupidly assumed we’d catch the guy later in the race, but lap after lap he was pulling an advantage, and nobody really seemed to want to do any work into the wind. I stayed on/near the front just as this seemed nicer choosing a line into each corner and carrying speed. Was working hard up the finish straight, but the whole bunch would just sit up into the wind most laps, and I’d be doing barely 200w.

Towards the last half of the race a couple of guys started trying to get away, each time I’d either chase or try to go with them, but it seemed like everyone wanted to go solo, as soon as anyone would get near they’d just sit up.

IMG_8539

I was beginning to tire towards the end from all the time spent attacking/chasing, but was keen on trying for an attack in the last two laps, tried, but couldn’t get away and so sat in the bunch into wind again trying to conserve a bit of energy to go for a sprint. Last lap and into the hairpin I clipped a pedal on the ground which threw my back wheel into the air, when it landed hard it buckled but thankfully I didn’t go down. The wheel was out of true, rubbing on the brakes and felt like I had a bulge in the tyre each time it rotated, which did nothing for cornering confidence. Managed to stay with the bunch through to the finish straight but wasn’t able to go with anyone when people started winding up for the sprint so rolled in.

A disappointing race, I’m just not tactically astute enough to really know what do in these situations. Looking back I should have worked to get on the super strong guys wheel who solo’d off from the start to win. Could potentially have two upped and hung on with him but he did seem stupidly strong. Otherwise should have probably tried to team up with one of the stronger guys to attack together, although in that wind with my power I think you’d probably need 4 guys to stay away. In which case it may have been more sensible to just sit in and try and bag the sprint. Still so much to learn!!!

Pleased to at least had good power for the race, and also a nice pb sprint powering out of the chicane. One day I’ll put myself in a position to use it on a finish line i’m sure!

Strava: https://app.strava.com/activities/301088812

Avg/NP Watts: 283w/303w

Avg. Speed: 24.2mph

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