Racing makes strange bedfellows

PDDC C grade
Dog Hill circuit Baldivis
10 May 2014

I had not trained or ridden since Monday, so I was looking to take it easy, particularly as it was the biggest group of the year so far with 20 riders. Also just after the finish line, a land owner was burning off, which meant preventive use of Ventolin every lap.

Half a lap in and a couple of people I regularly socially ride with were trying to make it hard so I joined in. Did a a couple of long hard turns and kept at the front of the race. After a lap and a half of the 10.8km circuit I eased back. There was plenty of other people trying to keep the pace high and chasing down any escapes.

That was until the start of the third lap, the pace slowed into the headwind, so I went to the front to drive the pace. Except nobody followed my wheel and instead I ended up off the front. Three laps solo was going to be difficult, so time to make a show of it. Kept the pace up, made sure the bunch saw me taking my required shot of Ventolin, then hit the accelerator briefly, before settling down to a pace I could keep for 30km.

After a couple of kilometers I got reeled back in. As I slid down the bunch, I was happy I had achieved my goal. The pace had picked up.

I sat at the back chatting with Mark, who I spent the previous race trying to drop. We knew at this pace, it was going to be a bunch sprint and not knowing most the riders, both of us were not looking forward to that. He suggested next lap I should try the same attack, get a gap and he would join me. I told him, that was beyond me, even that little dig had taken something from me.

It did not really matter the pace was high for the next lap and I would of struggled to get away. During this lap, the battery in my power meter gave up. Normally this would not be a problem, except I had finally after 5 years been taken off beta blockers, a performance decreasing drug that lowers your heart rate. So I had no way of effectively measuring my level of exertion other than a heart rate which I had little experience with unfettered by beta blockers and perceived exertion.

Start of the final lap, the bunch slowed, I went to the front to drive it, Again I was off the front. This time it was ride hard to get a gap, my heart rate hit 175. Something I use to only get at the end of a race. After a couple of minutes, I decided to ease back and sit on 172 for as long as possible. I was the joined by Mark and the two of us set off to ride as hard as possible and get away. My heart rate sat on 175+ as we try to keep our break.

It was only as we swung onto Dog Hill Road for the final time with less than 3km to go, I dare to glance behind, the bunch was strung out and chasing hard, still we had a chance. My arms were being to shake uncontrollably, which is usual the sign I gave it all on a TT. Except we were 3km from the finish, I kept going.

With a little over a km to go we were caught, just on the slight rise. Ant launched a blistering counter attack, but nobody followed and I swung on the back of the bunch. I managed to hold on until 400m to go, when they caught Ant, the pace picked up and I was out the back with Ant and a couple of others. I crossed the line in 15th or 16th place absolutely spent.

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