Smoke = rubber legs

Club Memorial Handicap
Herne Hill
16 June 2014

I like grade handicaps, because it forces me to ride in the bunch (instead of on the front or at the back), taking turns and as a result improving my bunch riding skills and confidence.

So I was happy to be riding with 30 others. It would be a fast paced race, with only short turns, plenty of time to recover and with Bob a very experienced rider directing us.

First lap, did my turn down Lefroy Ave at 44kph. Turned onto Oakover Road, gap in upline, so did my duty jumped in, closed it and did another short turn. After that my legs felt like jelly. My next couple of turns were hard, but I was surviving as we averaged 40kph.

Third time on Oakover Road, Got to the front of the upline and just struggled. Rolled off and literally stopped. I was spent, could barely turn my legs over. I had no idea what had happened. I blamed the hard race from yesterday. Surprisingly, on Campersic Road with slight ramps and into a headwind, I recovered very quickly, caught a couple of D graders, suggested they sit on my wheel, then promptly dropped them on the first corner.

Feeling remarkably good, I decided to keep riding. Just before we turned in Oakover Road, I got caught by B grade, instead of upping the pace, I slowed let them pass, then realised they were only doing about 42kph. So I picked up the pace, got to the same spot on Oakover and my legs just stopped working. As before, I struggled up Campersic before I recovered and started feeling good.

Next lap passed by A grade same place as B grade. No heroics this time, then as I passed the part of Oakover that gave me trouble, I smelt smoke. Which explained why I was having trouble on that section of the course. It seems a little bit of smoke when working hard, brings my asthma into play. Not enough for a recognisable attack, but enough to slow my oxygen intake and stop me from pushing hard.

Nothing to do, except take my medication and keep circulating. Last lap, caught E grade, slowed and sat on the front of the grade and offered to lead the sprint out. Turned onto William Street picked the pace up from 28kph to 40kph and got told to GO, so I did. Hit 54kph quickly, a rider was on my wheel, so I held that speed for 600m, then sat up with 50m to go to watch the two riders on my wheel battle grade honours.

Disappointed with the results, I would of like to ridden with my grade to the end. Which stayed away to the end and finished 20 seconds ahead of B grade.

I need to start taking preventive doses of my asthma medication, before and during a race, not just when I smell smoke.

The only good news from the weekend was my power data. When I was told to GO, I did my best ever 1 second power output, not a 1000 watts but getting closer.

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