After yesterday’s performance, I was back for more, same circuit, two more laps and sprinting every lap. I assumed my poor showing yesterday was due to smoke setting of my asthma, so I was prepared, two inhalers and used one in a preventive manner as there was a fire just off the course.
I found myself at the back of the bunch at the start, so I settled in as ticket collector. Did not move up until we started picking up pace for the first sprint. I was not going to contest the sprint, I just wanted to observe and be prepared if the sprint caused a break. I was about eighth across the line. Made it to the front and started driving the pace once we turned onto Casuarina Road. To see if I could force a break, it was a slog into a strong headwind. After a couple of minutes I pulled off and nobody wanted to come past, so everything slowed .
In the end another rider came past and the pace picked up, going up Coyle Road. The pace was no difficult, we swung onto King and a rider eased off the front. I followed the wheel another rider who set off in pursuit, he hit it hard on the climb, I decided not to follow and let the bunch catch me on the climb. On the descent I could see the two almost catching D grade.
Once we swung onto Orton Road I took off chasing, not expecting to catch the two, but hoping to get past D grade before the line. Then join the other two and hoping D would slow the bunch. Did not work as planned, I ran out of steam earlier than expected and most of the bunch came past. Eased back, we got round D as a group and kept the pace steady.
Sitting at the back watching other riders was a little scary, you are suppose to follow the wheel in front, not the wheel to your left for 100 metres, then the wheel on the right for 200 metres then back again. Riders appeared to be shifting round for no apparent reason without looking or thinking, and it was not only the trial riders. One rider ended up dropping onto the gravel on the left. I quickly moved to the far right as there was no oncoming traffic. Then turned back to watch the rider next to him, just stare at the rider on the gravel, not taking any evasive action or watching the wheel ahead. Luckily the rider on the gravel, was skilful enough to get back on the road surface, otherwise there would of been at least two riders crashing.
Next lap, the pace picked up 800 metres from the sprint, I lasted 400 metres and then had to scramble to get back on, before we turned on Casuarina Road. This was when I decided, the aim of the day was to survive in the bunch, as I could not compete at the front.
Next lap, same thing 500 metres from the finish, I was off the back. I chased and chased hard into the headwind down Casuarina Road, before catching the bunch on Coyle. Recovered and got dropped again that lap 500 metres from the finish. I was not the only one, I passed a couple of riders as I chased again. Halfway down Casuarina Road I realised there was no way back for me, and eased up.
On Coyle I was caught by Liam and we worked together for the next two and half laps just to finish. Picked up another rider off the back, lost him, got him back with a slight assistance from B grade. Emptied my tank last time on Casuarina, almost lost Liam on King and sat behind the third rider for the final time up ORton Road. Then I did the unsportsmanlike and sprinted for the line, only to see if my legs had anything left. I was surprised how much of a kick I had left.
Overall, a little disappointed with my performance, however I now knew that I was suffering from a cold and congestion, so far from my best.