Today was my first road race since the Ras de Cymru (far too long a gap - but this is not the place to explain the reasons for that). I came away with a top fifteen result I think, which I was satisfied with; not pleased, but satisfied given the last week...
The last week has been a long one. Last Friday I came down with flu; a chest infection and sinus infection combo. I was meant to be racing on Sunday, but instead spent most of the weekend in bed. Bank holiday Monday was a right-off as well, and I didn't touch the bike all weekend.
Tuesday morning I went off to Eurobike; the world's biggest bike trade show in Germany. I hadn't got shot of the cold, but there was no way I was missing this. The event was an incredible experience, and there was so much to see (Link to Wiggle Blog articles). It was three very long days though; on our feet from first thing in the morning until last thing at night. By the time I got home at 1:30am on Friday morning I was pretty shattered.
On Friday night, we drove up to Shropshire to visit some relations. Saturday was spent walking in the Shropshire hills and recuperating a bit, although it inevitably wasn't the most restful day. This morning we drove down to Malmesbury for the race.
So, it's been a bit busy to say the least. Anyway, onto the race...
Earlier in the week I wasn't even sure I would be able to finish today, coughing up a lung and using an entire bottle of Olbas oil isn't encouraging. Given that, I was a little bit nervous on the start. Once things were underway though I quickly got into the rhythm of things, and although I certainly didn't feel on top form, I felt OK.
A two man break went up the road early on, but we pulled it back gradually. The pace of the peloton was high, but I felt reasonably comfortable towards the front of the main bunch.
It was all going fine until the last lap of the rolling circuit. The peloton split, and I was on the wrong side of the split. It took some big above-threshold turns with a select group of other riders to pull things back together. That effort cost a bit, but more crucially it placed me too far back going into the final push for the finish. I managed to move up, but probably not far enough.
One rider went off the front with about 1.5km to go, and stayed away, an impressive move. I tried my best in the bunch kick, but am really lacking the power after so little in the way of racing over the last few months. Top 15 was OK, but I wish I had been in better form to have done better. It was enjoyable all the same though - great to be racing on the road again.
Hopefully next week's Cricklade Kermesse will produce a slightly higher placing.