After doing so much travelling last weekend and with the European World Cup’s looming on the horizon , I was really looking forward to a weekend at home .
I still needed to race though and as luck would have it our Division Road Race Championships had survived foot and mouth and was being run barely an hours drive from my house .
I had raced on the circuit before and knew it was very tough – a lot of climbing on slow , bumpy roads which made it the perfect warm up for the up and coming off road action . The only problem was the race distance – 144km . A little bit too far on top of a heavy weeks training load . My plan was to be in the thick of the action for the first three hours and then call it a day .
My brother and my brother-in-law were racing and both of them joined a group which escaped from the pack on the second of the eight laps . Marrooned in the bunch , I was in a bit of a dilemma as to whether or not I should contribute to the chase ! However I needed a good work out and so together with another guy I put in long turns on the climbs and let some bigger , stronger people do the work on the downhills . Slowly but surely we brought back the majority of escapees . Then the guy I had been chasing with attacked , but I was boxed in and missed the move . My time was nearly up , but I had just enough energy left for one last dig on the steep climb . To my suprise nobody joined me and I gained around 10 seconds in about 100m !!! My companions must have been stuffed as a guy’s never give up without a bitter fight !
At the end of the lap , I did a right turn to the changing rooms , satisfied with my efforts for the day . After donning more clothes – I had raced in long sleeves , leg warmers and overshoes !!!!!!!!! I headed back to the circiut for the finish .
The winner had always been a foregone conclusion and true to form Gethin Butler , time triallist extraordinaire crossed the line alone to retain his Division title . I was hoping to see my brother sprinting for a podium place , but instead the rider I had been working with to catch his group came home in second place . I could not believe it ! My brother trailed home in 6th place . Once he had recovered his composure he explained how the eventual second place finisher had simply caught his four strong group and rode straight by !!!!!!!!
I’ll be taking it easy this week before travelling to Italy on Wednesday . Sarrentno is one of my favourite circuits , so I’ll be hoping to improve on my performance in Napa .