It has been a long time that I had something pestering me, and it was taking part in a Closed Circuit Cycling Race. Lucky enough, not far from me there is the famous Hillingdon Circuit. After acquiring the full racing license, I have decided to enter for the Imperial Winter Series 2013/2014 at Race 7th. The series is organised by Imperial Racing Team were you could admire great expertise in managing the event, thanks to Richard and Lucy and the rest of the team behind the scenes.
I was pleased to go because the weather is still surprising us with beautiful sunny skies and warm temperature.Funny enough it was not just my idea, but other maybe 170 rider thought the same,where as per routine the organisers had to consider a waiting list.
Overview of the circuit and the "Commissaire" box.
We started with a nice warm up for few laps before getting to the start grid,the field of riders was quite big including about 10 novices(like me) doing the first race on closed circuit.Richard, from Imperial Cycles gave us including the ladies a race briefing reminding all the rider the correct procedures to enjoy the race.I could see that some teams like London Dynamos,Kingston Wheelers,Twickenham Cycling Club and many more placed their rider at the front of the grid,obviously due to team tactics.
For me being a novice I decided to start at 3/4 down the grid to understand more the race,the techniques and tactics of the race.A guy next to me before starting he advise me to get at the front of the pack as soon as possible.
Start of the race.
Off we go. We started the race and the pace picked up very quickly, the wind was with us in some part of the circuit,so for most of the laps was sprint and relax. The sprinting at the front was the concept of breaking away for the teams to see who probably was up for the game,but being my first race I did not know if it was an usual standard technique.
After few laps I could see that I was confident with the speed,an average of 41km/h and everything else around during the first part of the race.I decided to go at the front with some others,I stayed there for a little while until I felt a big slap in the face by the wind during a turn,making me losing speed and position within the peloton.Obviously was a bad move,but I was able to rejoin the peloton without losing drastically a position and the drag.
Fighting at the front.
Well, the race was going to be come to an end where some rider pulled out of the peloton because the speed increased even more, and everyone was fighting to go to the front for the last final 5 laps.Therefore I have decided to attack and go at the front again, within the peloton you could smell burning rubber from the brakes,people going off line not supposed to do that.
6 laps to go and everyone was hungry for the front, I was overtaking to the right and I could feel hands or handlebar of my left bum cheek.More and more it was becoming like a rugby scrum on two wheels. Without realising I found myself with the front pack but with wrong positioning causing me to go on the grass once and shortly after that for the second time,which for me meant game over, as I lost speed to rejoin the peloton already ahead like a bullet train.
I was able to finish the race with a little group of other riders,that were left behind from the peloton during the race.
As per my first race, I was pleased and enjoy it so much, I have learned the lessons and few tactics for the next race.The result of the race I think I was not last but at the back, which make me work more on improvements for the next.
There were definite a lot of riders being SaddleDrunk.You can see the race graph on http://connect.garmin.com/activity/428100746 .
Thank you until the next time.Just Keep SaddleDrunk.