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Getting used to the heat

After a week of recovery, it was nice to get stuck into some hot races last weekend. I felt fresh and ready to go!

On Saturday I had a standard category 2/3 circuit race. Not sure how I was expecting to do considering I hadn’t been training, so I would be more fresh. In the first 15 mins or so, a group of 5 gets away, which had riders from all the main teams and looked promising. I then worked really hard to bridge across with 5 other riders, which wasn’t at all easy. We soon caught up with the breakaway ahead, but unfortunately this all came to nothing. I put a lot of effort in catching the breakaway and it was a shame that my effort was all for nothing. Once we were all together again, I found myself at the back of the race, as I was just trying to recover, but the race was splitting apart ahead of me. Small groups kept getting away, but I just didn’t have the legs to follow them. I just stayed in the peloton, and took it easy. After a while I found my power again so I started to work in the peloton to chase the groups ahead. By this point we were halfway into the race, and I soon realised the groups ahead are long gone. The peloton weren’t working very well together, it was quite lazy and boring. We just kept a fairly easy pace, but no one wanted to push the pace. I tried to go solo and pick up the pace, but I was just caught by the peloton and then it was easy and boring again. It was a shame, since I knew I could’ve been in the breakaway, I just chose the wrong one, and then sat back too much when the important moves went up the road.

There isn’t much to report on from this race, I was feeling pretty good, the recovery week must’ve helped freshen up my legs. I was aware I had a much bigger race on Sunday so I wanted to save myself for that a bit. Therefore in the last lap of the race I attacked, caught up with 2 other guys, then caught and overtook a small group, before sprinting to the line. I felt great in that last lap, just picking off riders relatively effortlessly, just goes to show how it could’ve been..

I was much more excited for the Sunday race, 130km with a quality field, on a nice 12km circuit. This is much more my style, if you know me, you’ll know I love a hard race, and the course looked ideal for me. 11 laps of a 12km circuit, and it had some nice rollers in, nothing too extreme but some steep kickers.

I felt on better form than Saturday, much more relaxed, despite it being a fairly big field of over 100 riders, mainly consisting of cat 1 riders, I felt in my comfort zone here. The start was pretty stressful as usual, but I was able to get myself up to the front and stay there. Followed some moves which I thought could get up the road, but nothing came to it. I was feeling great, the first couple of laps I was comfortably at the front, and I wasn’t feeling like it was too difficult, there were some promising feelings.

A breakaway went up the road, and got about a minutes’ gap. After about 35km I decided to go to the back of the peloton to get a water bottle from the car convoy, since it was very hot and I thought it was a good time considering the race had calmed down a bit, and I didn’t think I would miss anything important. Unfortunately, I timed my trip to the back of the race at the worst moment. As soon as I was at the back of the race, I could see the front of the race splitting apart completely. I was a bit surprised at this, but more alarmed as to what I am going to do now. I took the bottle, and made my way back to the peloton, which was much harder than normal. By the time I reach the back of the peloton, it’s all strung out in a long line, which is bad for me as I had to overtake riders one by one.

I spent a lot of energy working my way up the peloton, and I was really annoyed by this. It was all my mistake, and there was no one else to blame for it. I went back to the car convoy to get a bottle just as the race completely blew apart, and I know if I was around the front, like I always was, I would’ve been in a great position in the race. Instead I was stuck in the remains of the peloton, while there were several groups ahead of me now.

I simply just made the best out of a bad situation, fortunately the peloton were quite motivated in keeping a high pace in the hope of catching some other riders, and we did end up catching a couple of groups, as well as many single riders. The group I was in was called the ‘peloton’ as we were the largest group in the race, but we had no more than 15 riders for the second half of the race. The high pace we maintained, ended up whittling down the group. The peloton was about 70 riders big at the start, but by keeping a high pace, some riders just couldn’t keep up. I was happy with how we worked as a peloton, at least it wasn’t just easy and boring like Saturday, and I was still pushing it. By the end of it, I was ready to call it a day. A great training session by all measures, but it was definitely a weekend of ‘what could’ve been’.. Still, I’m more than happy with how I performed, but this weekend I just need to make sure it’s at the front of the race!

The races I did last weekend were great preparation for some of my bigger races to come, I have a solid weekend coming up with 2x category 123 races, Saturday and Sunday, both over 120km each. Sure to be a great opportunity for some results. But for the next 3-4 weeks the main focus is training, so any results before then is just a bonus. However it’s really nice to see the form improving each weekend!

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