I spent the night and a lot of the race thinking that I had a chance and I ended up finishing somewhere between 11th (a guess) and 15th maybe even worse. I got the pro treatment pre race so I should have done better. Darren called me up to say that he had got the Strada 46s back and that he would meet me at 8:30 to set up my bike. He was keen to get the ceramic bearings tested. These wheels look awesome. They are lighter than my Fulcrum Racing 1s are about as stiff but are wider. The extra width gives a better shape to the tyre and dramatically improves cornering (not something that I would be concerned about at Goodwood). Darren builds all the Strada wheels.
This was a 4th cat race so we had to make our speed ourselves, no Elites, 1st, 2nd or 3rds to bring up our average. The bunch was a bit twitchy, at times, scary made worse by the wind causing us to round the last bend on an unusual line – this was bound to cause a problem later, and it did.
I chatted with a good young rider form Worthing, Lewis Norris. I asked him if he was going to go off in a break. I said I’d go too and he retorted with “if you can keep up”. That put me in my rightful place as I would not have the legs to stay away unless there was a sizeable group. And so the race unfolded with nothing happening. I was sure the organisers would add a lap.
As the last lap started I manoeuvred to the front and so did every one else. I lost then regained a good position and on the back straight I found Lewis’s wheel. That was where I intended to stay! He’d make the perfect lead out man. I lost him as the group accelerated into the wind on the final straight. I opted for a safe line and stayed to the left as riders were all over the place. There was a crash but you never look – just ride and hope. In the melee I lost Lewis and then as the sprint proper began I found myself locked onto his wheel again. Perfect, but I was no where near full power, boxed in and watching riders leave me behind. I screamed at my lead out man to encourage his effort and then in desperation. I resorted to some mountain biking riding up the grass to avoid piling into the back of him. I lunged for the line passing it before I had a chance to hit top speed let alone get to that sickly feeling of fading before the line. By the way, Lewis didn’t know that I had chosen him to lead me out. I just pick the rider that I think would have a go for the win, it’s a good tip if you think that you have a chance.
Better luck next time. I’ve got to start finishing in the top ten otherwise I’ll never become a 3rd cat.
I went for a ride over to the horse racing course for a warm down and to get a few more miles in. The race was only 30 miles and I only did a short turn at the front so despite the average speed, it was not a very tough day, but that is road racing.
Thanks a lot Darren and well done to Ryan for having a go. Finally, best wishes to all the crash victims (several crashes happened in the 3rds race).
Results will be posted here once they have sorted out the video, I’ll probably be 20th….