Monday 10 March 2008

And we're off ! (But where's the power ?)

My racing season has started - only just.

After my false start last week, when a fallen tree prevented me from racing at Milton Keynes, I got away on the second attempt when I raced at Thruxton yesterday.

I remember my first ever visit to Thruxton last year had been a real miserable experience. The drab surroundings of this aerodrome and racing circuit. The lack of anything vaguely scenic on this windswept plain - just the sight of the odd light aircraft droning above, and the first aid car on standby in case of an accident. (It was amply used when there were 2 crashes during the hour-long race.) I was so rigid with cold, that I couldn't bring myself to get out of my top coat to do the warm up. The sight of Nikki Wheeler (I-Team) and Jenny Lloyd Jones (London Dynamo) spinning madly away on their turbo trainers didn't make me relish what could be "hard core" competition. Feeling pent up with anxiety, I ducked out of the race, preferring to watch from the sidelines while Fred made his valiant efforts. I felt ashamed to have been such a big girl's blouse that day and resolved to return to Thruxton the very next week.

I have since been back there on a number of occasions, and have even learned to know and love this circuit. And it's not always bleak. The sun actually shines sometimes !

So when I arrived at the circuit yesterday I was looking forward to events. However, the race was not all that good for me. The first race of the season is always a good test to see where you are. For me, it was quite clear. I was at the back ! It wasn't going to be a massive surprise though. I had endurance, and even a bit of speed, but I hadn't got round to working on my power yet. And it was telling ! Various attacks were made out of corners and into the cross wind, and my lack of power was quite apparent. The large peloton meant that I should have been shielded from the wind, but in fact I found myself drifting to the side in order to avoid getting caught up in a possible crash. Of course that led to me being unsheltered, and needing to use even more power to keep up with the bunch. But I didn't have enough of the strong stuff so I got dropped. Hey ho ! I wasn't too ashamed of my effort, as there were others in the same position as me. In fact I wasn't at the very back. There were 11 women who started the race. I finished 10th, so I think I may have even earned one British Cycling point. How about that !

So now I am aware of this weakness I shall do as the text books say and train to it. Next weekend will see another round at Thruxton, plus a race at Milton Keynes Bowl on Saturday. Hopefully I'll make a slightly better account of myself.

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