Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Crystal Palace 2010, Race 1

Last week was our London Women's Cycle Racing league race at Crystal Palace, that short twisty crazy circuit in south London. With the daylight hours not stretching much past 8pm, the race was underway at 7:15 and lasted a mere 30 minutes for the ladies, about 40 for the E/1/2 men's. But that didn't deter people from signing on, there were over 100 people on the circuit by the time the races started!

Photo courtesy of John Mx of LondonCyleSport

I was freezing from standing around waiting to start so I hit it hard in the first lap and managed to string it out pretty good and drop some of the less confident/fit riders. In fact my max minute and 2 mins was in the first lap... oops! A few laps later we were down to probably ~12 riders and I attacked hard up the hill. Not sure if I even got a gap as there were some strong riders in our race and they were definitely chasing everything, but I started to tire some legs at least. Tried it again around lap 7, again, not much of a gap but lots of heavy breathing behind me! I really have to mount a camera on my seatpost so I can see what happens when I jump, at the moment I have no idea if my attacks don't stick because I don't jump away hard enough, give up too soon, or get chased down too eagerly. At least I dropped some more people with it.

So with a few laps to go and the front group down to about 6, I figured it would be a bunch sprint which didn't thrill me as we had some sprinter-types hanging on the back that I thought might steal something at the line. Also problematic was the way the men's races, particularly the 3/4 race, had broken up so badly that there was a constant stream of men overtaking us. For about 2 laps straight there was just one small group after another, leaving us to just ride around and not really do much.

We hit the bell lap and the two Pearson's riders, Elise and Mathilde had tried to cook something up. Mathilde hammered off the front around the hairpin and down the hill and Elise who was 2nd wheel let her have a tiny gap. I was 3rd wheel thinking, I gotta get around Elise! but that wasn't going to happen til the hill, I'm just too little to gain anything on people descending. We came around the bottom corner to go up the hill and I was still 3rd wheel, but then Mathilde started flagging and I saw my only chance. I jumped hard and buried myself going up the hill, just hoping that I had enough of a gap to make the sprinters have to kill themselves to catch and overtake me.

We came around the top corner and lo and behold, a dozen 3/4s all over the road pedalling like morons because they had been dropped (and likely lapped) ages ago, heading to the line. Seriously, if you've effectively stopped racing with a few laps to go, get off the damned track already! They were completely in our way. I had to decide quickly what to do, I ended up picking the right side, which was the long way around the bend but looked to have the most space to get by. I just floored it and hoped for the best, and managed to get the win. It was very close between me, Claire from Rapha and sprinter Emma from LD, I really think I just got lucky not getting tangled up with the guys. Frustrating for the other girls I can imagine, but then again, nobody but me did any attacking during the race, so if they wanted a better result, they should have made something happen I guess. Thankfully John Mx was there doing the judging which must have been a complete mess with us finishing in the middle of a pack of men.

So not a bad win, though with Charlie B and some others absent, it didn't really feel like an awesome one. Wish I could have done something more with my attempts to get a gap, but with such a short race maybe that was always going to be wishful thinking.

Entire workout (206 watts):
Duration: 29:11 (29:24)
Work: 360 kJ
TSS: 59 (intensity factor 1.101)
Norm Power: 259
VI: 1.26
Pw:HR: 2.28%
Pa:HR: 2.07%
Distance: 17.163 km
Elevation Gain: 358 m
Elevation Loss: 361 m
Grade: -0.0 % (-3 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 744 206 watts
Heart Rate: 129 188 169 bpm
Cadence: 30 125 96 rpm

Last lap at 1:58 and 291 AP!

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