Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Crystal Palace 2010, Race 5

Having missed round 3 because I was helping as assistant commissaire and round 4 because I was recovering from Bedford, after Sunday's disappointing race at Hillingdon I was eager to burn up the tarmac at Crystal Palace last night. We got another good field of women out with 15 on the start line, though with the warm weather it seemed every 3rd and 4th cat guy in London was there as well. The average speed turned out to be faster than usual and 25 laps made it the longest so far, at just under an hour.

Such a close finish! This pic was taken a few metres before the line (courtesy of London Cycle Sport.)

We started out easily enough but within a few laps Natalie from Twickenham had come to the front to start pushing the pace. This dropped a handful of riders from the group, and spurred on by Charlie from Cyclefit, Natalie and I put in some attacks to try and get a gap. We never really managed to get away, but did manage to tire some legs, and with about 10 laps to go we were down to seven riders. Attacking more at that point seemed futile as the fracturing of the other races meant we had to endure group after group of men overtaking us (though we overtook a fair few men ourselves).

On the final lap, Natalie -- doing too much work on the front as usual! -- was pushing the pace with my KW teammate Emily on her wheel, followed by Emma P from the Dynamos (the only sprinter left in the group at that point) and me. I tried to time my now-customary bid for freedom on the hill so that Emma was out of position and couldn't jump on my wheel, but I think I was slightly overgeared as I hit the steepest bit of hill and felt like I was stalling. I managed to keep her to the outside on the bend but knew it was a losing cause as she quickly overtook me, leaving me with no option but to get on her wheel and settle for second. Or so I thought. Fifty yards before the line, she was labouring a bit, and I thought "could I? can I? actually win this?"

I stood up, found my legs keen to give it a try, dug in with everything I had and almost magically found myself coming around her left side. I nearly ran out of road but just nicked my wheel in front of hers in time. The few seconds afterward weren't ones of celebration but instead a mix of shock, disbelief and nausea as I tried to recover from what was apparently a massive effort; I hardly ever feel pushed right to the limit of being sick in a race. Power numbers show new peak watts for 45 to 55 seconds, so clearly I was working hard!

So it's the most exciting win yet in my short-lived racing career, but maybe not one I'll be able to repeat often as my typical "jump with a minute to go" must be looking old hat to the others! The good news is that Emily came in a strong third so I think we've got some more KW cards to play in the future. It'll have to wait two weeks though, as next week I'm back to my role as assistant commissaire.

Entire workout (197 watts):
Duration: 55:30 (55:58)
Work: 657 kJ
TSS: 99.5 (intensity factor 1.037)
Norm Power: 244
VI: 1.24
Pw:HR: 7.2%
Pa:HR: 1.52%
Distance: 33.053 km
Elevation Gain: 726 m
Elevation Loss: 727 m
Grade: -0.0 % (0 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 716 197 watts
Heart Rate: 118 187 171 bpm
Cadence: 38 182 99 rpm
Speed: 0.6 63 35.7 kph
Altitude: 73 99 87 m
Crank Torque: 0 89.6 18.6 N-m

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