I headed out on the Friday before to ride the coarse so i had a idea not like the the other race. 1 real bad left hand turn with pot holes into the worst climb just before Sherston, so i now thought this wouldn’t be to bad.
So race day and i didn’t feel to bad, as we rolled out in the neutralised zone it didn’t seem very neutralised and i had ended up towards the back lots of hard braking and accelerations and we hadn’t even started yet. I was feeling quite comfortable as we came to the Sherston turn and climb. By the top of the climb i was hurting with HR right up and legs burning a bit, i thought just a little bit more and we will be on the down hill. As we came to the down hill i was just not recovering enough to keep on the back, one other. rider had dropped back a bit and i tried to keep his wheel, i just couldn’t stay on it. There i was think this is another race i have been dropped early on, when another couple of riders came from behind, it turned out to be 4 other riders behind me, i hadn’t been completely droppped. It all seem like 2 of the other riders wanted to work together to keep it with the others just hanging on. On the 2nd lap 2 of the orther riders dropped off as we went through Sherston again which just left 3 of us. 2 of us did work well, with the other just hanging on the back. It was a relive to complete the 3rd lap and get the bell as i know at this point we could not be lapped. The 3 3 of us completed the 4th and final lap, i managed a sprint finish but my legs pretty much cramped up as i went over the line, all be it a empty line as everyone had all ready gone. But i had finished a full length race not a lap behind i felt reasonable pleased small steps and all that.
When we got back to the race HQ i spoke with Commissionaire about how we had finished and no one was about and she mentioned she had driven passed on the way back and seen us and had marked us down as finishing.
Double bonus for me not only had i now finished a full length race but i was classed as finishing as well. So things are still heading in the right direction just a little slower than i would have liked.
No photo’s again, this time due to how far the HQ was from the circuit
It all started quite well i was in with the main group more towards the back but still in the group, i manged to get past the 11 min mark that i had previously been dropped in the other races so it was going well. Not alot happening in the race, a lot of fast accelerations away from the corners which i could feel taking the toll on my legs it was about the 3rd lap that small split between the front and back half of the group appeared and i was in the back group. I had to use a few more of my matches to get back on the front group. I was feeling ok, legs where definitely now feeling.
It was at about 1Hr 30mins into the race that my legs finally gave up and i just couldn’t keep on the back, legs just had nothing, i was now feeling very disappointed that i hadn’t made the whole race again. I still need to work on my position for at least the 1st few laps. Not how i had hoped it would go but it is the longest i have been in the race for.
Most of the photo’s from the race all nearly all already on Facebook.
I had got my self right towards the front of the pack as rolled out from HQ, which was good but we had stop at a set of lights and when we started again the rider in front of struggled to get clipped back in and i end up sliding back through at least half the pack, not far after this we turn ed right on to the 1st part of the climb up to finish line, i felt reasonably comfortable with pace it did pick up quite a bit as we started going across the start/finish, i thought i was doing quite well at this point we then started the longer part of the climb, i was work quite hard to keep up but towards the top my HR did seem to going right up, may be the length and pace of the climb. I did notice one other rider drop of the back, my heart went up again and i lost the back of the pack. After rider to top of this climb after being dropped i might just have been able to hang on if i had ridden the route before hand. Not long after i was dropped i saw 2 other get dropped so i now had carrot to chase.
It took me about 1 lap to catch one of the other riders as the other had stopped. I did suggest riding together and making it a good training ride but he didn’t seem interested and stopped about 1/2 lap later. As normal i kept going. I was waiting to be lapped but this didn’t seem to come until i was on my way up the 1st climb towards the start/finish, i had to stop to let 2 riders past, i then continued. I had the start/finish line in my sight and only being lapped my 2 riders. It was until got really close to the line everyone started clapping and shouting as they all thought i was 3rd. So at least i now know what it feels like to finish 3rd all be it 1 lap down.
At after receiving the result for this race i was 43rd out of 44 so i now have Cotswold league point equal to my point for last year.
I had a change of plan for tonights race and that was to hide in the pack and not chase anything that went a bit faster than me. I had just made my way towards the front of the pack about half way through the race when they was some very loud cracks and shouts, not sure what happen but a lot of riders did come with various bits of damage to bikes. All was going well for me towards the front now with a greatly reduced pack. On the penultimate lap i got a bit carried away and did chase a small group and ended up on the front, not where i wanted to be at this stage. I did manage to get back of the front with out using to many of my matches. On the last lap coming up to the slight climb and chicane i was feeling pretty good as we came out of the chicane a few of the riders started there sprint very early, not to let them get to far i started as well it was a long sprint across the line the legs did feel it going across the line, i had got 4th in our group but 2 riders had got of the front so it was 6th overall.
I was quite happy how i played the race apart from the penultimate lap and long sprint, but never mind.
2 points left to get for CAT 3, This time last year i never thought i would be in the position and the BC websites say’s i am 3rd in the region in Cat 4:-)
We had the normal briefing and we rolled out i had got my self in about front 3rd of the pack at this point as we crossed the start/finish i had manage to stay in the top 3rd, all was feeling good and i had settled in quite well, until about 5 mins in i went of a pothole or drain cover which some how had knock by rear brake caliper to one side, i now had one of the brake pads fully on the rim which could be felt. So i was now sliding back through the pack , once the last rider had passed, i stop to have a look at the problem, i was able to fix the problem quite quickly re-centering the caliper and i was ready to go again, the pack was still in sight which made the chase a little easier than in my previous 2/3/4.
It didn’t take long for me to get back on the pack but i had now used more than a few a of my matches !! I was now going to be happy to finish the race with everyone else. The next 2 laps where not to bad and i did manage to stay on the back quite comfortably.
We got to within about 2-3 Km of the finish when up front a rider had got himself into the ditch and while getting back out had taken a 7-8 other riders down. Some how i managed to stop only not coming off my leaning against another rider, we both looked at each other with a look of “that was close”. By now the front group had gone up the road and with it being so close to finish nit wasn’t going to be possible to catch them up, i did manage to climb a few places on the final climb towards the finishing. Clad to be finishing where i did but not because of my fitness but because of how many things had gone wrong thought the race.
We are getting closer to a proper group finish. Only have a video of just after th crash which is too large to put up on here but can be seen here https://www.facebook.com/myles.thwaites/posts/10155834073512950?comment_id=10155838841142950¬if_id=1525846921801059¬if_t=feed_comment&ref=notif
It was a very windy evening and a little chilly. Having never raced here before it was always going to be interesting. Again i was feeling quite good and ready for the race.
The race started a quite a fast pace, i manged to be at the front this time, hoping to get on a break, start from the start there were attacks, i was very eager to get on these attacks probably a little to eager. The back part of the coarse so horrible into wind, with no one won’t to be on the front for this part of the coarse, when i did end on the front at this part i kinda sat up and made sure i was putting out to much power and quite the power at my Z2 level as not to waste to much, which the group stuck with behind so it wasn’t to bad. i was also trying to find the best place to be coming into the chicane before the finish and not really being successful. About hal f way through 2 riders got a way just as the 2/3/4’s came past and we had to sit up so that was the last we saw of them, if our group had worked together we might have caught them but no one wanted to work together so that was it.
As we came into upto the chicane for the last time i was well out of position and legs had just about gone as well so as we got onto the finish straight i was well towards the back with no legs. Game over. I received a good finger wagging for sitting up and taking my hands of the bars, which i won’t do again !.
So 24th out of 35 finishers not great but not bad consider my 1st race at Thruxton and how windy it was. I just need to be a little lease eager to get away learn which breaks might work instead of trying them all.
As we rolled out from the race HQ there was lot of barging for positions already on the narrow road out. Once on the main road on the short climb up to the race start a lot more barge with a few riders crossing over the solid white lines to get a few places further up the field.
Once the flag had dropped, the group did speed off which i manged to keep up quite comfortably but with all the barging before i was now quite near the back of the pack. We had a sharp left hand bend which again i managed to keep up with ever one else shortly after the was a “Z” bend followed by as short sharp climb. I was well out of position for the bend and i was already blowing at the bottom of the climb trying to keep, by the top of the climb i had been spat out the back and the there were gone. I had lasted about 11 mins which is my 2nd worst race ever.
As per my true form i kept going round the circuit and only getting lapped just after 2hrs. I my final lap the de-tour to the finish line markings had gone so i ending up going the wrong way and i end up at the top of the hollybush climb thanks to me turning left and not right eventually turning round coming down the hill and finding the finish. The only people left at the finish this time was the medic vehicle and 2 injured riders that had crashed on the sprint.
The weather forecast had it down to start raining at the start of the CAT 4 races, if only this were true, is was already raining when i arrived at 1030. Trying to find somewhere dry to set the turbo up was quite hard as all the good places had already been take, i did manage did find a small area in the end.
There was a lot of hanging around in the pit area waiting for the last race to finish and for the rain to get heavier. Race was due to start 1230 and we got to the start line at about 1250, a quick talk from the commissaire and we where off.
It did start off quite quick into the first bend where i manged to get towards the front of the group, which is where i wanted to be due to the weather, i was still towards the front after the 1st lap and i was feeling really good, i ended up throwing my glasses about half way due to not being able to see through them, not sure this was a good idea tho as i still could n’t see without them due to all the spray, being towards the front did help a bit, some how i ended up leading the group over the line when we took the bell, as always the pace did pick up for the last lap. As we came into the last 2 bends there was a lot of fighting for positions where i was nearly taken out twice and had to break so i lost a few places after this. I left my sprint quite late as i now think that is best for my sprints, when i last looked up i was around 15th. AT the end i think i have only every been colder and wetter once and that was at Abingdon in the Winter Crits
Due to being so cold and wet i didn’t hang around to find out the finishing places as i didn’t think i had made top 10. A week later the finishing places where issued and i had got 10th place. A good effort in the conditions and foe being out for 2 weeks. It also turn’s out they had prizes for all top 10 in senior races so i quite pleased with how this race went. So i also missed the 1st official presentation of my a envelope which i had to re-create when it did arrive at home.
I started quite strong probably a bit to strong so when a break started at about 10-15 mins in i was unable to hold the last mans back wheel as they went into wind and the 5 meters quite quickly became a lot more and that was the break gone.
The rest of race went reasonably well either at the front or just off the front especially on the into wind sections. With 4 laps to go on the long straight after the finish line i heard someone say that we had a gap and to keep going which i did, from the photo’s i was the only one that did and i was unable to hold the gap i had going in to the wind straight the bunch quickly caught me up again. The last 3 laps were pretty uneventfully until the last straight on the way to finish, quite a few riders did overtake me, i did managed not to go to early and held off sprinting for bit then when i did go i manged to get a few places back and get 10th, for a change i timed it quite well being able to keep the sprint going until the line , all tho i did feel a little sick after.
So another point to my account, and i just have to be a bit more patient at the start.
It was the last race of the Western CX season, lovecrossed at Chavenage house. I started my last race thinking of retirement and feeling out of place. It was cold and I was feeling out of condition, not having raced for nearly 2 months suffering first from an injury then a chest infection that just robbed me of the ability to ride far less train. I did think of withdrawing, but it was the end of the season and the bike and I ought to give it a last go.
The race started and I was gridded on the front row, but not surprisingly I dropped down from the leaders. The conditions were muddy and to be honest I had to back out of it as my breathing was becoming too ragged, so the tactics became one of trying to carry as much speed as possible round the corners, and it started to become fun again. I managed to pass two riders at the end of the first lap, and I started to regain lost ground, when I carried just a bit too much speed round a corner and the ground rushed up to meet me. This event was novel in that there was a large crowd, so as I hit the ground I could hear a woman take a very dramatic anxious deep breath while the man next to her burst into laughter. It did not hurt as the there was plenty of mud but being committed and clipped in meant it took a long time to unclip get up again etc. And that was my race over part way through lap 2.
The course was long and varied. From the start a boggy piece of grass that was churning nicely, then through a wooded section where a compacted mud line started to form, up and down a couple of ha ha’s along past the other side of the finish line, over the boards with a raving MC, through a sandpit, then a long section with a steep drop followed by a long trudge back up hill, and at the top a long slow drag uphill on muddy grass against the wind to the start. Lovely.
In a away I quite enjoyed it, the lack of performance was annoying as I know I could do better, but the sand pit was not as bad as I thought, low gear and hit it in a straight line with good cadence was the secret. Plus to lift the mood on the last lap I managed to nearly go as fast as my first lap and nearly made a place back while dropping 3 other riders in that drag uphill against the wind. The event had a touch of carnival about it, a young lady went down where I crashed earlier to a great cheer and Si from GCN could be seen racing later getting a lot of stick for not bunny hopping the boards from the crowd/MC.
How did the season end, well I was 12th in league better than I expected, in fact not bad given I only had 8 not 10 counting races (1 lost to illness, and 2 rounds cancelled.) Thoughts of retirement? Perhaps/perhaps not, the issue is injuries take longer and longer to recover from these days. I will be more careful on the rounds I do and importantly the ones I will not. I do need to get my breathing sorted, perhaps borrow a TUE from sky or something so that is under investigation. Denfurlong is one to miss, injuring my hamstring slipping trying to get through that quarry and I should have stopped. The best think about that round was the photo’s of me falling off while failing to power up the banking, the right leg was just not working And in more good news Strava tells me I am at about the same place now as I was in May of last year, so while things have held me back it is a lot better than a broken arm.