Today i felt emancipated from the shackles of mental slavery. I’m sure Marcus Garvey would approve. A couple of slightly shonky races and a demeaning argument with the turbo trainer had left me feeling fragile and debased. I knew there was only one thing for it: a return to that most scientific of racing and pacing strategies: PLF.
I rode the Chippenham 10 at an ungodly hour. I got up at 4.50am and went to Cricklade in the middle of the outer edges of nowhere. I rode to the start for my allotted time of 7.20am. Tavis Walker was also riding in the club colours, as was Andy Legge. This meant we had a strong team and a clear shout for the team prize. We rode to the start together in case one of us got lost. That would mean we would all miss the event, but at least we’d have each other for company.
The sun was shining and the wind was light. It was a bit chilly but after last week’s debacle on the Glyn Neath bank i opted to not wear my gloves. it was a good call, i didn’t notice their absence. Once out of the gate i stuck it in the biggest gear i could manage and pushed it up the drag to the turn. Once over the hardest section i was averaging 27mph which set me up nicely for the last 5 miles. I managed 31mph back and pushed the average up to 29.1 for the race. This left me with a satisfying new PB of 20.42 on a course that’s probably slower than the reverse variant where i set the last PB in better conditions.
Rob Pears did what Rob Pears usually does, he managed a 19.56 to win. I was second and Tavis 3rd. One stranded and punctured competitor got in a right pickle on his way to the start, trying to pump up his repaired tyre but pulling the valve out. A passing knight astride his steed, one Sir Tavis of Walker, adhered to the chivalric code and lent him his Zipp Uber Disc and the chap got to ride after all, setting a season’s best. I’m sure the scorching sound of the disc, along with a surfeit of adrenaline, combined to help. With Andy in 6th we took the team prize and i took home a whopping £45 for my efforts, one of the biggest paydays yet. I felt pleased to be back on an upwards curve, and glad to feel the sun on my back. That may change tomorrow with the Cheltenham Hardrider.
There were other successes, BSCC Ed scored a PB in tricky conditions. Whilst chatting afterwards he mentioned he had trouble getting it in the big ring on the outward leg. I suggested that if you slack off on the pedal stroke ever so slightly it allows the chain to catch. Then i asked him what the hell he was doing in the small ring. Apparently another club rider spins it out of the gate with a mega high cadence and it seems to work. I pooh-poohed this idea and told Ed to use the big ring always. It’s not a hillclimb after all, it’s one of the faster courses in the district. In the words of Richard Prebble, the small ring is for popping to the shops.