East Kilbride Summertime Classic
A few years ago I dabbled in road racing but found it impossible to stay with the bunch in men’s races. There weren’t a lot of women’s only races, and you might as well enter a time trial if you’re just going to get dropped in the first kilometre!
But now there are a few more women’s races in Scotland and I wanted to support at least one of them this year. If you don’t use them, you lose them! The opportunity came last weekend, squeezed between the Celtman and the Sting. My dad was visiting and agreed to drive me over to Fenwick in Ayrshire.
14 riders started on what had promised to be a very wet day but turned into a showery day, with one little burst of hailstones. I had swotted up on road race tactics by watching the Tour de France ;-). I also expect Andy to be an expert in absolutely anything bike related, so I gave him a good grilling beforehand!
I had only entered for fun and had nothing to lose, but I still wanted a good ride. So I got in position in the bunch on about second or third wheel and stayed alert to any moves. I was nervous when I found myself in the middle of the group so stuck to the outside edge. This wasn’t so good though when I kept getting squeezed out into the road. I should have sharpened those elbows a bit better!
At the start of the second lap everyone was rolling round chatting. It didn’t feel like a race at all. So despite my resolution not to work at the front I went forward to pick up the pace a bit. People stopped talking but the group sped up and stayed together. It carried on like this every time anyone made an effort. There was a tail wind on the long straight section, a strong headwind on the hilly twisty section and no teams with enough people to keep driving the pace. This meant no break was going to get away, the strongest riders weren’t getting tired out and very few people got dropped. It was a bit frustrating as there was never going to be any other finish than a sprint at the end. I haven’t done any training for sprints!
I was feeling good on the final hills but got slightly boxed in when I might have liked to push ahead a bit. Suddenly a move went and I was in my small chainring spinning down a little dip! My legs went like a whisk and I had just got back on when they went again! I wasn’t ready! So they all whizzed away up the hill finish and I was left trailing. I caught two on the way up though, as now my chainring choice was just right :D.
Afterwards I pondered if I should have been more reckless, pushed it harder or tried a jump … even though it probably wouldn’t have been sensible. I wanted to try again and see what different tactics might work to shake things up a bit. In some ways, I wish it was a computer game where I could keep hitting replay!
I finished 6th, enjoyed myself and stayed safe. I also got a chance to chat to Elizabeth and meet some new friends, so all round it was a good day out :-).