Jenny’s impressive form show’s no sign of abating. Here’s her report from her two races last week
Having written about cakes and lines, perhaps it finally time to write a race report about cycling.
Velopark. Thursday 21 April. – 2nd Overall
I was pretty nervous as I’ve cycled just once previously at the Velopark at a training session held by the club in wintery January. The training was a memorable experience.
It was raining. In fact a deluge would be a better description. Everything was dripping wet and very cold. At one point it hailed.
About 30mins into the training I saw a white flash across my vision. I wasn’t sure if this was simply a sign of my heart and lungs giving out, or someone taking a picture of the group with a powerful camera. A few seconds later there was the wallop crack of thunder and I realised the flash was in fact lightening.
That is when my velopark training session ended. I was informed this is pretty standard winter training.
(I have since researched how to survive a lightening storm when cycling, if anyone is interested. It seems to involve a squatting position on the ground with elbows on knees and hands on head, and removing the metal or carbon frame bike far away. Just in case you ever see cyclists squatting at the roadside- its their lightening protection position being adopted.)
It was a relief that the course this Thursday was dry and it was a relatively warm evening.
The group of women set out and we all held together until about 10 minutes into the race when a single women made a break for it. Nobody followed- at least initially. It was a really fast break. I remember thinking that’s ridiculous- she’ll never hold that lead alone, it’s too early in the race. I had a split second to decide whether to chase, and for some reason I chased. I caught her and we had opened up a large gap between us and everybody else.
What to do?
She spoke to me and in as much as you can have a discussion on a bike, in a race, we came to the agreementthat it would be wasted effort not to work together from this point on.
For the rest of the race we co-ordinated efforts on the front. As we did so the gap got larger and larger, we got more confident, and closer to a one, two finish.
I was a bit unsure of the finish line- really the effort had been team, but in the final bit I heard her gears change behind me and she had the sprint to the line by about half a bike length. (there has to be a winner!)
The advantage of working together was huge and it felt pretty good to have kept the chasing group away.
Westpoint Saturday 23 April
The next race was Saturday at Westpoint. This race was a lot harder, probably because the field was strong and the wind was blowing as a head wind across one section of the course.
I didn’t do quite as well at this race, but I learnt more.
I can’t tell you after how long, but relatively early in the race the person in front of me had a bike issue. I almost cycled into them- it looked like they were going to cartwheel when their chain came off. I swerved braked and got dropped. The next 10 minutes I was trying to get back on as a solo effort, but with the headwind I was getting further and further behind. The lead group of about 8 cyclists were about half a lap in front and I had lost hope. I was feeling very, very sorry for myself and very weak. I was questioning what the point was. Questioning myself.
I felt like giving up.
A few things happened next-
1.One of the mdcc guys kept shouting encouragement at me. (I wanted to shout back- whats the point- but didn’t have the breath) Every time I passed he shouted some words of wisdom at me about my position on bike and to keep going.
2.Anoter cyclist came up behind me.
I thought I was pushing hard but this cyclist was pushing even harder. I didn’t know it was possible to push yourself like that.
Team work came into play again. Together we co-ordinated efforts on the front. Gradually working together we pulled the distance back in and caught up to the lead group. I couldn’t believe we were doing it.
Somehow when you know you are not suffering alone it makes it all seem more possible, like the pain is easier to endure.
I had nothing left for the final sprint at the end of the race. (I think I was seventh or eighth) But to be honest the satisfaction from catching back up and being at the finish line at all, was pretty good.
Also the realisation that you are always stronger working together. Team work is the way forward.
And never to give up.
I told one of the C riders on the Sunday ride I’d include some poetry in my next report ( I don’t think he believed me.) So here it is- a quote of sorts that’s been changed over the years. Rudyard Kipling I believe.
‘This is the law of the wild,
And the law of the wild is this,
As old and as true as the sky,
And the wolf who keeps it shall live,
And the wolf who breaks it shall die.
Like the wind that runs forwards and back,
The strength of the pack is the wolf,
And the strength of the wolf is the pack.