A Riders View....

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June 11th 2014

Race: Pedal Heaven/Eelmore Circuit Series, Hampshire, Round 3. 3rds and 4ths. Perfect conditions, 24c and dry

There is a considerable rivalry between 3 or 4 local teams each fielding several riders. As I walked back to my car with my number, 51 !!!! The best number in the history of cycling.

I slowed to hear a US style pep-talk given to 7 or 8 riders in a team all on their identical S Works and Evade aero lids. I could see they were talking tactics. It ended with a loud collective grunt. I felt like Daniel San in the Karate Kid when faced with the Cobra Kai.

Any how, I laughed and dropped another caffeine gel, did my warm up and lined up with 59 others. Full field. The race was brisk with quite a few attacks, we weren't hanging about. I stayed toward the first 15 as best I could.

I wasn't feeling the hairpin corners, still need more race practice on the tight bends. As the race got towards the last 15mins I could tell people were tiring, a good sign for me. It became easier to hold position.

Then suddenly my contact lens clouded over and I was down to 1 clear eye. It threw me and I started to tell myself that's a great excuse to roll over as it made the corners a nightmare: I couldn't judge distance. It was also fast fast.

But, as I was drifting back in the bunch, a rat-faced bloke barged past me and told me to "f'ing move over!" That was all I needed. I would beat that bloke if it killed me.

I kept moving up and got round the last hairpin in about 12th place. Carnage. 350m to the line. I began picking riders off, or was it just the lead-out trains uncoupling?! Haha. A gap opened with 150m to go, I was still only 8th ish and I booted it again. No-one had come past me and I got within a length of the first 2. I had closed down a fair distance but they were strong enough to hold on. Fair play. Another 50m and Good Night Vienna. But the line is the line.

I'm pretty sure if I master the last bend and get round it in top 5, its Crane (Double) Kick time. Overall I'm pretty happy given I pushed myself out of the comfort zone. Some rider kudos and admiring glances of the kit so well worth the effort.

As usual I am now wired on guarana gels and the iced coffee I drink during the race. I think what I need is a 200 mile ride. Good night.

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Team Cystic Fibrosis is a charity cycling team riding and racing in a broad section of cycling disciplines.

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