Race Report – Eugene Cross Croft Circuit 23/1

Velo 29 Croft Circuit Race

Each Saturday I get the unrivalled pleasure of going onto Strava and seeing here everyone has been on their Saturday morning café ride. I usually get to do this whilst on the bus home having spent my Saturday morning at school.  However, once a half-term I do get to enjoy a long (regular length by a normal 17 year olds standards) weekend.  So to take advantage of my school holiday I went to go race at Croft Motor Circuit.

With the race being pan flat, in January, and a handicap race, I viewed the race as more of a smash fest, or a fitness test, than a race in which I had aspirations to win. The handicap system meant that 9 other 2nd cats and I would start 1 minute behind the 3rd cats and 2 minutes behind the 4th cats.  My group started off by working shockingly poorly together.  After the first 3 laps though a smooth chain gang had evolved which saw us make steady progress on the bunch.  It took 7 laps out of the 15 lap race for the 10 of us to catch the other 50 or so riders.

At this point I looked around and came to a similar conclusion to what I had assumed. If this comes down to a sprint I will get torn apart.  The group was made up of people who most likely spend all year sprinting around flat circuits.  The general feel of the group was that on a pan-flat non-technical course to attack was futile as this race was destined for a sprint finish. So after spending a lap in the group working my way to the front I attacked repetitively.  I attacked three times on the next lap, doing little more than stringing out the group each time.  Only at two laps to go did 5 of us get a considerable gap.   A strong variation of ability and fatigue meant that we did not work together very smoothly and we were swept up with about half a lap to go.

Coming into the final half a lap it seemed all my hard work to make an exciting race was wasted. Feeling tired from previous efforts I sat a little far back in the group.  Going through the chicane on the back straight a rider three in front of me whipped out.  Having braked sharply to avoid him I made an effort to get back involved but resigned to allow the heavies to fight it out in the headwind finish.

In conclusion, I have nothing to show for my activity throughout the race (other than data from my heart rate monitor on Training Peaks). But as always I feel satisfied with having tested my fitness and seeing how I felt after 3 months off from racing.  Only disappointment is that I’m unlikely to race again until March.  That and the fact that I still have Saturday school.

Well done Eugene – great to get a first outing under your belt and show off ‘team colours’!Eugene-Cross

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