The encouragement may just be working. This Sunday three (yes, 3!!!) Redhill racers turned up at Preston Park to represent the club at this popular track crit series. Current race ace Matthew Ferguson, looking to build his points total further plus Simon Webster and new racer Michael Dickson trying it out for the first time.
Two have done write-ups of their experiences, so here we go...
This was my first attempt at a race. It was the Cat 4 race at Preston Park. I arrived exceptionally early and proceeded to start my warm up routine, check the bike, etc. and all was good. Slowly but surely a few more riders started joining in the warm up process. My nerves were starting to flare at this point, but only slightly, and only because I didn't know what to expect. My only thought was to not get dropped.
At 8:20, I took my position at the front, rather wait and get a good start. The race started with a slow turn around the track and then a whistle post 1 lap and the race was on. One thing I noticed, is with the inexperienced riders, they all started pushing hard for the first 20 minutes. I was slowly getting churned to the back. I waited until I was clear and made a hard push from the back on the outside to take the lead and started forming a solo break. I was concerned that I wouldn't have the power to sustain it (I now know that I should have stayed with it). So I let the peloton catch up and I tried to form a chain gang. All I heard from the peloton post that move was "watch Redhill". I knew at that point I was marked. I became boxed in and battled to move. Everywhere I looked boxed and I just couldn't get any room to move. I thought to sit in and store my energy. My plan was to open up on the second last lap. When the second last lap came, I started my burn down the outside, moving up, until a rider in front clipped the outside barrier and went down straight in front of me. With no where to go, I went straight into the downed cyclist, not remembering much from the fall other than flying over him. Thankfully, not feeling much pain from the fall other than in my ankle. I helped the downed cyclist up and we moved to the side of the track. I was feeling exceptionally dissapointed that I couldn't finish. But talking to the track manager, I was asking about getting a chance to join back in, he double checked if I was sure, and I just had to finish. I manged to jumped back on and had to join the back of the peloton with 1 lap to go! After taking a fall, and being shook up, I did all I could to seal a final finish of 14th place.
At the end of the race, it has fuelled me to attempt the next one and learn from some mistakes I feel I made on the route. But all in all, a good day out, exhilarating, scary and adrenaline pumping race.
I need more!