Matt Makes A Come Back at Perfs Race
So it is 12th of February on a very cold(-3 when we left the frosty suburb of Guildford)morning and I'm sitting in my car with the heater on full blast trying to stay warm before I brave the short walk across an icy carpark to the event hq where I need to sign on and collect my race number,When I entered the Perfs pedal road race back in December I thought what a great season opener it would be,having raced it before and done ok in it I thought it couldn't have got any harder in the 2years I have been away from racing,well I was going to find out how hard it could be!
All was going good due to the very mild winter we were having I was doing 12-14 hrs a week on the bike and feeling pretty good a few kgs over race weight but that would go when the warmer weather gets here(and when I stop eating cakes and drinking beer) I was confident that I was in good enough shape to al least stay with the bunch if not get into an early move.
So mid January rolls round still feeling happy that it is all going in the wright direction the receive the start sheet for the Perfs pedal race,so with familiar feelings I opened the start sheet and scanned the riders list for any names I recognised,well there were more than a few names there I knew it seemed what was once a early season leg opener for British based elites has turned into a full blown pro race with some of the u.k's top pro riders there,if that wasn't enough most of them were all on the same team UK youth(a British based pro conti team) had fielded 9 very strong riders including Magnus bascksted(tour de France stage winner,paris roubaix winner and giro stage winner) yanto barker( top British finisher in the tour of Britain,and top 3finisher in the national champs on many occasion) and freddy Johnson(Swedish u23 national champ,and winner of many prem calendar and pro races) so needless to say my confidence in staying with the bunch had dropped and the thought of getting into a break had completely disappeared!
So RACE DAY come round and due to the sub zero temperature I haven't been able to ride my bike any were near the amount I would want to,also having just received my new team bike from Cyclefit uk a super-sexy Guru photon which I have to say is one of them best bikes I have ever ridden it is super light(695grams for the frame) and it sprints like mario chippolini on steroids!!,I was no longer feeling very happy about entering the race back in December when everything looked great.So the morning of the race was up at 7am eating breakfast and having my coffee,after 2years of not doing this I was surprised how normal it felt,sitting on the sofa watching some tv wating for my team helper(or a girlfriend which is how she is known on normal days) to finish packing the car and sorting my race food out I was feeling ok about it all really having chatted to Phil and jules( cyclefit uk directors) about it they convinced me I would be fine and that just need to relax.when we got to the HQ it was still -2 and I had to be dragged from the heated car to the signing on to collect my number,back in the car getting changed I slapped the warm up oil on my legs(I know that is the team helpers job but she didn't want to take her gloves off) then putting on my winter tights on and my 2winter under vests then my winter jacket and Gillet it felt like i was going on a polar expedition rather than a race!http://www.cyclefit.co.uk/ I forfeited my warm up for the cars warming heater instead and stayed there until we were all called to line up ready to roll out.The roads were still icy in places and very slippery so I was expecting the bunch to take it easy for the first lap we rolled down the road and the flag dropped and BOFF! Uk youth hit the front and nailed it,opps I was sitting at the back last wheel chilling now I just been caught out I need to move up quickly or I was going to get spat out we were on a fast wide road so I could duck down the outside just as I moved out we turned left into some very narrow lanes and uk youth put the hammer down again we were doing 33mph thought those lanes and hit the 10% climb at just over 25mph this pace lasted for the whole first lap and with me at the back for the whole first lap I wasn't feeling to hot( as sitting at the back is the hardest place to be in a race as you have to sprint out of the corners full tilt to catch up and If the guy in front let's the wheel go you have to work super hard to get round him and back on agin) so as they hit the bottom of the climb again some put in a dig at the front and the pace jumped up again and that was it good night Vienna,I just didn't have the race miles in my legs to keep going I was in the wrong place at the start and it all went Down hill from there really needless to say I crawled back to the Car and sulked all the way home feeling very sorry for myself to make such a rookie mistake of being caught out at the back and not being able to move up in my books was unforgivable!!
But as they say learn from your mistakes and keep on pushing so my next race I won't be at the back and i will be at the front dishing out the pain instead of taking it.
And congratulations to Chris opie and uk youth on there win and brilliant display of strength well don't guys!!
Until the next race