The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley
Yes indeed, Robbie Burns, yes indeed.
Taking part in the May edition of the Brighton Mitre Hove Park Crits set a very high bar in terms of the pain and humiliation it inflicted upon me. So what on Earth was I doing back there again, just two months later?
The answer is rather unedifying, I’m afraid. It was a best laid scheme that gang very bloody agley as it turned out.
In truth, I knew the race would be a nightmare, just as it had been in May. The course didn’t suit me then and I had no doubt things would be even worse this time, given my recent time off the bike.
But I’d seen the results of the June event in the series (which happened while I was on hols) and noted that just seven 4th Cats had turned up to race on what was by all accounts a horrid, rainy evening. If that happened this time around I would finally get my hands on that elusive Holy Grail of a British Cycling point or two, even if I finished dead last!
With the weather forecast looking dodgy again this time around what could possibly go wrong?
Happily setting aside the cynicism of this approach, I watched the clouds praying for signs of the predicted downpour all afternoon. It never came, but I was still hopeful of a thin field as I rolled up at the park, since it was hardly a balmy summer’s evening. Even a dozen riders turning up would give me a puncher’s chance, I figured.
If only. Including myself, a total of 22 riders lined up at the start. My heart sank like a grapefruit in a swimming pool. Nul points again.
I don’t even need to write any more about the experience on the night since everything happened just the same as before: I was dropped, lapped, almost vomited, struggled to the finish, went home a broken man. Refer to my previous blog entry for all the additional detail you need.
In fact, the only difference this time around was finishing fourth from last, as opposed to fifth-last back in May. Even then I’m convinced this was a mistake by the commissaires, since I’m positive that by lap 3 I was last man on the road and I didn’t overtake a single rider from then until the finish…
At least the second part of my cunning plan came through, however. I knew I could never replicate the sheer balls-out suffering of a Hove Park Crit in any training ride, so part of the reason for getting another one in was to help turn my fitness around, since I remembered having my best legs of the season after suffering around Hove Park and the Eastbourne Crit a couple of days later.
Sure enough, I was stronger of limb on our club run last Sunday, so maybe all is not lost. It had better not be, since I’m planning to contest three races over the next five days, a last hurrah that will almost certainly mark my final competitive action of this underwhelming season.
Can I finally get that elusive top ten? Tune in to find out…