Confessions of a frustrated bike racer

Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned… it’s almost a month since my last confession.

The yawning gap in posts can be fairly easily explained, though: I’ve done bugger-all worth blogging about for just about all that time.

Sure, I’ve been out riding some decent training miles on the bike and have popped in a few tough turbo sessions too, but there’s been no racing whatsoever since the Mountbatten debacle and, at the end of the day, it’s the racing that provides the spice here.

In fact my only genuine cycling-related excitement since last posting came from acting as following car driver for the first of the two road races my team organises each season.  That really was fun; a chance to blast around the lanes of Sussex behind a bunch of decent road racers in ‘Flandrian’ conditions, enjoying watching a race unfold just a few metres ahead of my car’s bonnet.

The experience has certainly piqued my interest in the art of the commissaire; so much so that I will definitely look into training/qualifications in that regard at some point in the future.

I also got accepted into a prominent Category 2/3/4 road race up in Essex, which generated some fleeting excitement.  However, that turned out to be an administrative error and the invite was rescinded almost as soon as it was given.  Perhaps for the best – it was a long drive and would have been quite a step up from my previous racing efforts – but a bit galling nonetheless.

The pity in all this is that, thanks to my intensive start-of-year efforts, I seemed to be going really well throughout March and early April.  I just never got the chance to make my form pay off in race conditions.

Never one to allow setbacks like this to be anything other than hugely discouraging, I promptly sat on my haunches and avoided the bike for a 10-day period, while the booze and pie quotient also ticked up significantly.  The effects of this backslide were predictable: I rode fresh and pretty well on a very hilly route as training resumed, but the aches and pains from that effort are still with me today and, not for the first time, I was given a pasting by our always-strong team DS last time out.

I guess I shouldn’t worry too much about all this indolence, though.  I managed only two races before the team’s Majorca training camp (or if our insurers are reading this, cycling holiday) last year, so it’s not as though I’ve gone from a flood to a trickle in 2012.

Countin' the days, dear reader, countin' the days...

Compared to last year I’ve also got a much clearer plan for the golden months that make up the heart of the amateur cycling season.  In short, it means in making my debut in the ever-popular Lewes Crits, where I’ll work as a domestique for our team, taking in some road-based handicap events, trying to get my 3rd Cat points at the Friday evening Dunsfold meetings and, hopefully, sampling one or two of the new veterans-only races that the Surrey League is also staging on the Dunsfold circuit this year.

What I won’t be doing is wasting my time on courses that don’t suit my physiology, so that means no Hove Park, no Cyclopark and no Eastbourne seafront crit this year.  That’s a pity for the blog, because the pain, suffering and ritual humiliation of those events made (in my humble opinion) for some of the literary high points in 2011.  But it’s a much more sensible use of my limited racing time.

The bottom line is that I simply have to get out of the 4th Cats at some point this season.  I cannot face another winter of training slog where I know the end product is to start off once again among the raw beginners and suicidal dingbats who help to make the spring 4th Cat events such dangerous crashfests.

I already know that a future in commissairing or similar non-combatant role awaits me; it would be nice to put that off for another season or two though…

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One Response to Confessions of a frustrated bike racer

  1. The season is a long one: anyone who is going like a rocket now will, most likely, be going like a donkey come the middle of the summer… Picking events that suit you is an emminently sensible approach (not that I have followed that route!) but don’t forget, if it’s tough for you it’s likely as tough for everyone else – they are just moving a bit more quickly!!!

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