Wallingford Criterium

After the disappointment of Silverstone I felt extra motivated for today’s race. Although it was advertised as an E/1/2/3/4 race, a quick look down the sign-on sheet revealed that only Cat 2/3/4 women had registered. This was definitely welcome news.

As well as an all-day cycling festival they were filming for the TV show Midsomer Murders, quite exciting but it did mean that our start was delayed by half an hour as they shot scenes on the course. So much for my warm up, but at least we were all in the same boat. We had a lap and a half neutralized start to recon the course, then racing started. And it really started. The front three jumped and I just couldn’t keep with them, however I had distanced myself from the group behind and so began my solo TT around the course… To be fair I time trial most weeks, so this wasn’t an awful place for me to be in. Similar to Winchester a couple of weeks ago, the course had some tight twisty corners. Being solo I could pick my own lines and after a few laps was challenging myself to pedal through as many turns as possible. Somewhat inevitably another rider caught me with a couple of laps to go, I jumped on her wheel up the start/finish straight ‘til she flicked me the elbow. This is where I think I come unstuck on race etiquette. Obligingly I went ahead, but swung off at the next available opportunity. She was taking the corners a little slower than I might have liked and I was worried about getting caught by the rest of the riders, but we stayed away. In the final sprint I couldn’t stick with her and she beat me to fourth, but I was super pleased to finish fifth. Should I have just stayed on her wheel for longer then jumped? The course wasn’t really ideal for sharing the work, maybe I’m too polite but I feel bad about sitting on someone else’s wheel for too long. Hmmm, maybe I need to get more cut-throat.

Overall a good result today — five points which means I get to move up to Cat 3, not to mention five whole British pounds in winnings!