Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ulster League 5 - Castlewellan

After a great race in Djouce, and months of training leading up to it, I was more than happy to take a week off to recuperate and decide where to go next. Even sleep in late on the weekend. Being honest, it's a mental as much as a physical break that's important, so I didn't even think about cycling for a week. After that, I was looking towards next year, and the step up to Elites. So with that, I decided to ride the remaining Ulster league round with the elite category, just by way of introduction and gaining some experience.

The pre-register sheet lacked most of the big names, so I was hoping that it'd be a nice introduction to the top category and I wouldn't embarrass myself too much. That changed when I looked around the carpark to see Robin, Joe, James etc gearing up. Uh oh...

The pace from the start wasn't too bad (even though the start is one of my weaker disciplines) and I was midpack going into the singletrack, after which Joe kicked and shelled half the field out the back. From there on out it was 5 laps of pain, keeping the head down and not many people around to race with. Just concentrate on not blowing up, on the steep, tough course, which claimed over half the elite field...so I finished 4th (and last) 16 mins down on Robin, but 10 mins back on James - the aim over the winter will be to reduce that gap as much as possible.
The longer race was tough, the extra 30mins over the expert races I've been doing this year meant having to throttle back a bit at half way to save something for the last lap. Strange also the difference in going into a race challenging for a win, and going in aiming not to get lapped - totally different mentality...

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