We started our road season in style, with two wins from three races at the Outdoor Traders winter series at Dalton Barracks on Saturday in miserable conditions. Read about Tamaras great ride down below.
Abingdon Airfield crit series Women 2/3/4 – race report from Tamara D.
It was a wet start with a very strong wind. I quickly realised not many people were willing to push or were strong enough to lead the pack in the headwind section. I always feel like increasing the pace of the pack is a good thing to make it hard for everyone, but you donâ€™t want to be the idiot who is spending all her energy/time in the front (â€˜Strong like a bull, smart like a tractorâ€™ â€“ thatâ€™s what Chris used to say!).
So I started to try not being in the front, but even in the tailwind section the pace was not that fast â€“ I guess in the first 5 minutes the adrenaline kicks in and everything feels almost â€œtoo easyâ€. Thatâ€™s when my mate Tracy (from my team Zappiâ€™s women RT) came in the front of the pack and suggested that I attack. It was 8 minutes into the race, it took me only few seconds to go for it , my instinct decided for me and before I realised my legs where pushing really hard, I looked back and I had a gap!
Most of the time I have a rule during the race, which will be wait until half of the race at least before attacking, because if you are on your own, you will struggle to maintain more than 30 minutes at a TT pace, especially with such a strong wind. The reality is: OPPORTUNITY, itâ€™s a crit race and nothing goes according to plan and I am really pleased Tracy pushed me to do it â€“ thatâ€™s the power of having a mate who believes in your potential more than you do yourself.
After the headwind section (half a lap) my gap was decent, no one in the bunch was willing to chase/waste energy in the front of the bunch. This head wind section every lap killed me , whereas I would normally fly with a massive tailwind on the other section, I could only average 38km/h, recovering from the effort on the headwind section. I have never raced in such strong wind!
Next lap, I paced myself better on the hard section â€“ averaging 25km/h (believe me with 40mph headwind itâ€™s not that bad!), I overtook guys from the 4th cat race who dropped. I chose to recover in the other section, I had a very comfortable gap and the bunch seemed further away, until I lost track of it â€“ in between the dropped men and women from both races and the menâ€™s bunch that overtook me. I almost had a mechanical while putting the small ring on (yes, I had to use that one for the headwind section), but managed to play with my front mech and rescue it, the crosswind section almost blew me up but I was holding on, pacing myself. Thatâ€™s when your positive attitude comes into play: you have a big gap, you are doing great, pace yourself, donâ€™t forget to drink, maybe time for a gel?, check behind you just in caseâ€¦
Towards the end I saw a green helmet not too far behind me, I had the feeling it was one of the girls â€“ but hard to see without my glasses, the exhaustion and the rain. I kept a close eye on her and kept turning around. I had a 20â€ gap on her for the last 3 laps, she was obviously very strong to get away and chase me but I held on. Thatâ€™s it, itâ€™s the last lap â€“ I struggled to reach 40km/h in the last section, put my hands in the air to cross the line and I proudly showed my colours. It’s a good start to the season, two months to go before our main BUCS TTs and Varsity!
We had 4 others OUCC riders who braved the rain & wind, 3 in the 4th cat race (Cason, Angus & Matt) and 1 in the men 2/3/4 race (Isaac). Matt took the win for his first race: what a good start! Well done everyone, it was good to see blue jersey out there! There are 3 more races in the series.
More information about the results: http://www.velouk.net/2016/02/06/dalton-barracks-winter-crit-series-round-1/
Pictures from Graham robins: http://grahamrobins.net/photos/Abingdon%20Airfield%20Criterium%20Series%20%20%20Race%201/