Race Report: Winchester Car Park Criterium

I know that I struggle with crits, and today confirmed that. Racing round Winchester Park and Ride was hard for me last year; the constant accelerations, cornering and sprinting proved difficult for my diesel engine, this year was much the same.

Last Sunday I asked my legs to keep going for 11 hours of riding, this Sunday I wanted them to go flat out, time after time for an hour of racing. Those kinds of mixed demands are difficult to deal with.

To cut things short, the race went off quick, and a combination of bad positioning, poor cornering and a shock to the system put me on the back foot almost straight away. A rider a few wheels in front of me dropped the wheel on the hairpin on about the 10th lap, and then we lost touch with the front ten riders or so, and didn't get back into the group.

Once you're off the back in a crit, it's difficult to get back on. The group of four or five I was in tried, but failed, and eventually we were lapped and back in the "main" field.

According to race etiquette, after you've been lapped on a crit you have to sit at the back of the field, which is harder than it sounds when you consider the concertina effect that occurs out of each corner, which means you require a bigger acceleration at the back of the field than at the front. It was a hard graft.

Anyway, I hung on, and although I didn't have anything at all left for the sprint, eventually came away with 13th in the field of 30 or so (a lot of riders didn't finish).

I wasn't that pleased with the result, but it was kind of predictable, given my focus on endurance riding so far this year. There were also a few positives to take from it...

Firstly, I finished, and get a couple of points for doing so; these are the first of what has been a very slow starter of a season.

Second, it was a good workout.

Third, my cornering confidence is finally coming back after being badly knocked after my face plant crash back in March.

Fourth, I have a lot of road races in the calendar over the next few weeks and months, and although this wasn't a great result, I think I have the legs to get some decent places going forward.

Enough car parks. Bring on the hilly roads...


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