3rd race in just over 9 days, 3rd decision on tyre pressure, 3rd sort of tyre for that matter. Still treating myself to more food that I really deserved after the 1st race, trying to convince myself that it would aid recovery, while deep down knowing that the fitness return had already peaked and all I was doing now was piling on the pounds - supercompensation doesn't last forever. It was about 6.3 miles (give or take a millimeter) into todays hillclimb / time trial / whatever you want to call it, that I came to terms with the end of 'milking the Dirty Reiver' by eating extra.
The whole race was only 8.6 miles long, I think I rode further at last week's CX race and that (and the Dirty Reiver) was off road. On paper this should have been the cheery cherry on top of a nice little block of racing. Somehow, it packed in all the suffering of the first two and (despite the views and decent weather) did little to hide it.
(Thanks to Ellen for the pic)
I paced it...terribly. All the advice I've been given about negative splits and all that was out of the window as I set off chasing an unlikely power PB in the worst way possible. Both the Reiver and the CX race I built into quite nicely and finished feeling strong - with gains to be taken from both. Today I became very aware that I'm not at racing weight (which isn't too much of an issue in itself, with CX season being months and months away...) at the aforementioned 6.3 miles of trying to smash it up a hill, ignored that reality for another 2 miles and then imploded quite spectacularly. Somehow Ellen managed to position herself at exactly that point and take a photo of it! That last 0.3 miles simply would not go away. I could see the finish for ages, sitting at the brow of the hill, refusing to get any closer as the watts left the building and the gurn of determination sagged into the goom of grovelling. Horrible. 100% my own fault. Lucky it was as close to the end as it was, to be honest. It would have been quite depressing but even with the final yards being rubbish I'd got up the climb in a half decent time, with a reasonable power output AND I'd popped a jacket in the car of one of the organisers, so I didn't even have a shivering cold decent back to the car to contend with, so somehow I ground my way across the finish line feeling weirdly chuffed.
2nd, in the end. Don't think I'd have got close to 1st even if I hadn't fallen to pieces, or even if I'd taken the TT bike rather than the standard road bike (we can discuss which wold haven been better on a course with a 19.5mph average speed later!), but Lee is getting me closer to my all time power PB again and we've (metaphorical and literal) miles to go before 'proper' race season. Ace. Might even set about getting the skinsuit to fit a bit better - in a less 'stretched to the extreme' way now too! :)
Big shout out to the Kent Valley RC for putting the event on and again to Lee @ North Cycling Performance for keeping me in amongst the fast lads at every turn, on every surface and across every distance. Awesome work :)