Another DNF on Thursday night :-(
The MK Bowl races are becoming very popular and a few people were disappointed at sign-on when they were told the maximum entrants of 80 had been reached. Thankfully I had arrived early and secured a place with the 3rd and 4th Cat racers. My expectations were better than last week; I had been pushing myself on my commute and managed some good short, 1-hour specific training rides since the last race.
As per usual, the fast group (E,1 & 2) went off first and we were set off shortly after. I recognised a few of the racers of the previous week, including a few girls. I managed to get a good position in the bunch, coincidentally on the wheel of one of the young girls and watched our average speed increase over the course of the first 30 minutes back up to the 25.6mph like last week.
At 30 minutes the marshals called out that, at the next lap, the course would be extended to go out the main gate and around the top car park before re-entering the main Bowl circuit. As we began the climb to to the top of the circuit the young girl in front of me managed to find the space to move to the outside of the bunch and I followed with a view to moving up a few places. Instead of moving back into the bunch though, the girl attacked off the front and I felt compelled to keep on her wheel - Christ she was quick! Even going downhill I was stomping on the pedals to match her pace.
She eased up after the descent and we were caught by the bunch, but my legs had gone to jelly. Whereas she jumped back into the bunch, I got shelled out the back and dug deep just to tag onto the wheel of the last racer. Then we went out the gate, through the corners and out onto the uphill with a headwind. I was struggling to hang on and beating myself up for covering the attack earlier.
Some other racers got dropped and eventually me too. I got lapped by the fast racers and jumped on the wheel of some of their stragglers. There was no way I was going to get back on to my bunch, so I got on the drops and solo'd around the circuit for a further twenty minutes until I heard the Commissaire say he was about to call for the 5 laps. There was no point me time trialing around for a further 5 laps so I retired (again).
Lesson learned: there are a lot of fast 3rd Cat racers, including young women and I shouldn't feel it necessary to do a stint on the front and chase down any attacks.
I need to find some 4th Cat races to regain the confidence in finishing a race.