One of the club members very kindly gave me a Park Tool patch and I told the group to go on without me. I repaired the inner tube, rode home, put my bike away and had a late breakfast. The twenty miles round trip was to be my only race training for the week as I wasn't in the mood to go back out. What I needed was some retail therapy.
I have been using Vittoria Open Corsa, Open Pave and Open Corsa Tech tyres on my various bicycles' wheelsets and had read some articles about the history of Vittoria and the spin-off company Veloflex which still made hand made lightweight tyres in Italy. I 'needed' a pair of Veloflex Master tyres for my racing...Buy-it-now, add a few other essentials to round up the bill and magically the disappointment of the morning puncture was a distant memory.
Sometimes just having something new with claims to improve performance can give you an extra lift. My new pair of Veloflex tyres probably lightened my Wilier race bike by 70grams or so and the hand glued tread was going to offer me more grip on the circuit of the MK Bowl, so I had a lot more confidence during the race this week.
Experience also counts for a lot too. I sat in the bunch, happy for others to attempt heroic attacks and be reeled in; I did a couple of laps on the front but at a pace I was happy to maintain - even if I did notice that the bunch was strung out single file behind me; and then as we hit the climb on the final lap I wound up for my sprint, got on the drops, went hard, passed several others and then went harder still with the hope of securing 3rd place again. I finished 4th beaten by a couple of inches and should have started my sprint earlier.
The race was only 45 minutes followed by 5 laps and I had forgotten my Garmin so I don't know what the average speed was, however it felt easy and the 4th Cat racing has given me the experience and confidence to now race with 3rd Cats.
Thirteen points in the bag and I have no choice - 3rd Cat now and there's no going back down - I have achieved the goal I set for myself this year!