Tonight I made a point not to eat any MuleBar caffeine gels. They’re so effective and powerful I was awake half the night after every round of the Tour Series last year. I’ve got work early in the morning and want to avoid any of that 3am tossing and turning malarkey. Except it seems that Tour Series fuelled adrenaline is pretty powerful stuff too, so even after driving home and trying to calm down I’m still too wired and awake to sleep. To wile away 20 minutes or so I thought I’d write a few words about round one of the 2015 Matrix Fitness Tour Series over in Reddicth tonight.
My season was cut short bang in the middle of the Tour Series last year with a herniated disc. It’s been a wobbly journey back to fitness which meant I only really started proper bike training in January. I’ve been doing some MTB and TTs so far this year so couldn’t wait to kick off again with some crit racing. I wouldn't be on the start line at all though without the amazing support and treatment from Nick at the New Malden Chiropractic Clinic (www.backandneckpain.co.uk). A huge amount of thanks are owed in his direction.
Did I mention the rain? It was really rainy and haily and then rainy again and then the sun came out for a moment and then it rained again and then the wind blew a bit and then it stopped. The roads were wet and then some. So after many practice laps carefully sighting the corners the klaxon went and off we went – all 72 of us. I couldn’t quite believe it either, 72 is an awesome number for a women’s crit. Everyone loves the Tour Series.
There was a lot of jostling for position, a lot of elbows out and finding small gaps that didn’t really exist and that was just in the neutralised section. Then bam…slide…barrier…person on top of me…I’d skidded out on one of the corners. It’s off camber with a selection of slick white paint and shiny wet drain covers to choose from and I must have caught one of them just before I skated across the tarmac on my knee.
I was so fired up in race mode and in my fight to want to get back into the thick of the racing I completely didn’t think about the fact that I could have a lap out as I’d crashed. So henceforth came many lonely laps as I smashed it around on my own trying desperately to see anything resembling a bunch come into view. I overtook a lot of other riders, both alone and in little pockets of people and finally with just one measly lap to go I caught the back of group three. Sadly, I had nothing for the finish though, having beasted myself round umpteen times and attacked the hill more times than I cared to count my legs just couldn’t find it. Still, it was an awesome training session if nothing else. 35 minutes of crazy high intensity has got to be worth something and the Cannonadale SuperSix absolutely flew up that hill. Much bike love was going on amid the pain. In fact, I can’t have looked too shabby as I overheard some spectators on the climb asking each other if I was off the front – I wish
So back home I have a bit of road rash here and there and some nice looking bruises developing. I’ve never been more glad that I was organised enough to bring dinner with me from home. Not because it meant I had something tasty to eat straight after the race for recovery but because in my cool bag was a very welcome ice pack which worked a treat on my hip the whole drive home. Tonight’s Tour Series was a bit of adventure and I loved it, despite everything that didn’t quite go to plan. A big smile is exactly why I race my bike, it’s just a shame it’s sometimes accompanied by road rash.