It was a great day overall for the Worcester Tri Club Team. The weather was very kind to us and the race was run in lovely sunshine. There were a few WTC team racing today including my two main rivals Danny Harris and Iain Jennings (Jenno) and also the legend that is Michelle Parsons.
The race started and Jenno, Danny and three others bounced off up the road, with me running on my own about 50 metres behind. If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that you have to run at your own pace and I often reel ‘em in as the race goes on. I caught and passed one lad but the other four seemed quite comfortable out in front and probably had 75 metres on me going into T-one.
I have been practising my T-one and jumping on my bike whilst shoes are attached to it. This paid off and I was quicker than usual out of T-one. The four guys were still ahead up the road but within sight. I wasn’t worried and settled into my TT position. I wasn’t sure how strong the legs were as I didn’t feel like the power/speed had returned yet. I often find this is the case early season and I seem to get quicker/stronger as the season goes on.
It was a 2 lap bike leg and just as I was finishing the first lap I caught one of the four guys ahead. No disrespect but I didn’t think he was a cyclist when I saw him running so I half expected to reel him in. Setting out on lap two I saw that the three guys in front hadn’t got any further away and that I was feeling quite good and into my rhythm. About half way round I had caught them up. A quick breather and then I went past them and was surprised they didn’t stay with me.
At this point I must admit I was beginning to think I might actually win this and how much time did I need to have into T2 to hold off these young whippets for the 2nd run. But then within a quarter of that lap I suddenly noticed Danny edging up to me and then the other 2. Damn!!
Coming into T2 Ii was 2nd behind the only non WTC guy with us. Another quick change and I came out of T2 just behind Jenno. It was at this point I expected to see Jenno bounce off like Bambi into the distance to claim his first win of the season and then I’d be blown out trying to attempt to stay with the other two in an attempt to challenge for a podium position.
Imagine my slight delight but also genuine sadness for Jenno when as I caught up with him he told me that he had cramp in both his calves. “Didn’t you drink on the bike?” I asked “NO” was Jenno’s reply “JENNO YOU MUPPET!” was mine.
So there I was one and a half miles left and in the lead. Legs feeling quite good as it happens. I don’t look behind as there’s no point unless it’s near the end and then you can see if you’ve got to attempt a sprint. Before that there’s nothing you can really do if someone’s closing in on you. They’re going to be working very hard to get back to you, so you hope you have a kick at the end to pull away again.
As I’m running up to the u-turn point I can suddenly hear the sound of footsteps behind me. As I round the cones I see Danny hot on my heels with Jenno not too far behind (obviously the cramp had gone) So we’re now WTC 1,2,3 on the road and not much further behind is the stealth-like figure of Michelle. Danny comes past me and I can’t sit on his heels and he pulls away slightly. I don’t look back to see where the other two are, I just focus on my target ahead!
As we turn the corner with about 200 metres to go i hear the marshal shout “Well done its between you two now”. I decide to look back to check and realise he’s right; Jenno and the other lad are not within catching distance now. Can I kick and get up to Danny?? I make an effort and see that I’m gaining and as we turn right into the finish I’m on his heels. I generally have a good kick/sprint and can hammer it from about 150 metres out so I was slightly confident.
Danny glances behind and kicks, I kick and we’re both going for it. But then I have nothing left. Danny still powering away takes a well-deserved victory. I raise my hands and clap him as he crosses the finish line four seconds in front of me. Jenno comes over next and it is indeed a 1,2,3 for WTC and Michelle finishes 6th overall and first lady.
The celebrations are short-lived when we hear that two WTC guys have been given a two minute penalty for drafting. I think back and know that I was only actually with the other three in the last quarter of the second lap, but did I draft at any point then?? I didn’t think so, but who knows. A short time later we hear that it was Danny and Jenno who were given the drafting penalty. Both were gutted and we raise the point that all three were together for both laps so if anything they should all have been penalised. How can that be fair?? It is a hard rule to follow, especially on the open road!!
So by default (as Michelle was amused to tell me) I had won, The man in black promoted to 2nd, Danny 3rd and Jenno 4th. I was embarrassed to collect the prize and take the honours. But as I stated to Danny and Jenno, we all knew how the race had gone and that Danny had beaten me fair and square in the sprint!
We also won the first team prize. So £20 and 2 bottles of wine for my morning’s efforts