Michael was very kind enough to help me get sorted for the race on Sunday, getting me signed up, kitted up and picking me and Tsukino up on the Saturday for the race…. It all felt very nice to have a manager and driver and it must be how pro riders feel.
To Michael’s credit we arrived before closing time and all in one piece and Michael was able to intimidate the staff in to letting us do a practice lap.
On the way to the hotel we discussed how drop bar style steering wheels and disc wheels could have shaved seconds off our time to the race venue the following morning. The hotel was a great place and I kicked myself for not bringing the rollers so we could do our own TT events in the room, we could easily fitted 10 riders in there!
Ludwig had kindly agreed to look after Tsukino while I was racing and kindly gave her his professional wisdom which she used to great extent and proceeded to fall of her bike…. But this saved her later on as a lesson well learned in her race, when a young lad decided that he wasn’t going to lose a placing to a girl and rammed her, shaken up by the attack she stayed on the bike .
The call for the X-class riders was called and they kindly allowed us to ride through the most technical part of the course that had claimed several riders already and many more through the course of the racing.
Finally we reassembled at the start line with the 3 minute call going out.
There were 58 people in my race and everyone was looking very professional and serious about doing their best in the X-Series and straight as the starting gun fired everyone one set off at a very fast pace up the first mountain climb of the race.
I managed to break away with the lead group of 10 riders as we crested the first climb and into a very fast and dangerous descent with a lot of tight turns. The lead rider was a little way ahead with 2 others, when all of a sudden his front tire exploded sending him crashing off his bike at what must have been 70kmph!
Because he crashed across my line I had to break hard and swerve to avoid crashing and lost valuable places and worst of all speed for the climb up the next mountain. By this time I must have dropped to about 20th place and the next descent down the mountain I was able to catch a couple more riders. It seemed that a lot of them were taking care on the downhill’s to avoid crashing and I knew If I risked everything I could make up some serious time and catch many of the riders that over took me.
Lap 2 was more of the same and there were several more crashes that I didn’t see and although my pace slowed down to just over 28kmph hour I was still catching riders on my Kamikaze runs down the hills.
He just touched the front wheel of the rider and although no crash occurred he did have to apologize and for the split second that he turned his head to look at the poor rider who he hit i took my chance. Exploding out of the saddle and rapidly changing gear, accelerating up the remaining part of the hill climb. The hapless rider tried to pursue but realized that I had out smarted him and the few seconds advantage cost him my tail.
Summiting the climb there was one last downhill and I took every chance I could. Tucked down low over the saddle I went wide on the final bend almost in the grass and then twitched the bike tight over into the apex of the bend rocketing into the final climb at over 75kmph.
The finish line is on a hill and after my speed from the downhill subsided I was back to pumping up the final climb to glory. I suddenly realized that I shouldn’t be too happy that I was almost at the line and took a look under my saddle to see if anyone had used the last hill as i did and as I predicted 2 other riders were sprinting hard to close me for the finish line.
So once more i gritted my teeth, got out of the saddle and thought of Cavendish pumping hard I felt like I was stomping down on jelly and my legs were screaming at me that there was no way in hell i was getting anymore out of them. But ignoring the pain I raised my speed back up to 30kmph.
Again peaking under the saddle and behind, I saw the gritted teeth and look of defeat on the two riders that had tried to deny me of my glory and slowly drawing back as know that their attack was futile.
Crossing the line in 11th position I punched the air for my own for the small battles I had won on the course and my own personal victory! Rolling in to the post race area and mechanic zone I realized that I had a manic grin on my face and was looking forward to doing it all over again and soon!