Damn that Strava!

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The Mud, Sweat n Gears CC road race crew took to Ilton again last weekend for another shot at this crazy racing malarkey.

The usual suspects, Rob, Dave, myself and newbie Simon 'the powerhouse' Chainey turned up at a decidedly cold, wet and, once again, windy airfield, this time nice and early to give us chance to warm up. Dave duly set up his rollers, looking very professional, while the others took a couple of laps to go through their various warming up procedures and to eye up the competition. 68 riders took to the line for the cat 3/4 race and we all set off after a 3, 2, 1 Go, for an hour of misery and pain, I mean excitement and fun. When I say we all set off, that was with one notable exception. Newbie Simon, after scaring people with the sight of the powerhouse stickers and dialling in his prototype positive steering setup, was busy starting his Strava app on his phone, not wanting to miss setting some powerful segment times, when the starter said 'Go'.

A 'panic room' opened up in the 'powerhouse' and with just one glove on and Strava not activated he began his racing career 20 foot behind everyone else. Riding around a very exposed airfield on a very windy, cold, wet day in a group is hard enough but to do basically an hour on your own chasing the pack deserves many kudos, which is good because he won't get any through Strava! Well done Si on completing your first race and beating a number of other riders that had been dropped from the main group, including a cat 3 rider!

The other 3 'seasoned' campaigners enjoyed, so to speak, a good race. The main pack stayed together with a few attempts of breaks brought back and most of us sheltering from the wild head wind at every opportunity. A small group of 3 escaped on the fourth lap and Dave  put in a really strong effort to join them but unfortunately didn't quite reach and had no hope of staying out on his own, so drifted back to the pack. The final lap saw Rob make a huge attack from the main group, again trying to reach the leaders. He got very close and managed to stay away for about 3/4 of a lap but once again riding on your own is hard going. So coming down the penultimate straight into the headwind I decided it was my turn to have a go. I jumped away from the group, not daring to look back, and actually managed to get a good gap. One other guy came with me and we went round the last corner, getting quite excited, in 4th and 5th place. If only the race had finished there....but it didn't, we still had a couple hundred metres or so into the headwind down the finish straight and about 20 guys flashed by me. So close yet so far. Still we finished in the main group about 25th ish and were really happy with the fact that we had given it a go. Despite the rain and wind I think we quite enjoyed ourselves! Well done to Rob and Dave and the 'powerhouse' will return to fight again once more!

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