by Norman Lu
I am the lone BVF soldier flying the flag in this flat 20k Cat 4/5 race. As my preparation, I came into this race pretty rested, as I just spent a week in Mexico laying on the beach, doing nothing.....the rest must have supercharged my engine.
I did not recognize anyone on the start line of about 30-40 guys....Ricky from VisitBrit is now a Cat 3.
The course was 20 laps of 1k with a longish finishing straight and six turns. So, the first left-hand turn is fairly fast and maybe three pedal strokes before we hit the next left turn. Then it gets interesting. The next couple of turns are marked by traffic cones and you can pedal maybe another three strokes before making a right and a quick left, which funnels into one lane slightly downhill. At speed, this feels like a double chicane.....cool!!!. The last two turns come one right after the other.
We started the first few laps fairly fast and I stayed in the top 10. There were a few attacks, but nothing more than a few bike lengths. At the midway point, the race felt easy, but I was worried about getting caught in a crash. I decided to stay way in the back so I could take my own line through the turns, but I could still see the front because of all the turns. The legs were there today and I felt like I could get the front pretty easily and turn it on in the last lap.
Well, I messed up a bit. I heard the bell thinking it was for a prime, then I hear the announcer say last lap.....Oh shit, I am dead last coming into turn one!!! I start passing people one the back stretch like crazy and I see two guys go off the front. Coming into the last two turns I'm blocked… can't gain any ground. Out of the last turn, there are still about 15-20 guys in front of me, so I have to start my sprint really early. Luckily the finish is about four lanes wide and I'm able to gun it passed everyone...except the two guys who got away...they are just too far ahead.
I got 3rd place and a Limar F107 helmet. It fits really good, but the green/carbonish color scheme doesn't quite match the kit.
Hopefully I can recover well for tomorrow's Tour of Basking Ridge....I feel very close to getting the big one.