This morning’s race went well for all but 800 metres.
A good field with some strong riders worked well for the first 20 minutes.
A few attempts to break it up resulted in 6 of us getting clear and again, we worked well be it with a few attacks when heading down the straight into a very strong wind.
A good pace was maintained and it was looking like a bunch sprint to decide the places.
My sprinting ability is only marginally better than my ability to fly from Brisbane to London - without the aid of an aircraft so I decided to position myself at about 3rd wheel into the penultimate lap with a view to attacking just after the rise at the end of the straight as we went into the bell (last) lap.
It all worked perfectly. Off the turn I went for it; out of the saddle shifting up the gears before settling back on the drops and concentrating on the pedal stroke – full pressure – good circles.
I managed a gap of about 40 metres very quickly and a glance back suggested there was not much happening behind me. A glance at the speedo showed 51 kph and while I knew I could not maintain that speed, I thought I could keep it above 40 and there was a strong head wind to face when we hit the straight.
Coming to the third last corner, there was a lapped rider to the far right of the circuit (as he is meant to be) So I set myself to apex the corner and overtake him with plenty of space to spare.
Just to be sure and realising we would enter the corner together, I called to the rider to let him know I was coming.
So I come into the entry and set my exit line, speed has dropped off to 47 kph.
AND the other cyclist decides he will also apex the corner and came straight across in front of me. He was perhaps doing 25 kph sitting high in the saddle and hands on the cross bar. I am doing 47 kph down low on the drops pushing as hard as I can and hurting like hell.
My next move is to scream at him in the hope that he pulls out of his attempt to take the apex. No such luck – he keeps coming.
I grab 2 handfuls of brake and lock the bike up missing him by centimetres and ending up on the grass.
As I was providing the guy with a free character assessment using the full range of socially unacceptable adjectives, the other cyclists still in the race went past.
I don’t really care about not winning or placing in the race. Hell, the prize money isn’t that important when the credit card isn’t yet maxed out.
I do care about the lack of attention by the lapped rider and the lack of care for others safety.
Bike racing is dangerous. Incidents happen in racing. Fact of life. You cannot call yourself a cyclist until you have come off. But, when you get a goose racing like we had this morning, it is dangerous for all and in a situation when there is no need for danger.
Peeved yes – but cannot wait until the next race opportunity.
And yes, I gave him another mouthful on the warm down lap.