Storm Brigid had left a little present on the Hillingdon circuit which delayed the race by 30 minutes. Thankfully, it was no match for the Imperial Racing Team who managed to pump enough flood water away to clear most of the track to start the race.
I had suffered all week with illness but was determined to ride – for additional race experience if nothing else.
Cycling to the circuit was like exercising while holding my breath so my plan was to sit in the bunch and use the little energy I had at the finish.
But things never work out as planned. Or rather, I wasn’t disciplined enough to stick to my plan.
Within a lap I was working my way though the field as I saw breakaways springing off the front. However, the tail end of the previous night’s storm had left an extremely strong headwind down the home straight which put an end to every attack, so the group bunched up dangerously on every single lap.
Half way through and I punctured on Brian’s Bends so had a quick wheel change and rejoined the bunch near the front.
The ‘5’ laps to go board signalled the usual rise in pace and I was still well placed in the top 15 behind fellow TCC team mates, Elwyn and Daren.
As the bell rang, Daren picked it up and I followed his wheel, both of us fighting into the wind down the home straight. In retrospect I had probably used too much energy so I let a handful of riders pass to catch my breath up the hill.
New TCC racer, Dan, came streaking past me into the last Brian’s Bends so I grabbed his wheel and we were in second and third position, but the wind was like a wall near The Bus Stop and Dan popped, so I was left at the front – far too early.
I had no choice but to just put the hammer down so sprinted but quickly faded into the wind and was passed repeatedly.
Another tactically poor end but it’s a learning process!