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Singing in the rain!

British Cycling Crit Racing MK Bowl Shutt Velo Rapide

For reasons too boring to share here I had to stop off in IKEA on the way to my 3rd Cat race at the MK Bowl tonight. As I emerged blinking into the daylight from the Maze of Dreams I noticed that the promised rain had arrived, in buckets. Literally. It was bouncing off the tarmac. This was good news.

Crits at The Bowl usually consist of a half-hour round the non-technical inner loop and in the last 30 mins a more technical section is opened up. But due to the high-speed cornering and dodgy surfacing, rain usually means the race is restricted to the inner loop. Normally I'd have been disappointed but since each of my three 2nd place finishes had come on the inner loop, including the week before, I felt this could finally be my week...

We set off in fairly filthy wet conditions, most of us having gone straight from the car to the start line. Learning the lessons from last week (where I'd come second in the same circumstances) I stayed well off the front in the initial 30 mins. Once I was warmed up and comfortable I put in a small turn to bring back one of the few escapees that got more than 7 or 8 seconds gap and then sat back hoping that the message had got home - this was going to be a bunch finish.

Despite a couple of attempts from others to attack in the penultimate lap we were all back together as we took the bell. I was slightly further back than I would have liked but managed to ninja myself up to about 4th wheel as we rounded the fast slippery corner at the bottom of the hill. Still no matches burnt - time to press on and avoid getting swamped. As we hammered along the back straight I was a bit worried that the riders in front of me would tire and the hordes would box us in. Luckily it only took a couple coming up on the inside to give the guys enough incentive to pick up the pace. No need to panic. Nothing coming up my outside. This feels like a carbon copy of my 2nd place finish back in June - let's get it right this time.....

Being near the front meant I could pick my moment when to go - no fighting to get round tired legs - two riders in front of me had gone for it and I was on them, still feeling like Filthy conditions - perfect!there was a big kick to come. I started to move out to go round 2nd wheel then realised just in time it was too soon. Sit down, go up a gear, get ready....... now! A quick glance over my right shoulder and I'm off, hoping I haven't left it too late. 2nd wheel is dispatched easily and I'm reeling in the leader but he's keeping a decent pace. I dig deep and being in space gives me the luxury to focus on technique - keep low and spin it up. I catch him with 10m to go and for a moment worry that someone is coming behind me but there's no one there. I realise I've got the win before I hit the line. My first win and it didn't half feel good :)


4 more points to get to 2nd Cat. To be honest it wasn't a main goal at the start of the season - but it sure is now......

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