I was locked out of my country pub at Cleveland on Friday as they forgot to leave the key in their hiding place night so I slept in the back of my hire car, with my bike.
It rained all day on Saturday, with more on Sunday morning, and it looked like that I had come a long way for a ride in the rain. Not an auspicious start! There were around 60 in my M7 (they named it M8) event competing over a 4 lap 79km course, riding the 5-minute climb and steep tricky descent 4 times.
I rode hard up each of the climbs to split the field, but there was still a bunch of 20 at the start of the last climb. One last max effort up the climb on the now dry roads, and at the bottom with some relief, we were down to just 6. The flat 12km ride back to the finish was into a very strong headwind. I knew that I didn’t want to take my chances in the final sprint, but going on my own into such a strong headwind with 5 riders right behind seemed pointless. I needed to find a way to win. With close to 1km to go I said to myself ‘what are my chances of winning in the sprint?’ ‘Low!’ ‘What are my chances of winning if I go now?’ ‘Better!’. So despite the strong headwind I took off and rode hard over the last 1km for the win, they couldn't catch me and I retained a gap over the line.
Afterwards Thomas who came third said, ‘we thought you went too early’ and ‘we knew that you would fade at the finish’, but much too their surprise, I didn’t. I stuck too my winning moves that I had in my training plan from Wayne Girdlestone, with all that work on 5-minute climbs and the longer sprint efforts doing the trick. My only regrets were not fixing my helmet hair and not have a proper podium to step up on.