Warming up

‘The Wall’ aka Jono writes:

A warm up generally consists of a gradual increase in intensity of exercise to bring the body to a condition in which it is ready to safely respond to nerve signals, allowing for quick and efficient action.

That statement brings me to the most significant point of my Fin Del Verano weekend! The Fin Del Verano being an excellent stage race put on by Paul Hamilton and OVB.

On Sunday morning I woke feeling angry, tired and a little motivated! Elliot, Joe and Myself had ridden a strong TTT early Saturday on a wet and slightly greasy course pulling ourselves into third, only 9 seconds behind the winning OVB team with 11.01. However the afternoon would see a turn in my fortunes. Riding into the last climb of Harby hill in the sprint finish stage there was an incident in the bunch. The less said the better but take it on good authority that I was EXTREMELY angry at crashing out when Joe and I were in a good position and Elliot was up the road.

Saturday was a mix of emotions as you can tell, however it’s Sunday I want to talk about………..

I am a heavy, fairly vascular guy with bones like lead which DOES NOT lend itself to the Harby RR circuit. Four times up a stinging Harby climb and finishing on terrace hill, No. 29 in the top 100 UK climbs. I was late getting ready, still putting my socks on in the commissaires briefing! So I thought to myself,

‘I want to get up the road early maybe take some pressure off Elliot and my warm up has been terrible, I’ll sprint off the flag drop and get the legs turning, if it turns into anything then so be it but at least I would complete my warm up.’

Bear in mind I have never been in a break of more than 6 miles, so don’t judge me for not going into this little dig expecting to stay away for even one ascent of Harby Hill. However the big gear mashing Chris McNaughton of OVB soon came alongside me, alone, uttering the words  ‘settle down now a long way to go!’ ‘Hang on pal I wasn’t really going for a full race break’! Two more riders soon jumped across and before you knew it the second lead car was dropping back in between the groups. We were away. In my head this was ridiculous, we would never in a million years stay away for a whole race! It would however take pressure off Elliot and having seen the way he went up Harby on Saturday he would have no problem flying on the wind of the bunch when they decided to catch us late in the race. At least that was what I thought. Before I knew it we had done two ascents of Harby and we were 2 minutes 50 seconds up on the bunch!

‘What the devil is happening, my legs feel good and I’m in a serious break with some strong and motivated looking riders. This is the one!’

The fourth lap soon came around and I was still hanging on, the fourth and final ascent of Harby was a fairly squeaky moment for me, I dragged my lead bones over the top but from then on I’m afraid I was a passenger in the break. I think I did two turns from there to the finish.

Now, I hear you ask and this is the big question, did you make the finish? I can tell you, in what was a fairly proud moment for me in my short cycling career, I did. I came last in the break on terrace hill, fourth from four, but on another finish I would have been right up there. I can now say I have been in a four man break for the entirety of a road race, literally from ‘gun to tape’. Something that I would have never expected with what I thought was my awful endurance ability (I used to get beaten by everyone on long grass runs!).

In both road race stages we had a man up the road at the end, came third in the TTT and some decent hill climb times. Leisure Lakes Bikes racing team just keeps giving this year with the help of our brilliant sponsorship from LeisureLakes, Specialised, Muc Off, SIS and Cannondale. News to all in the East Midlands, we are coming back next year but with two more EMRRL races to go there is a lot more to give this year. Maybe I will get in another two and a half hour break!

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