Just when I thought I had this racing craic all sussed out, everything I’d just figured literally got washed down the drain. Yesterday in conditions that could partly be described as biblical a miracle in A4 occurred, a break went (The first and only break) and unlike the poor sod who slid out in the first corner, it stuck too. 3 guys held the gap at 30 seconds for the last 5 laps out of 8 and deservedly took the spoils, particularly the winner who broke away from the break to solo home from 2km out (according to Strava Flybys). Chapeau!
Over the course of the hour and a half we were treated to two pretty intense rain showers. On the first drops of those deluges a Tiernans rider broke from the bunch as if to say “I aint hanging around here to get soaked”. A very strong and wise move as the short but heavy downpours followed by intense heat made the corners unpredictable. Turns that were being carved up at speed on one lap were being tiptoed around on the other, as the foul weather seemed to sway from one side of the 6.5km loop to the other all day.
This constant knock off in pace at the wet bends no doubt helped the break stay away, however the relentless stare-down of the bunch probably was a bigger factor.
19 times out of 20 the break gets reeled back before the end in A4. It takes a very noble effort to be the one to drag the bunch up to the break, effectively extinguishing your chances of having enough matches for the almost inevitable sprint. What occurred on Sunday was a bunch stare down and occasional surges as chasers found no help to the cause.
A4 in its nature is an individual race for points (to upgrade to A3). Perhaps a more concerted team effort could pull back these breaks. It may even help to keep your mates away and in turn reap more rewards but it’s hard to convince lads who have invested time and effort in their own training to then sacrifice their own chances for someone else.
All being said there was still the competition for the 4 remaining minor places with points up to 8th. Having planned to sit in regardless of any break I was very happy with how the run-in went until the last 1.5km. I had put in a decent effort to gain a good position, starting to really push on from about 5-6km out, and was sitting nicely about 3rd wheel. Then at 1.5km two guys jumped from the bunch uphill into a headwind and immediately got about 15-20 metres. Not wanting to lose ground at the front I instinctively followed but in hindsight should have waited for a wheel to get across. In making the bridge I found myself in no-mans-land, pushing uphill into the wind with a number of the chasing pack tagging on my wheel. This short-lived effort resulted in the rest of the pack slingshotting off my wheel and ahead of the ambitious two with me tailing at the back of what turned out to be the bunch sprint and crossing the line at speed but well back.
So “should I stay or should I go” I debated this the entire way home in my head? I’m not getting up in these sprints. Should I die with my boots on? Should I stop chasing points and start racing with a bit more endeavour and get up the road for a change. Why not give a break a lash in the next race……..because 19 times out of 20 they don’t stick………don’t they??
“This indecision’s bugging me” — The Clash