The craic is back. Having rode in Oldcastle with no teammates and no familiar faces, I found the experience a bit of a dredge and felt a bit lost in the bunch. Not that you’d be having a full blown catch-up during a race but I’ve noticed the small even short bits of banter pre-race take the edge off what’s to come.
A familiar head in a bunch can always be a good marker to work from in terms of position. With the constant washing machine of riders moving up and back is good to know a decent wheel that will bring you where you need to be. When he goes I’m tagging along.
I’ve been attempting in all the mayhem of the run-in for last few finishes to stick on a particular big guy who has clocked up some good placings recently. Being a big unit he seems to be able to boss his way through using his sheer size and provides a nice slipstream to get behind. It has produced some of my best placings this year but it’s still proving difficult to pick my way through the hectic bunch sprint whilst attempting to hang onto the big units wheel.
This week it has brought me as close as 12th in what was a full road bunch sprint over a fast course but Hope, Luck and consistently putting myself in that position will see my through to the points placings eventually I reckon.
Not only is the pre-race chat essential to normalising what is in general a solo effort. The post race post-mortem helps to make sense of everything that has frantically passed in the last hour and a half. “Did ye see yer man attempting to go up the road?” “How did ye get on yourself?” The reassurances that the run-in was fast and hairy and you were legitimately sh*tting it at stages and above all getting the excuses in good and early into discussions #BoxedIn! Even on the worst of days having a compatriot who can empathise and mock your disappointment puts a positive spin on it all and send you home wanting more. “Ye racing next week?” …….”Sure am, see ye there!”
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
- Mad World – Tears for Fears