Young and unconcerned
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Merry Land
Bikes: Yeah, I got a few.
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DFL > DNF: My Saturday Race Report
Yes, my dearies, I'll be comforted with the fact that Dead F'ing Last is a better result than Did Not Finish.
And there were a great many who didn't finish.
Hemel Hempsted Spring Chicken Road Race, 43 miles. I was in the Cat 3/4 race.
Very very windy day - BBC was saying 20mph, so gusts would've been higher than that, but the predicted rain didn't show up until just after the race finished. But as much of the course had farms on either side, the wind was a force to contend with. The E/1/2/3 race after us will have dealt with some appalling squally rain.
Much of the race was on unmarked country roads, so there was often no centre-line from which to base any centre-line rule, not that people were paying attention to it when there was one. This, predictably, resulted in a guy getting hit by a truck head-on. I got stuck behind the resulting go-slow, and it took quite a bit out of me to get back up to the pack - which I did just before a hill - not a terribly bad one - I was only five or ten metres off at the top, but then people really cranked it up down the other side, but as it was into the wind and I didn't have anyone there to draft, so that was the end of my relationship with the pack. Others were in a similar position though, so shortly thereafter I was able to corral three guys into a paceline, but we were faced with that too-familiar view of the peloton slowly getting further and further away. And when the marshalling car passes you and heads on, you know you're kinda doomed. Ultimately I got dropped by that group, and for about 20 miles was out on my own before two more folks came up behind me. Stuck with them for a bit, unsuccessfully tried to set up an echelon to handle the cross-wind, eventually got dropped by them... came back... then dropped again.
Every single lap, as I approached the turn-off for the race HQ, I could see people up ahead. I would think to myself, 'ah, if I catch up to this guy, we can put something together and finish more strongly' - but then they'd turn off for the HQ to pack it in. Dead annoying.
I finished the race just as the officials at the finish were pulling the chequered flag up out of the ground - they saw me coming, so stood there for a moment with the flag to humour me until I crossed the line, then continued with packing up.
Upon getting back to the race HQ, I discovered one of my team mates had taken a spill while in a break and probably broke his collarbone. So he was on the floor of the HQ covered in blankets waiting for the ambulance to get there. Not too cheerful. (this also, of course, means that I was so far back that he crashed and was cleaned up before I got to the point where he'd taken his spill)
Lesson: find more Cat 4-only races, rather than 3/4 ones. Like 80% of the race were Cat 3's, though the later race, an E/1/2/3 race, had places left over.