My legs have been feeling really lame this week and I feel like I’ve lost fitness. I tried to make sure I was well rested for Killarney, I took an easy ride on Tuesday morning in the mountain with Christo. He’s been off the bike for a bit after the Olympics and he’s easing back into it. I can feel my legs are not raring to go and Christo is also taking strain on the climbs. It’s a simple ride, pretty much straight up from Tokai side and then left to Silvermine. We reach the gate and hit the tar road to the car park and we laugh about riding in the dark through winter and how light it is now… it feels like we’re bunking work… but we both need to be back early today and we turn down and head the express way home down Ou Kaapse Weg.
Wednesday comes and the wind is pumping…the Crit is going to be tough tonight, but also tough to make breaks, so it could go either way! We leave from work and ride out towards the track, the wind is behind us and we hardly need to pedal to maintain 40+. Close to the track Rob punctures and we fix it pretty quickly and make it to the track in just in time – they’re starting early which means more pain as the sun will be out longer too!
The racing was good – I didn’t feel 100% and could only watch as Alex took stabs off the front, I felt bad I couldn’t help him. All of the attempts off the front were short lived, the wind persuading them back to the shelter of the bunch. The average speed was still high at 42.5km/h despite the wind, which would make it even harder to get away. A decent sized bunch went clear at about 30 mins, included in the bunch was Alex, so I got up to the front to try slow things down for him, he’d have a great chance at a win against only 10 guys. They maintained a steady pace and at the front of our chase group was the lone torpedo, Tredoux. He’s flippin strong and I just sat on his wheel as he took monster turns trying to bring things back, occasionally looking over his shoulder for some help, only to see me and knowing that with a guy up ahead I wasnt going anywhere. This worked out quite nicely for me as I could feel my legs starting to respond a bit better.
As we exited turn 5 there was a pile up. Someone had a blow out in mid corner and gone down, taking a few riders with him. Unfortunately this was most serious for Rob Quinn. I checked over my shoulder to see if my brother had made it through. I couldn’t see any yellow guys on the deck and they were filtering around the scene. Meanwhile at the front we were still in full swing and had caused a split, we had just caught most of the breakaways who came filtering back in one’s and two’s but there was still 2 Daikin guys away and we couldn’t let up. I was now required to take turns as Alex was back too. I thought we’d get away in a semi break but the guys who lost out in the crash had short-cutted along the track to rejoin the bunch and it swelled back up to size in no time. A bit of work in vain but we were fast approaching the tiring break now and the light was fading…
At the bell the two guys were still clear, but a few accelerations brought them closer each time, and they were swallowed with a few hundred meters to go. I found Alex on the back straight and motioned to him to get on my wheel as I got into the wind and pulled him up a few places to round the last bend. With the wind now behind us the lead outs started early and I stood on the pedals with the rest of them breaking wind for Alex who now came past me and hopped from wheel to wheel, out of the wind and waiting as patiently as you can at full tilt. 100m to go and the lead out men were fading, including me. I could see Alex now totally commited and head down over the line! Third again! Still an awesome result and he’s collecting the consistency points. Include the break and he’s done a lot of work tonight. I rolled over somewhere 7th or 8th and felt content for a night that didn’t feel so great.
Riding back home was a block headwind affair. I spent most of the way home on the front plowing back into it. I used it as extra training and I now felt better in my legs and had decided to give them a proper smashing, this made it harder work for those tailing me but they could hang on for a free ride all the way back to Newlands.