a journal - cycling, sociology, social media

Sunday 1 August 2021

Oh ye I remember - bike racing !

Finally ! it's back and on May 31st I raced for the first time in over 14 months, a BMCR (British Masters Cycle Racing) Covid Test Event, just over an hour of racing on a closed circuit at Darley Moor Sports Centre in Derbyshire. Even though it was only a test event there was a big field of sixty age 60+ riders.

       Some of these fellas can't be over sixty surely ?

It was great to be back racing at Darley Moor as by coincidence my last race pre-pandemic was here on March 6th 2020. I have previously posted of my of age group racing exploits here Too Old For Racing ? here In the Pain Cave and here In Memory of Johnny P

BMCR races are always very competitive with a lot of attacks especially in the early part of the race and the first one of my 2021 season was no exception. I was comfortable in the bunch from the start and very happy with my fitness and it was good to confirm that the quality structured training I had done in the last couple of months had got me to the right level after such a long break from competition. It was also good to know that my approach to riding during the pandemic that I wrote about here Pedalling Through The Pandemic had maintained my base fitness well. So my fitness wasn't an issue but the race did remind me of something fairly obvious, positioning is key ! especially on the last lap and at Darley Moor the position that you enter the final corner is likely to be the position that you finish the race and it was ... 20th. 

I had to wait until 24th June for race two at the UCLAN circuit in Preston, Lancashire, a long trip of 115 miles each way for me for an hour of racing which under normal circumstances would be a bit too far but with the race calendar still looking a little sparse and the British Cycling Masters National Circuit Championships on the 3rd July this was an opportunity to get a quality work out in a warm up race.
Unfortunately despite there being no rain whatsoever in the forecast it rained, a lot, but at least it was warm rain and the track was grippy even in a downpour so I managed to stay upright but unfortunately my brand new white socks didn't survive, bike racing it's certainly not for everyone that's for sure.

Next up was a trip down to Leicester and my first time racing at the New College Circuit, which was flat and fast and a little bit dull to be honest. No wind at all meant that nothing was going to get away despite attacks coming what felt like every lap and the race finished in the inevitable bunch sprint.

                                                                           Link to my Strava
When the race is going to be decided in a sprint and you are not a sprinter the chances of a result are slim, especially with some of the best guys in the country present. So I knew that I needed to spend a lot of my remaining pennies getting to the front on the last lap to have any chance of getting anything from the race. Despite knowing what I needed to do and having the legs to do it I left it too late to move up and entered the last corner about 6th and finished 6th. Fitness is there it seems like it's the execution that needs work !

Race four was back at UCLAN the following Thursday and another long drive to find that I didn't take any legs with me and as a result had an absolute shocker ! I won't bore you with the details but I did eventually understand why, I was seriously dehydrated and had been since the previous weekend in Leicester. 

A warm night at UCLAN a strong field and I suffered like a dog. The experience has prompted me to make big changes to my hydration strategy before during and after training and racing. This is a topic for a blog post in itself as to be honest I can't believe how badly I have neglected my hydration, especially since the weather has got warmer. My only defence is that as you get older thirst sensitivity is significantly reduced but I knew that so it's no excuse really - more on this another time.  
Something else that I have been paying a lot more attention to which has a big potential impact on performance is sleep and rest more generally, another element of recovery that I haven't paid enough attention to. I have been using some wearable technology in the form of this smart watch from Amazfit so that I can better understand health markers such as my resting heart rate, and sleep patterns which should/could (along with my new hydration regime) help me to improve my performance and more importantly maintain good health. The Amazfit watch uses PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) that measures the impact of any physical activity on heart health and provides a rolling seven day average.

I have also been using these ZenBuds ear pod from Amazfit  they mask distracting noises and can play soothing sounds to block out the outside world to help you to fall asleep more easily and by monitoring sleep patterns allow analysis of sleep quality. I haven't used them much yet but I have been sleeping a lot better although that might be because Mrs Rees has put the summer duvet on the bed ... who knows ?  

Finally: I now have a YouTube channel that you might want to take a peek at (it's just like the sort of stuff you find on here but in video form) It's early days and I am very much starting from scratch and on a very steep learning curve with video but you have to start somewhere. I have lots of ideas for YouTube content so check it out and maybe hit the  subscribe button  TERACEFORTHECAFE  as there is some good stuff coming up. Here's a link to the story so far How I started my YouTube channel

Thanks for reading.

No comments

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Powered by Blogger.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig