13 May 2013

Lesson in Pre-race Nutrition

This hasn't been the best of weeks. Fortunes have been rather mixed, lost a job, finally got my 2nd cat licence, found a job, missed out on some big training miles and finally I managed to thoroughly ruin my chances at the 2013 Brenig Road Race.

The less said about the job situation the better, suffice to say it's weighed rather heavy on my mind this week and, beyond a couple of crits, the miles have been sorely lacking over the last week. But to find a silver lining the free time left a gap in the calender that was neatly filled by the Palatine Circuit Race in Blackpool which was graced by the presents of Laura Trott OBE. I picked up third thanks to a solo attack that remained un-chased for the last 500m although the Wiggle-Honda Jersey was rather close behind as I crossed the line. So about 2 weeks later than planned my 2nd cat licence is on its way to me.

On to Brenig and if ever there is any worse an example of pre-race nutrition it could only be found in this photo...
For the record missing two meals, replacing gels with fig rolls and trying to home-make isotonic energy drinks using salt, sugar and orange juice (made to an exacting recipe my dad concocted after "bonking" near a McDonald's) doesn't make for a great race. The first half of the race consisted of a 30 mile loops up to 450m which actually went rather well. Apparently the pace wasn't quite as hot as it has been in previous years but none the less I'm happy (given the above mentioned problems) to say I was at or off the front at some point during the climb. It wasn't too long before the poor preparation kicked in. After cresting the first main climb the bunch strung out thanks to the cross winds on the moors and I found myself slipping further and further back down the bunch. Paying due punishment for an already large catalogue of school boy errors. Trying to eat became a monster task, fig rolls aren't the easiest race food. And guessing the unseen course to come using only a Garmin upload was almost impossible and twice left me with a mouthful of fig roll while trying to sprint up the steeper climbs. All the while the dehydration and hunger were creeping in making my concentration patchy at best.

Eventually the elastic snapped and as the bunch fragmented in the windy wet descents I found myself in about the fourth bunch on the road. Not a great position but truly deserved. Jumping group to group seemed like a good idea but dodging the riders dropping from each bunch became a struggle, the temptation to sit in for a second or two to recover became too hard to resist. Eventually I found myself alone dangling 10 seconds off the 2nd group on the road. But having been on the rivet chasing for near 20 minutes now I'd had enough. The bunch ahead slipped up a short sharp climb as I ground to a crawl. This allowed the small group I'd been unknowingly giving a free ride to also slip past and reconnect with the bunch.

Limping onto the finishing circuit like a wounded dog, I shed what even semblance of pride I might have had left, collected my licence and went home. I'd really recommend the Brenig RR to anyone who's game for a bit of hard mans racing and given a better day I'd like to think I would have been capable of greater things but I got what I deserved in the end I suppose.

It's alright though, last night I hit the internet hard are ordered in excess of £100 of race nutrition. Come at me North-West Road Champs!

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