Missing out on Stage 2 of the July’s Beach Party race series feels really weird, now that July is practically at an end and I’ve only done three races. It feels like this should be the third, not the fourth. That said, where has July even gone?
Ahead of this one I did some race recon, looking at the route plan over on Strava:
I’ve actually raced this route before. So I knew it was deceptive, harder than it looks on the route map.
I also knew the ride would almost certainly be split into two halves. There would be the fast bit, right until the first climb. Hang on with the front group, blitz down the distance and then get dropped shortly after the bunch began the short but sharp ascent.
Spoiler alert: I was right.
The second half of the race would be, hopefully, where the true race began. It would all depend on the size of the ride.
Last race, there was 13 of us.
Today, thankfully, there was 53. A good number. I was actually surprised by how few turned up for weekend racing compared to midweek. Maybe it’s frustrated work-from-homers taking out their frustrations on the bike? Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, what that meant was that after the inevitable split, there was a small group of six of us including myself that began our own mini race to the finish line. No medals for us, but a more realistic level of competition.
Coming over the crest of the first climb, I’d found myself at the front of our little bunch. So much so that I was able to ease off on the descent and then let them catch up, giving myself a breather after a steady 4.2w/kg effort.
Whilst I’d done my research regarding when the climbs began, I hadn’t thought to check for how long they lasted. Whoops. As such my efforts were … ill timed.
However, I was definitely riding with increased confidence because I had done a good job (relatively) on that first climb. So I was hoping to repeat something similar on the second, longer, cork-screw climb as we neared the finish line.
And so it was. I came over the top of the corkscrew at the front. Cocky, I didn’t push as hard as I might, and was very quickly reeled back in.
One thing I did well today, besides the climbs, was hold my nerve in to the final kilometre.
There have been previous races where I’ve gone way too early. Like 700m out kind of early.
I was hanging fire until 200m today, but didn’t quite make it – I went at about 270m out. Just after I took this screenshot:
The one mistake I made though was to ease off just before the line.
I don’t know how many Zwift workouts I’ve done in the past that hammer home the necessity to fight right up to the line. Well, today I eased off maybe 1 second out, and I’m convinced I lost by a whisker as a result.
It’s really hard to say as I don’t have a picture to refer back too, nor did the Zwift race stats show up at the time. There’s a bug in there where if you don’t make the Top 20, you don’t see your time anymore. Silly.
Anyway, I don’t know who I was racing against so I can’t validate it against Zwift Power. Nor does Zwift Power go that granular to milliseconds or whatever. I’ll just have to accept that I’ll never know, but I suspect I lost a spot due to my own laziness, if I am being brutally honest.
All in then, a great race. Sure, no medals. Never are. Maybe if they split B cat in to B+ and B-, I might stand a chance. But the racing I did get to do was fun and enjoyable, which is always a win.
Rest day now, before SST or something on Saturday. Not sure the weather’s going to come good for Sunday morning, so at least I got in a nice ride out yesterday.