I've barely written any race reports this season. It's not that I've not done any (although in truth I haven't done many), it's just that I'm not good at recounting races. I just do them, enjoy/endure them for what they are, note down any fitness/skill gain as "money in the bank" for future races, then move on. I check out any stats that I might have recorded if my Garmin was working or if I remembered to switch it on, but overall I don't take it that seriously.
It's always good to test yourself against your peers and see how you stack up at a particular moment in time. That's how I see it really, and also a chance to catch up with folks. I know my racing place - just a local lass who likes to get out on the circuit. I'm good with that. If ever I won a race I can't imagine I'd feel much different to the way I feel when I get a mediocre finish! The enjoyment comes from knowing I've raced to the best of my ability and I had a good encounter with the other competitors. After that, there's not much else to say!
My season so far has been ok. My first race, Hog Hill Spring Rumble was abit chaotic as I hadn't intended racing it, but made a last minute decision to have a go. Afterall it was a London League race and my result would help the club. I finished second last!
The Windsor women's team series race was a bit better. A furious pace was set by the junior hopefuls on the road circuit near Maidenhead. People were steadily being shelled off the back. I managed to get into a good group with girls from the Eastern Region and South Western Region. We all worked together, and managed not to get lapped by the leaders, which has happened to me in the past.
The first Crystal Palace circuit race was a bit of disaster as I had to pull out due to a freak asthma attack. (I blame the ash cloud!) That also impacted on my result at the Addiscombe 25 mile tt. When the time keeper heard me coughing and spluttering on the start line he wondered if I'd even make it to the first roundabout! Fortunately I did - I even finished. Even though my time didn't set the world on fire I was just glad to have been able to heave my way round and get through, while helping my club's ranking in the London Women's League.
I did another Crystal Palace race in which I was dropped from the front group but managed to work with Liz from London Phoenix and we had our own little race-off on the circuit. On this I managed to get ahead of her, unlike the previous time when we raced at Palace.
Those first few races didn't give particularly impressive results. Hey, ho. The last couple of races have been better for me.
I managed to get 4th place at a Surrey League Goodwood race. There were only 10 of us (!) but the fact that I ended up in a sprint-out with other women who I judged to be stronger than me, showed that I had made some improvement.
The improvement showed again when I managed to stay in the main group for most of the race at the SE Championships. When I've done that race in the past I've been dropped within the first couple of laps. Again, I finished ahead of women who I would normally think are stronger than me.
So, my season racing is steadily improving it seems. Good news, though as long as I can still enjoy the scene and enjoy turning up at the races, that's important thing.
Top photo by Glyn Durrant (Surrey League). Bottom photo by John Mullineaux (London Cyclesport)