A new strategy

I'm not the world's fasted bicycle racer. In fact, the opposite to that is fairly close to the truth. My general goal is to not come dead last and thus far I have generally succeeded, though tenacity counts for much of that. More than once avoiding the dreaded DFL has come down to mechanical incidents by competitors. This is especially true with cyclocross where nationally ranked riders are in the same category as me.

Generally, a cyclocross race starts out very fast and then disintegrates into a bunch of individual time trials for all competitors. As the speeds are generally quite low, drafting does not play much of a part. In that respects, 'cross racing is much closer to mountain bike racing than road racing. With all this in mind, my strategy in most races for the past two seasons has been pretty simple. Go as hard as I can for as long as I can when the inevitable happens, just keep going at the limit until the race is over.

The major downside to this strategy is that it tends to mean that after the first ten minutes of the race, I am pretty much useless. From then on, I generally just slowly get passed and drift towards the back. This week's race, I took a different approach. I would start hard as normal, but make a more concerted effort to stay within my own abilities and try to avoid blowing up too badly.

It worked, sort of. On the one hand, I placed in pretty much the same place I always do, around the same group of riders. On the other hand, I actually felt like I was a part of the race with a couple of attacks and clawing my way back up to these riders when they attacked. I don't know what to make of it yet. My splits were also nice and tight. The first lap was my fastest, but even between it and my slowest was only 30 seconds. Not counting the first lap, the rest were within 6 seconds. I even managed to finish strong, nearly closing a 20m gap on a pair of riders in the closing half lap.

All in all, productive. Hopefully with a couple of good workouts this week, next week in Almonte, I can actually move up a couple of places. On the other hand, Almonte also has several climbs of doom, which are often my undoing.