...but not quite...After the Cooley Thriller the plan was to take a week off and see if the pain behind my right knee cleared up. However while browsing irishcycling.com I saw that Naas CC were hosting an Open race at Mondello Park. It was too much to resist, so Thursday evening myself and Gene cycled out to the race track (its only a 20 minute cycle from the house so it would be a good warm up too). As usual I had not prepared for this like I usually would for an mtb race, but wanted to give it a good lash all the same.
When we arrived there was a good crowd already out on the track warming up, so after signing up we were out on the track. It was great to be out on the race course - nice surface and no oncoming traffic! The track was essentially flat with lots of interesting corners - some hairpins and double apex turns which would make for interesting racing. The race was for 50 minutes plus 3 laps and with the laptime at about 5 minutes it was going to be more like a criterium race.
Pretty much back on planned starting time we were off. There were about 40-odd A4's out with about 7 or 8 guys from Naas CC. I was not too sure how the race would play out - I was maybe expecting a few breaks, so wanted to try stay up the front just in case. However, the Naas CC guys went to the front from the start and kept the pace very high which, on the negative side removed any chance of a break, but on the positive reduced the chances of the A3, A2 and A1 cats catching us.
Despite my best efforts to stay up in the front 7 or 8, I kept finding myself slipping back down all too easily. One of the main reasons was my hopeless cornering. Pretty much from the start I could feel the front of the bike sliding away in the corners due to the speed. This totally freaked me out and I tiptoed in and out of the bends, which would then mean I had to put the hammer down to catch up with the bike in front. And that was pretty much my race in a nutshell - early and excessive braking following up leg burning sprints straight after - the perfect workout!
The 50 minutes went by pretty fast, and it was hard work - for the 67 minutes of racing we averaged 40 kph! My average heart rate was 164bpm, which is 2 bpm lower than my all time high in a race. In the end only 2 riders from the higher cats bridged across and the top 3 were all A4's. We wheeled in with the lead group 10-odd seconds behind the winner.
It was a great evenings racing/workout. Having access to the race track was fun but also added to the race also and I hope the guys will be able to host more open races there next year.
The marathon champs is still 3 weeks away, so now its a case of getting back on the bike after my weeks "holidays". The knee pain is still there, but I'm pretty sure its a minor problem and have had some physio done on it too so I'm happy to start kicking out the watts again :)