If at first you don’t get away, keep digging

Back into the groove of Hillingdon criterium racing this week. None of the youngsters were about so I thought I’d use the opportunity to have some fun and put in some big digs.

Let a few people wind it up a bit for the first few laps then went for the jump when I heard the shout from the commissaires that the E123 race would be coming up on us on the next lap. It’s a proven tactic that seems to work for most breaks. Effectively you jump and then go like a pig in a storm to put as much distance as you can for the E123s to fall into as they pass the main bunch of the 4ths who will have to sit up and let them pass thus consolidating that gap.

It usually needs at least two of you to go and ideally four. Unfortunately only my friend Robin jumped across with me and I didn’t have the legs to get up to him when he came through me. We stayed away for a couple of laps before sitting up and dropping back in to see if anyone else would go.

After I’d got my breath back I went again and, yet again, nobody came with me. Perhaps it was too early. I had a third dig off the front to no avail and that was countered by the chap who steamed away to solo to victory when I drifted back for a breather. I really should have paid attention and stayed nearer the front but needed to catch my breath badly and have a drink.

Eventually the three laps to go led to the usual caginess as everyone tried to jockey for position. I’m not a fan of this bit and I think it’s rather dangerous to have everyone backed up coming into the last bend. So on the last lap I put the hammer down, shouted Robin to get into my wheel and did my best to string it out.

I got it though to the last big bend and swung off, knowing that if I had tried to drive it up through the last bend I would have been in the way when I came off the front/ran out of legs before the line.

Robin was in the right place to take advantage and bagged a tidy third place, not bad for a self-confessed “old git”, albeit one whose got a pretty handy sprint in his kitbag. I rolled in off the back but happy enough to finish all the same.

I do need to start mixing it in the points if I want to move up before next season but it’s also the time of year when people start to get desperate for points so it could be a bit fierce. Next Tuesday I’ll be looking out for myself and trying harder to concentrate on getting a point or two for the first time. I need to be a bit more fearless when it comes to the sprint bit but I always worry that I’ll come off through no fault of my own. Perhaps I’ll try for a long one or a break then.

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