No shame in losing a race

With a typically cruel irony Tuesday’s race at Hillingdon was a disaster. Having written an article in praise of Malcolm Elliott’s Experience over youth, I (and the rest of the field in the fourth cats) got a proper kicking off two teenagers.

They went after a crash split the field and nobody got back up to them. I was stuck behind the crash, which put an end to my challenge for the points, and after trying to get back into the race decided to stop and sort my bike out – loose headset and brakes rubbing thanks to someone falling on me in the crash (although I didn’t go down myself).

The eventual winner, Chris Legg from Palmer Park Velo, deserved to cross the line first for the simple reason that he attacked. Before the crash he’d put in a good dig to try and get across to two riders who the bunch had let get off the front and I’d managed to go with him most of the way. It’s not the first race where he has attacked, in fact he’s done so the last couple of races, but this time he managed to make it count. I told him afterwards that he deserved his win for his attacks.

The previous week I put in a stupid dig just before the bell because I was frustrated that everyone seemed to be just sitting in. This week it happened again: when the break went nobody seemed to want work to chase it down. An entire field happy to just sit in and let someone else win.

What is the point of turning up just to sit in and hope you get round? I know there’s an argument for licking everyone else’s plate clean before starting on your own, to paraphrase the classic saying, but it seems slightly uneccesary to go to the lengths of not even bringing your own plate to the table.

Far more dignified is to have a dig, try a move and not have it stick than to do nothing. What do you learn from sitting in week after week? Not as much as you will by trying to race and attack. Let’s see more racing and less waiting.

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