It had been a bad prep week and an even worse morning with several things going wrong and needing sorting on the bike at short notice. This distracted me from my normal pre race prep of eating and drinking lots to get me ready for the impending 4-5 hrs in the cold wet November weather.
A delayed start meant more shivering in the rain and circling to keep warm.
Finally we got started and the charge down the soft wet start/finish straight set the scene for the rest of the track. Wet, muddy and hard going. By the first hill I had already gone past a number of riders, by the next I went pass a few more and settled into a good rhythm the remainder of the first lap I felt good and pick up a few more places and seemed to be holding a good race pace.
Being mindfully aware of a bad prep week I keep drinking and trying to get more food on (this track made that hard to do). Heading out on to the second lap I still felt good and was keeping a consistent pace, even if other cyclist went pass me, I knew the sections I would catch them on and did so. By the end of the second lap I had gained a few more places. I swapped bottles and continued, what I should have done was grabbed some more food.
Heading out on to the 3rd lap, I dropped a few guys that had been lapping at the same speed as me, had a mild and fixable mechanical and kept pushing on. But as I hit the sand section of the course my legs immediately felt sapped of all power and I started to feel a bit rough. I immediately drunk and ate some more.
As I pushed on I felt worse and worse, I tried and succeeded in maintaining my place and pulled past a few more riders. I stuffed some more food in, but I was now starting to feel the cold and feel very wobbly.
After a very heavy section of mud that I had ridden through previously without issue, this time had me walking I realised that I was out of this. I got back on the bike, cleared the single track and then stumbled of my bike and sat in the wet for a while shivering, eating and drinking. I felt bloody terrible, I had to think hard where I was, I was seeing stars and really couldn't stand for a moment.
Many of the riders going past ask if I was alright and I said yes, knowing that I just had to get back to the event village and get warm, dry and eat more. A young lass stopped for a while chatted to me and offered me some more food that I declined, and thanked her for the offer and stopping. But with that I got back on the bike and finished the lap and my race 2hrs earlier than planned.
The weather had been terrible and my prep just as bad for this race. But at least I knew what I had done wrong. After getting warm and dry after I finished, I ate loads and drunk even more and this reinforced my thoughts as I started picking up but very very slowly.
The good thing to come out of it though was that my race pace was good and competitive, I just need to prepare better, which I know I can, eat more when racing which I normally do and train more to get stronger and faster. Well I have 2 months for that and some very good mixed training in between.
Accept, learn, move on.